Havre’s unions were getting ready to host a Labor Day celebration in Havre 100 years ago. This article was found on the front page of The Havre Plaindealer’s September 1, 1917 issue:
“LABOR DAY WILL BE FITTINGLY OBSERVED
“Arrangements Completed for Big Celebration
“The trade unions of Havre have made arrangements for the biggest Labor Day demonstration ever staged in Havre to be held next Monday, September 3.
“The exercises will start with a monster parade which will start promptly at 10:30 o’clock a.m. All unions will assemble at the corner of Second avenue and Fourth streets at 10 o’ clock, where the officers of the day will assign them their places in the parade after which they will march through the principal streets of the city. It is expected that all organizations of the city will participate in the parade. Some of them will be in uniform, and all of the organizations will carry banners designating their particular craft.
“Immediately following the parade speakers of state wide prominence will address the citizens of Havre on important labor questions and conditions of the day.
“The afternoon will be given over to sports and races. The committee having this branch of the day’s entertainment in charge have prepared a good program, including such sports as tug of war, motor cycle races, foot races and all kinds of games and sports for the amusement and edification of both old and young. Liberal prizes will be awarded for the successful contestants in all of the events.
“Any and all persons who desire to take part in any of the sports are requested to make their desires known to the president of the committee on sports, Don McLeod, not later than Monday morning, so that all contestants may be assigned to their different teams and divisions properly.
“Every one is cordially invited to attend the celebration and to take part in the sports and entertainment.”
Havre had many labor unions 100 years ago, even the barbers and local band had its own union. Better wages, safer and fair working conditions were negotiated with employers and if unsuccessful the union members often went on strike. Just last week 100 years ago, the barbers’ union members were on strike due to wage and hour disputes. Labor Day weekend was established by the unions as early as 1882, and in 1887 Oregon was the first state to recognize Labor Day weekend as a holiday. In 1894, Congress made it official. This weekend was brought to you by working men and women who fought and died for your rights in the workplace. Its important people remember this.
In war news, the first draftees were getting ready to be sent off to the European front. They were: Phineas Headlee, Darrell Lafferty, Edger Elmer Runkel, Gus Woodward, Arthur E. Cross, and Howard Kidman, all of Havre; Charles William Zuege of Rudyard; Rufus Lyle Wanous of Chester; Nils Sande and Eugene Currie both of North Dakota; Harry Heppner of Hingham; Ben Edwards of Joplin; Francis Dwyer of Box Elder; Mathew Philip Todd of Geyser; Lester W. Hunt of Lothair; Harvey Erickson of Iowa; Ernest C. Gerky of Cottonwood; and George M. Hickel and George Bang of Kremlin. The women of Havre were organizing a send-off:
“WILL GIVEN FAREWELL TO SOLDIER BOYS
“The ladies of Havre are preparing to give the soldier boys of Havre and those from other points who will leave on Wednesday next to join the arm a rousting farewell. Details for the entertainment are not yet complete, but it is known that luncheon will be served for the boys at noon Wednesday, and at 5 o’clock in the afternoon a dinner will be given at the Havre hotel.
“Among the boys who will be entertained other than those from Havre, are twenty young men from Chouteau county who are answer the first draft call.”
Weddings still dominated the Society page of the Plaindealer. Claude Currence and Mrs. Mable Jones, Thomas Rowan and Miss Wilma Haskins, and John E. Gentner and Beulah McFarlane were all married at separate ceremonies throughout Hill County. Other Society news included the following:
“On Wednesday of this week Mr. and Mrs. Alex MacDonald gave a dinner in the honor of their daughter, Luella, who has gone to Great Falls to enter the Deaconess school at that place. Besides the relatives the following guests were present: Sophie Woodash, Mrs. Bauer and daughter Beatrice; the latter will also enter the Deaconess school.
“Luncheon for Guest.
“On Wednesday of this week at her home Mrs. J. C. Benson was hostess at a luncheon, served in honor of Miss Norma Kussel, who is the guest of her sister, Mrs. V. R. Griggs of Havre. The afternoon was spent in conversation and amuseument.
“On Thursday evening Miss Dorothy Holland was hostess at a dancing party given at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Holland, Sr., in honor of Misses Margaret Gump of Spokane and Hay of Glasgow, who are guests at the Holland home. It was also a farewell party for her brother Joe who left for Spokane yesterday morning. The evening was spent in dancing Punch and wafers were served in the evening.”