THE Topsfield Branch of the Special Aid Society for American Preparedness was organized March 28, 1917, at a public meeting held in the Grange Hall. In April there were 92 members and in December, after a house-to-house canvass made by the Membership committee under Mrs. Richard Wheatland as Chairman, the membership was increased to 117.
The Society from its organization, collected $3706 and had the support and coöperation of the Ladies' Organizations of Topsfield. In order to give the women more time for Relief Work, these organizations gave up their meetings and also helped financially. Meetings were held three times a week with an average attendance of twenty-five.
In October, 1917, in order to coördinate the work in Topsfield and make it more effective, the Topsfield Branch of the American Fund for French Wounded became a sub-committee of the S.A.S.A.P. and merged its funds.
From April, 1917, to November, 1917, the Special Aid worked for the Sugical Dressings Committee and the Navy League, and answered various special calls. Six Regimental Ambulance boxes were filled for the 101st Field Artillery, 26th Division, and delivered through Major Jenkins for overseas service. About 150 Christmas bags were sent to France to special people--Miss Davison, Miss Lake, and Miss Jordan.
Miss Helen Jordan went over in November, 1916, with the Harvard Unit, Field Hospital 22, under Dr. Cabot, and Miss Alice Lake went in May, 1917, with the Harvard Unit under the Red Cross, Base Hospital 5, Dr. Cushing. Through these two patriotic Topsfield women, the Society kept in close touch with the hospital work abroad and all articles sent to them were duly received.
The total output of the workroom after merging with the A.F.F.W., November 1, 1917, to January 1, 1919, was as follows:
4027 packages surgical dressings
545 hospital supplies, including draw pads, binders, wash cloths, bandages, old linen, bed linen and towels, blankets, property bags and comfort kits
30 dozen handkerchiefs
6 afghans and 7 quilts
750 gun wipes
350 trench candles
240 christmas bags
1843 knitted articles
8772 total articles
these articles were shipped to the A.F.F.W., the Italian relief, Committee for Devastate France, Red Cross, Surgical Dressings Committee, Special Aid, and Navy League. Special shipments of bags to Miss Jordan, Miss Lake, Miss Davison, and Dr. Lines were also made.
During the influenza apidemic, the workroom sent a great many necessary hospital garments to Camp Mason, the Ipswich Emergence Hospital, on a hurry call and supplied sweaters for the nurses.
Miss Katharine F. Wellman, Chairman
Mrs. William H. Herrick, Vice-Chairman
Miss Elizabeth Peabody, Secretary
Mrs. T.L. Jenkins, Treasurer
Mrs. Thomas W. Peirce, Chairman Surgical Dressings Committee
Miss Florence Janes, Chairman Sewing Committee
Mrs. J.D. Phillips, Chairman Wool Committee
Mrs. Harry W. Poor, Junior Work
THE RED CROSS
THE Red Cross activities in Topsfield started with a membership drive December, 1917, of which Manuel F. Castle was Chairman, which enrolled 297 members, an excellent showing.
The second Red Cross War Fund Drive took place during the month of May, 1918, under the leadership of Mrs. William B. Poor, and a total of $3830 was contributed by the people of Topsfield as the result of a vigorous effort. A parade and a public meeting addressed by Hon. Alden P. White, of Salem, were held to arouse interest.
In July, 1918, a Topsfield Branch of the Essex Cuonty Chapter was organized at a public meeting called by the Public Safety Committee at which the following officers were elected:
Thomas W. Peirce, Chairman
Mrs. Wiliam H. Herrick and Mrs. Thomas L. Jenkins, Vice-Chairmen
Bertram C. Gould, Secretary-Treasurer
Benjamin B. Towne, Chairman Home Service
Manuel F. Castle, Chairman Membership
Miss Katharine F. Wellman, Head of Workroom
Mrs. James Duncan Phillips, Head of Knitting
Mrs. Thomas W. Peirce, Head of surgical Dressings
Mrs. Harry W. Poor, Chairman of Junior Work
The workroom was run in harmony with that of the Special Aid, the department heads being the same in both organizations. The quotas received from Chapter Headquarters were promptly finished and shipped. to December 31, 1918, 244 garments and knitted articles were produced.
During the influenza epidemic, help was given to Camp Mason, the Ipswich Emergency Hospital, and, in response to instructions from Chapter Headquarters, a canvass of nurses was taken.
The Christmas roll-Call Drive of the Red Cross was in charge of Mr. Castle, assisted by the organization of Team Captains who had worked for the Liberty Loan Committee. There were enrolled 432 annual members, 8 magazine members, 2 contributing members, and 4 life members, and the total sum of $658 was contributed.
Y.M.C.A. AND UNITED WAR WORK CAMPAIGN
IN NOVEMBER, 1917, a successful campaign in behalf of the Y.M.C.A. was conducted under the charge of Raymond S. Roberts. The total amount collected was $2750.
The United War Work Campaign lasted from November 11 to November 18, 1918, inclusive, and Topsfield's assigned quota was $5000. The following committee was in charge:
Bertram C. Gould, Chairman
Raymond S. Roberts, Vice-Chairman and Secretary
John L. Fiske, Treasurer
Committee on Publicity
Charles R. Wait, Chairman
Albert S. Lane,
Elbridge H. Gilford
Thomas E. Elliot
The toal amount of the subscriptions was $5564, participated in by 420 people, the quota being exceeded by $564.
IN THE spring of 1917 Topsfield contained about 1100 persons all told. Of these 276 were registered male voters and 300 paid a poll-tax; 286 persons were assessed on property taxes and the total valuation of all property within the limits of the town was $2,088,172. the town contains about 7500 acres of land and there are about 300 dwelling-houses.
ESSEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS
STATISTICS OF THE WAR
Men sent into the service
Men enrolled in the Massachusetts State Guard
First Liberty Loan
Second Liberty Loan
Third Liberty Loan
Fourth Liberty Loan
Red Cross drive and membership
United War Work Campaign
Canning Club, paid all expenses and earned
The American Fund for French Wounded
Special Aid Society for American Preparedness
Special Aid Society (partial report only from November, 1917)
American Fund for French Wounded
Red Cross Branch
Canning Club (summer of 1917)
3000 jars of fruits and vegetables
1000 glasses of jelly
500 pounds of jam
123 gallons of jam sent to Camp Devens