COLUMN: Dateline with Greg Scott: May 1918

Touchstones of Nelson: From the files of the Nelson Daily News

MAY 1918

Dateline May 8, 1918

T.J. Scanlan, Inland Revenue Collector, has received instructions from Ottawa to proceed with the collection of the new taxes on sales of automobiles, tea, jewelry and other articles. The tax became effective May 1 and applies on all sales since that date. He has been instructed to get a certified inventory of automobiles on hand from all dealers in the city, showing serial number, style of car and manufacturers’ invoice price. An inventory from all jewelers having in stock jewelry amounting to more than $1000 and from merchants having in stock tea amounting to more than 1000 pounds. Stocks valued under $1000 and under 1000 pounds in weight are exempt. Many other articles are also being taxed or existing tax increased.

Dateline May 13, 1918

Fire, believed to have been started by boys fishing at Cottonwood Lake, burned over about 15 acres of the Great Northern right-of-way yesterday. Officers of the forest branch reported last evening that the blaze was under control. Evidence was found which leads the officials to believe that the fire was started by boys and an attempt is being made to locate the offenders. A fire is also reported to be burning near Benton siding, but up until late last night no particulars were received by the local office of the forest branch. The fire is being investigated by the forest ranger at Ymir. Fire, the cause of which is unknown, also destroyed a barn and shed at Taghum. The damage is estimated at $2500 and is partially covered by $1500 in insurance. For some time it was feared that the fire would spread to the planer yard of A.G. Lambert & Co., which is about 400 yards distant, but the fire was well under control by evening.

Dateline May 16, 1918

“To have a through clean-up of the back yards of the city means millions of flies less in the city,” says a Nelson clean-up crank, “and there is no greater menace to health than the filthy fly. Filth and rubbish in the yards is the regular camp ground of these pests and they go from there into the homes and contaminate food. If clean-up time served no other good purpose than to keep down the flies it would be well worth while, but it makes the city much more attractive and visitors carry away a good impression, which is a splendid ad for any city. All classes of citizens should join in the campaign to make Nelson one of the most sanitary and beautiful cities in America.” Many authorities now believe that there is far more danger from disease germs that pass through flies’ bodies than from those that are entangled on their feet and legs.

Dateline May 20, 1918

Fire which started from an overflowing pot of tar entirely destroyed the pipe factory, planning mill and two smaller buildings at Brilliant. The damage was estimated at $20,000. The property is owned by the Doukhobors. Men were working in the pipe factory at the time the pot of tar overflowed and caught fire. There was a shortage of water and they were powerless to cope with the flames, which spread to the planning mill and two other buildings. The flourmill, which is close at hand, was saved. The pipe factory was built about a year ago but was first operated beginning this spring. The pipe was made of wood and was for farm use, ranging in size from 12 to 16 inches in diameter. The planning mill had recently been moved to Brilliant and planed lumber from two of the Doukhobor mills in the vicinity. (Ed note- $20,000 in 2018= $310,000)

Dateline May 21, 1918

According to a recent proclamation signed by the Under-Secretary of State, all men who are British subjects and are not within any class of persons described in the exemptions mentioned in the 1917 Military Service Act and have attained the age of 19 years and are unmarried or widowers must report to the Registrar under the Military Service Act, at Vancouver on or before June 1. The report must be made in writing and must contain name in full, date of birth, place of residence and usual post office address. Conviction for failure to report as outlined makes the offender liable to a sentence of not more than five years with hard labor, and, if required by the authorities, he may also be compelled to serve in the expeditionary force.

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