Celebrating History-December 15, 1917

Back to doing what I love!

The big news in The Havre Plaindealer in its December 15, 1917 issue was that of the dismissal of a case involving “Long” George Francis. He had been charged with horse stealing and was represented by George Hurd of Great Falls.

“Was to have come up for Hearing Today
“After being continued until Dec. 15th at the request of the state, the case of The State of Montana vs. George Francis, was dismissed yesterday afternoon in district court upon the motion of Attorney General Ford. The grounds stated in the motion for dismissal were so it is alleged, that certain material evidence was lacking and that the indictment, which was drawn by the attorney general himself, was defective on its face.
“The case against Francis attracted considerable attention on account of the defendant’s prominence. The history of the case is a peculiar one. When the case first arose it was presented to County Attorney Griggs, who declined to prosecute, believing the evidence insufficient to secure a conviction. The state authorities were appealed to and when the Hill county grand jury was called the matter was presented to it, with the result that Francis was indicted for horse stealing, County Attorney Griggs again declined to prosecute and the case has since been handled by Attorney General Ford.
“The attorneys for Francis resisted the motion to dismiss, but were overruled by the court. Many witnesses were in Havre ready to testify and the county has been put to a very large expense on account of the proceedings.”

The story is also a lesson in the old adage “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” Hill County still goes to considerable expense when cases are brought to court and the prosecutor doesn’t perform the basics of the position. It was foolhardy and completely unnecessary back then, and it remains so today. I do, however, have to give credit where credit is due. At least Ford bothered to showed up to court.

A few columns ago, I mentioned different organizations naming new officers for the upcoming year. The Eagles continued the tradition this week 100 years ago:

“At a meeting held last Friday evening the local Aerie of Eagles named the following officers for the ensuing year.
“Worthy President, E. F. Trump.
“Worthy Vice President, Geo. Sullivan.
“Worthy Chaplain, Jno. M. McKay.
“Secretary, W. B. Pyper.
“Treasurer, T. J. Troy.
“Inner Guard, Louis Granier.
“Outer Guard, Louis Halverson.
“Three-year Trustee, Chas. W. Ling
“Aerie Physician, Dr. W. F. Hamilton
“Last evening, the Havre Aerie held a social session at which members and their wives were present in large numbers, and it proved one of the most enjoyable meetings in the history of the Havre Aerie.”

Havre businesses were considering changing how they were collecting credits, due to their wholesalers’ demands.

“Following the custom of merchants in other cities, the Havre business houses are considering the question of restricting credits to a 15 day basis as a maximum, and one week as a minimum. This action is necessary because of the restricted credits placed upon local houses by the whole salers, who demand a settlement with no longer than thirty days grace. When it is realized that credits formerly were obtained for as high as six months, it can readily be seen where the local merchant must retrench or be faced with the alternative of going to the wall. If present conditions prevail for any considerable length of time, it is probable that all business will have to go upon a strictly cash basis.”

Havre’s social matrons were busy with various gatherings and planning for more, as reported in the Society column.

“Planning Annual Ball.
“Members of the Woman’s club were present at a meeting in the club rooms at the library on Friday afternoon, at which time questions relating to the annual ball given by that organization were considered. Among other things, it was determined to just what use the funds derived from the ball will be placed. The annual ball of the club is one of the happiest events of the social year in Havre, and is always eagerly looked forward to. It is the intention to make this year’s event one of them most brilliant in history, and that there will be a large attendance goes without saying.

“Leave for Wyoming.
“Rev. and Mrs. T. S. Dulin and family departed on Thursday for their new home at Worland. Wyoming, where Mr. Dulin will assume the pastorate of a prominent church of that city. A number of informal farewell parties were given for Rev. and Mrs. Dulin, whose stay in Havre will be happily cherished in the memory of a large circle of friends, all of whom with the pastor and his family the best of everything in their new field.

“Bridge Club.
“Mrs. J. C. Benson was hostess to the Bridge club last evening, at her apartments in the Brainerd building on Fourth avenue. A most delightful evening was spent by the club members and a few invited guests, and the hostess at a late hour served dainty and appetizing refreshments.”

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