On Thursday, Nov. 14, 1918, Hendersonville’s weekly paper, French Broad Hustler, reported the headline “Germany’s Request For Peace Granted,” detailing the specifics of the armistice and describing the reaction in Hendersonville, which was “celebrated to an extensive degree.”

“The news was received early Monday morning and at 5 o’clock the shrill notes of whistles and the softer tone of church bells heralded the glad tidings in this community,” the article says. “Within a few minutes hundreds of people had gathered on the streets. When the day light and working hours came the people were not in working spirits and places of business were closed and plans were shaping for an appropriate celebration to begin with a parade at 6 o’clock.”

The parade was handily assembled with “numerous automobiles and floats of many designs and with elaborate tastes,” it continues. “Every handy instrument that could make a noise was put into strenuous service and for about two hours the streets were full of moving vehicles and the sidewalks were crowded with thousands of people who came from all parts of the county to enter into the spirit of the unusual event.”

Other notes in the paper mark other points about the war, including a report of severe fighting in Berlin, the order by President Woodrow Wilson to cancel all outstanding draft calls, and much like this year, election results.

A letter from Lt. William Holt Oates to his parents describing life in a German prisoner of war camp is shared, detailing that he was captured July 22 during an advance east of Chateau Thierry, when “Lieut. Oates was commanding his company in their advance. Two machine gun bullets pierced his steel helmet, another his boot and he was buried by a high explosive shell,” but without being wounded.

He reports good treatment and that he was “quite comfortably situated,” and says “Why I was not killed is a miracle. I was entirely surrounded and ammunition exhausted before I was taken.”

But another was not so fortunate.

Just above Oates’ story is that of James R. Johnson under the headline, “Dr. Johnson’s Son Killed In France.”

“Mr. Johnson, a druggist of Columbia, volunteered three days after his country declared war on Germany,” the article says, citing a letter received by his parents who lived in Mills River. “He saw service in the medical corps, being among the first emergency men in the 80th division. The deceased was 27 years old and left his home county about nine years ago.”

The inside pages of the paper including a showing of Hendersonville pride in being the first city in the region to hold a patriotic meeting following the declaration of war and a recollection that “Fassifern Receives Peace News With Joy,” that said news reached the area Monday morning.

The article says: “As the glow in the east began to dawn there seemed to be written in the heavens” ‘Peace on earth good will toward men.” The mountains appeared bluer and all the world seemed a mass of unspeakable joy.”

 

Archived material via www.newspapers.com.