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Longwood during World War 1


LONGWOOD DURING WORLD WAR I


When America entered the war in 1917, little did the residents of the Longwood community realize the changes it would bring to their sleepy hamlets. Below are items taken from the Patchogue Advance chronicling our community's involvement in the war.

On May 18, 1917, Mrs. Daniel R, Davis invited the ladies of the Coram and Middle Island communities to her home where they would bring second hand clothing, old linen and muslin to be used for bandages. All of this material was to be turned over to the Red Cross. The Coram branch of the Red Cross was organized formally on May 28th, 1917 and installed Mrs. D.B. Still as chairman, Miss Eunice Still as secretary and Mrs. D.N. Still as treasurer.

On June 11, local women volunteered to take the New York Military Census for this area. All men between the ages of 16 and 50 were to be registered. Upon enrolling each man was given a certificate. Each man between 18 and 45 was given notice that he was liable to serve in the militia of the state.

In June 1917, the government announced the final selection of a training site between Yaphank where 30,000 men of the National Army would be trained.

On June 22, 1917, the ladies of Coram held an all day sewing of supplies for the Red Cross. They also began to canvass house to house looking for support of the Red Cross fund.

By June the 29th the government announced its plan to build a training camp at Yaphank. People wanting to open theaters, refreshment stands, etc., besieged the residents of Yaphank. It was becoming clear that there were many that were willing to profit from the soldiers who would be coming shortly.

July 6, 1917 - A contractor from the US campsite was here looking for carpenters, masons and other workmen to work on the new camp located near Yaphank.

In July a small detachment of regulars arrived at Camp Long Island, bringing 30 big automobile trucks. They came from fort Sam Houston near the Mexican border. These men were part of the supply train in Pershing's Mexican expedition. A Company of engineers and a company of Maryland militia were at the camp along with several hundred workmen.

People from the camp made stops at the local communities seeking men who were willing to help construct the camp.

By July 20th Camp Long Island received its official name, Camp Upton. The camp was named after Civil War General Emory Upton.

The activity at the Yaphank Railroad station increased dramatically, and residents began to hear the constant arrivals of freight trains heading for the camp.

August 17, A caravan of work teams from the city passed through here last Friday on their way to the camp. On the Robert Randall Road to Longwood one of their powerful gray horses dropped dead.
The electric lighting of the streets at Camp Upton under government direction is equal to any city.
In view of the fact of the two splendid lakes at Yaphank and the fine ridge of hills north of it, overlooking Camp Upton, with a view of the ocean on the south and sound on the north, many are looking to build a good home here.

August 24, 1917-The ladies of Coram began to make mosquito masks for the soldiers. The soldiers found the mosquito problem to be severe. Those who saw the early stages of the camp described it as a western mining town.
The Grange Hall in Yaphank had its opening dance. It was well attended by soldiers who helped to make it a success. The Yaphank ladies auxiliary used the hall in the daytime for its meetings.

August 31, 1917
Two United States Marshals have been assigned to the camp to have charge of a number of special policemen and they will be assisted by soldier details in police work. a court will be established under a United States commissioner to try minor cases and others will be sent to Brooklyn.
Several hundred officers of the Officer's Reserve corps who have been assigned to commands in the new army arrived at Camp Upton Wednesday by special train. Most of them are graduates of the Plattsburg camp.
Sunday afternoon the Patchoguers won a stiff diamond contest from the Fifteenth infantry team made up of colored soldiers from Camp Upton, turning a score of 6-5 in the ninth inning.

September 7, 1917
Postmaster Cadet Hand has donated ten pounds of worsted and the use of a knitting machine to knit socks to the Yaphank Red Cross auxiliary which meets every Wednesday afternoon at Yaphank Hall. Other days the machine will be placed in the house of Mrs. de La Marca, and women wishing to knit socks for the soldiers are welcome to do so.

October 4, 1918
Training for Farmerettes (Ladies who replaced soldiers doing farm work) To establish 200 camps to house 10,000 women farm hands next year
In October 1917 the ladies of Coram packed a barrel with clothing and sent it to refugees in France.


Farmerette working on the Coram farm of Lester Davis. Photo from the collection of Davis Erhardt.

October 19, 1917-The operations at Camp Upton were extended to and beyond the Country Road east of the Ridge. Work is progressing on the rifle range, which extends north of the road. The Hay Road (now called the William Floyd Parkway) has been widened and improved up to the Country Road, so that it is now a very convenient and popular entrance to the camp.

The traffic in the area increased dramatically. On any given Saturday it was not unusual to see several car accidents in the area.

Another dance was held at the Grange Hall, with music provided by the soldier's orchestra from the camp. The dance was well attended by soldiers.

October 26, 1917-The Country Road in the vicinity of the camp presents a lively scene. Thousands of soldiers are seen daily, marching it to some of the neighboring farms where they spend several hours drilling on clear fields which are given for that use. About a mile east of the entrance to the camp improvements are being made and buildings erected on the north side of the Country Road for the rifle range and machine gun (long-range) practice. They are putting up buildings on the Ehler's farm.

The Country Road is impossible to travel because of all the traffic. Residents from the city coming to visit the camp have found it to be the quickest route to the camp.

Many of the local citizens are renting out their homes to the families of soldiers stationed at the camp.

November 2, 1917
The sanitation of Camp Upton and the spending of 250,000 to eliminate mosquitoes in Suffolk were discussed. Major Schoenleber said the fly was the worst enemy of camp sanitation.
Feb. 8 1918-The Grange Hall has been leased out as a soldiers recreation clubhouse. Military dances are a prominent feature. A billiard room and a bowling alley will be added.
Feb. 8, 1918-The ladies auxiliary of Yaphank sent two barrels of serviceable clothing through the American Relief Committee to Belgium.

Local woodcutters are busy cutting and providing wood to the camp.

Coram ladies are making comfort bags for soldiers leaving the camp and heading overseas.

James Ashton, who is in charge of roads is harrowing and honing Longwood Road into a real road.

May 31, 1918- Yaphank raises 213.65 for the Red Cross

June 7, 1918, Soldiers from the camp have discovered that lakes of Yaphank. They can be seen fishing daily.

August 16, 1918-Many of the locals are providing transportation for soldiers with passes seeking to go to the city. Charles Miller of Middle Island needed the Military Police to take the overload of soldiers seeking to leave off of his truck. Miller finally left with 31 soldiers, heading for Jamaica.
Much of the local farm products were sold to the camp. Charles Miller sold 8000 ears of corn to the camp.

August 30, 1918
Since 10,000 or more colored soldiers from south were brought into camp the guards are alert to prevent any booze being brought into the limits. The other day an undertaker was rounded up as he entered the camp and the guard insisted on examining his embalming kit to make sure that it was not filled with booze.

September 6, 1918-Charlie Hagen showing his support to save gasoline is riding about in his farm wagon, with a canvass covering labeled "saving gasoline."

September 27, 1918-Unusual activity of Military police from the camp apparent about here. Their purpose is to prevent soldiers who do not have passes from leaving camp. A roadblock is set out in front of Pfeiffer's store. Here 40 soldiers with no passes are escorted back to camp.

October 4, 1918-Harold Davis of Coram is put in charge of the Liberty Bond sale. Coram will eventually raise $4,300.

Feb. 8, 1918-The ladies auxiliary of Yaphank sent two barrels of serviceable clothing through the American Relief Committee to Belgium.

Local woodcutters are busy cutting and providing wood to the camp.

Coram ladies are making comfort bags for soldiers leaving the camp and heading overseas.

James Ashton, who is in charge of roads is harrowing and honing Longwood Road into a real road.

May 31, 1918- Yaphank raises 213.65 for the Red Cross

June 7, 1918, Soldiers from the camp have discovered that lakes of Yaphank. They can be seen fishing daily.
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