© 2014 Enfys McMurry All rights reserved.
July 18, 1918: Everyday of July 1918, the town heard of German reversals and retreats at the hands of the Allied forces. Among them, local boys were west of Chateau Thierry; they had taken the village of Veaux. The military target Hill 192 and Roche Wood, and were penetrating the Caranbaut Wood. They had inflicted heavy losses on the enemy and taken 450 prisoners, and then 30,000 more and secured Soissons. Mayor Fox read the headlines from the steps of the City Hall: “British Smash Thru,” French Pinch Another Salient,” “Yanks Bite in Again.” Spontaneously in response and daily for the next four months until the end of the war on Nov. 11, parades became a daily Centerville phenomenon. The town band started the pattern walking the streets playing martial music. At its head, a large flag was carried by a boy or girl at each corner. The town’s former residents of England, France and Italy, representing the Allied forces joined in, carrying their national flags. At 10:30 every morning including Sundays, shopkeepers shut up their shops and followed Mayor Fox carrying the flag. They walked around the Square twice, frequently joined by onlookers. One parade was held in Mystic, and on Saturday nights there were expanded versions. (227 and Note: see Santi Milani carrying the flag on page 228.)
July 19, 1932: Appanoose County’s unemployed on this date was 450. Starvation for them was imminent. The Red Cross shipped 30,000 pounds of flour to the county. The flour arrived by rail in carloads: 10,000 pounds, followed by 15,000 for Centerville, 5,000 for Mystic, with allotments for Numa, Unionville, Plano, Cincinnati and Dean. People lined up at distribution points — the welfare office on West Van Buren in Centerville, the Paul Dixon Legion Post in Mystic. The recipients were but a fraction of the millions now unemployed throughout the country. The states, the cities, the churches and private charities were exhausted. There was only one answer: federal relief. On this date, the Iowegian reported that in one stroke of the pen, Republican President Herbert Hoover signed into law the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. By so doing, he committed the federal government to “the most far-reaching relief plan in history.” For Hoover, it was too late, even in his home state of Iowa. By Nov. 8 the country elected a new president: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And Appanoose County for the first time in its long post-Civil War Republican record, had gone Democratic. (342-343)