Celebrating History-April 6, 1918

Havre’s activities to support the war effort continued with great gusto 100 years ago this week. The Havre Plaindealer reported on the event at the newly built Ryan Building in the April 6, 1918 issue.

“Every Feature of the Entertainment Was a Headliner.
“No more successful public entertainment was ever staged in Havre or northern Montana than that given on Thursday evening making the formal opening of the new wholesale house of the Ryan Mercantile company at the corner of First street and Second avenue. The date was selected by Mr. Fergus, manager of the Havre branch of the Ryan company, commemorative of the birthday of Mrs. Fergus. During the evening Mrs. Fergus was introduced to the throng in the building and responded graciously to the welcome accorded her.
“The ladies of the Hill county Red Cross chapter had charge of all arrangements for entertainment of the hundreds who attended the opening, and the success of the affair is due in no small measure to their efforts. Carnival attractions, educational exhibits, a minstrel show, a continuous dance-in fact everything was provided for the visitors, and there was not a dull moment for anyone.
“The event started at 5 p.m. in the afternoon, when the ladies of the Red Cross served a sumptuous dinner. The service continued for four hours, and had to be discontinued only long enough to permit an additional supply of viands to be requisitioned.
“Among those who were fortunate enough to be present, the opening of the Ryan building will long be cherished as one of the most enjoyable evenings ever experienced.”

The Havre chapter of the Red Cross’ efforts were further announced in the Plaindealer.

“Pledges so Fair Exceed Two Thousand Dollars Per Month
“The ladies of the Hill county chapter of the Red Cross who work so assiduously in the making of things that will go for the comfort of our boys “Over There” need have not further worry as to finances to carry on their noble work. Unthought for success has attended the efforts of the various committees who started at ten o’clock last Monday morning to raise money for this work, and up to noon yesterday the sum of $2400 monthly had been pledged. The pledges cover a period of six months, and for that time at least the local chapter will not be hampered for lack of money to carry on its work. The campaign will close this evening, and it is thought the sum above maned will be greatly augmented.”

State and national news carried stories about the heavy interest in the recent ruling by the commissioner of the general land office that time spent working for other farms due to the labor shortage caused by the war would count towards “proving up” on their own homesteads; there was strong support from high school boys to fill some of the labor void on farms; the wool market was strong due to the war; that there were restrictions of mail being sent to soldiers abroad-materials requested must come from the solider and be approved by the regimental officer before people home could send them anything due to the amount of unnecessary and “useless” articles (such as cream puffs. Yes, cream puffs.) being sent “over there”; and the new rule to take place starting April 14 that “Victory Bread” must contain 25 percent substitutes for wheat. Three prominent ads front and center on the front page of the Plaindealer proclaimed “Victory is a Question of Stamina. Send-the Wheat Meat Fats Sugar the fuel for Fighters”; Secretary of the Treasury W. G. McAdoo said “EVERYONE MUST HELP”, that “Wars cannot be fought without money” and to contribute, “forgetting selfish interests” and encouraged Americans to “do the great and splendid work which God has called upon us to do.”; and a chart released by Governor Stewart on the number of men Montana could send and already sent to war compared to other states (we were far ahead of surrounding states), and the amount of money Montanans have contributed in various war fund drive efforts (Montana far exceeded the grand total than the other surrounding states).

The Society column carried these two interesting articles:

“Popular Nurse Departs.
“Miss Marcia Lange, a popular graduate nurse of this city, departed on Wednesday for Camp Lewis in response to a summons from the government. After a short time spent in the base hospital at Camp Lewis it is probable she will be summoned for duty overseas. Miss Lange is a sister of W. C. Lange, and has spent the past three years in Havre, during which time she has by a most charming manner endeared herself to a large circle of friends here. The best wishes of these friends follow this estimable young lady to any field to which she may be called in her noble work.

“Mr. H. B. Prescott of Helena and Miss Lilian Hedges of Saco, where married at noon Wednesday, the ceremony occurring at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. B. Bourne, close friends of the contracting parties, on south Fourth avenue. The Episcopal ceremony was used, Rev. L. J. Christler officiating. Mr. and Mrs. Prescott left in the afternoon for a honeymoon to be spent in Helena, Butte and other points in the southern part of the state. Mrs. Prescott is one of Montana’s war brides, as her husband expects to leave within a few weeks for service with Uncle Sam’s fighting men.”

These three short paragraphs were found regarding the war effort:

“Mrs. Newton Howes and Mrs. W. W. Smith of Amos, where Havre visitors the first of the week, and while here visited the local Red Cross rooms. Both these ladies are enthusiastic workers for the Red Cross. They brought up $25 which was turned over to the Hill County chapter.

“Allen D. Meade left last Friday for Fort George Wright, near Spokane, where after undergoing surgical treatment he will enter the service of Uncle Sam. Young Meade made three attempts to enlist and each time was refused because of a minor physical defect, but last week he received word from Washington that this could be corrected by an operation, hence his departure Friday. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Meade of Havre, and makes the third son from this family to join the country’s fighting forces.”

And this short paragraph regarding those marriages:

“The local draft board is holding hearings in the case of drafted men who have been married since the 18th of May 1917, three such hearings have taken place this week. These hearings are being held on instructions from the provost marshal, and all evidence taken in the cases will be submitted to the Washington office for final determination as to whether the men married since the date mentioned shall have any rights as to deferred classification.”

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