One hundred years ago this month, President Woodrow Wilson plunged the United States into World War One.

Wilson’s choice to push for war still baffles scholars and historians.  U.S. interests were not at risk, and the country still felt a strong aversion to dealings with other countries. Influential citizens like Henry Ford and feminist Jane Addams were vocally opposed to American participation. The war had been raging in Europe for three years already, at a terrific cost in human lives.

The atrocities of the war and the German torpedo attack on the Lusitania created an opening with the public. So Wilson, the scholar from Columbia, South Carolina, thrust America into the war at the eleventh hour.

The duration of the war, post-American entry, was 18 months. A year and a half is not a long time, in terms of world history. But it was obvious from the start that Wilson’s decision to urge Congress to declare war was momentous. 53,402 soldiers were killed. Americans were shocked when 63,000 soldiers returned home, with limbs missing, suffering the after-effects of mustard gas, and trembling from shell shock. Even those who managed to survive the war were not exactly the same when they returned home from the Western Front.

Library of Congress

Worldwide, over 17 million people died in the conflict. And as the war was ending, the Spanish flu pandemic was taking hold. The casualties inflicted by the Influenza Pandemic dwarfed those of the Great War. Estimates are broad, but between 25 million – 40 million people died of influenza between 1918 – 1919.

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This is the second update on the 1903 James Patterson murder cold case. Here’s a link to the original story and a link to part one of the update. The first update is about new information uncovered about the time before the murder. This post deals with what happened after the murder.

Incidentally, is a murder that took place over a century ago really a cold case? A case can be cold in a matter of weeks – as soon as the active investigation ends. This one may be cryogenically frozen.

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Believe it or not, there’s an update about the 1903 murder of James Patterson – several, in fact! These updates don’t solve this case, mind you, but they certainly created an interesting new dimension. Here’s a link to the original post that describe the murder and the subsequent conviction of Charley Hall. Update #1 concerns the time just before the murder.

First, Charles Hall and James Patterson appear in the 1903 Columbia city directory, as does Robert Moorman, the magistrate who secured Annie Laurie’s agreement to testify at the trial (by threatening her with a $200 fine if she didn’t do it).

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