On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – FRIDAY JULY 26, 1918
There will be partly cloudy skies over the city today. The high temperature will be slightly lower than the last few days, only reaching 89°. The low tonight will be about 69°. Reports from the War Department show that about 50,000 Philadelphia men are now serving in the armed forces. That number equals about 3% of the population of the city.
Today Roman Catholics celebrate the feast of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since medieval times pilgrims have travelled to shrines dedicated to her and prayed for healing and a return to health. And so they came this morning to the Church of St. Anne at Lehigh Avenue & Memphis Street. The lame and the halt came, along with the sick and the deformed. They came to this church to see and touch the relics of the Saint brought here from Rome in 1894. The day began with a procession of 100 children, 200 Italian men and a small band entering the church carrying flowers and wreaths and the Saint’s standard. Then Mass was said after which the relics were brought out from their resting place.
The relics are 3 small bones said to be from the Saint’s wrist. They are contained in a small gold casket with one glass side. The casket is passed among the faithful who kiss it or press it upon that part of their body in need of healing. A blind man touched it to his eyes; a woman rubbed it on her child’s face and hands which had been poisoned by wild ivy; a boy of 8 or 9 touched it to the iron brace on his foot and an old hunchback woman held it gingerly and whispered a prayer. Others prayed for their sons, husbands, brothers and friends fighting for freedom in far off lands. Throughout the ceremony the message of the parish pastor was that of the all-inspiring qualities of a mother’s love as represented by Saint Anne and her daughter Mary.
Two Philadelphia men have been awarded the Croix de Guerre. They are Sergeant Simon L. Bloch Cohen of 623 South 17th Street and Sergeant James A. Connelly, U.S.A. Aviation Service, who was born in Merion but lives at 3910 Chestnut Street. Sergeant Cohen received the award for bravery in holding off wave after wave of German attacks in the Luneville sector. Sergeant Cohen alone manned machine guns for eight hours firing over 400,000 rounds of ammunition. He was presented his award in the hospital by Field Marshal Foch while recuperating from wounds he received in that battle. Sergeant Connelly, received the award for bringing down 2 German planes in an air battle. Sergeant Connelly has also received the Distinguished Service Cross.
The casualty list from General Pershing’s headquarters contains the names of six Philadelphians, two of whom were killed in action. The dead are Corporal James J. Cochran, U.S.A., 23 years old of 5429 Master Street, and Private Raymond J. Cahill, U.S.M.C., 20 years old of 243 Hermitage Street in Manayunk. Listed as severely wounded are Private George C. Haebe, U.S.M.C., of 1044 West Orleans Street, Private John J. Viola of 4117 Crescent Street in Manayunk and Private Thomas Jones, U.S.A., of 270 South 16th Street. Listed as missing is Private Elmer Reichart, U.S.M.C., of 2851 North 12th Street.
In baseball news, Erskine Mayer former pitcher for the Phillies is now working alongside his former teammates, pitcher “Chief“” Bender and third baseman Hans Lobert at the Hog Island Shipyard. Not surprisingly the men are also playing for Hog Island’s baseball team. Also in baseball news it has been learned that George Herman “Babe” Ruth of the Boston Americans has been offered a contract to pitch for the Hibbing, Minnesota team in the Head of the Lakes League. Ruth has said he will take the deal if the War Department shuts down the major leagues under its “fight or work” policy.
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