Celebrating History-March 16, 1918

War news dominated most of the Havre Plaindealer’s March 16, 1918 issue. We found that Montana was “far behind in thrift campaign”, stating we were 56 percent behind in our proportionment. This was measured by the sale of stamps sold specifically for the effort, with only Wibaux, Granite, Deer Lodge and Meagher counties reporting at 100%. Hill County was near the bottom at 16 percent. Perhaps we were exercising thrift in a different manner, keeping money in our pockets instead of buying war stamps.

There were the now predictable announcements that the grain supply was low, the cry of “SOW MORE WHEAT” to encourage farmers to switch whatever crops they were growing to increase wheat production, and a huge ad in the middle of the front page at the top from the Federal Food Administration in Montana, Alfred Atkinson as Director, declaring “SAVING OF WHEAT IS MILITARY NECESSITY”. The ad goes on to stress that the conservation of wheat during meal times and growing more of the crop would help win the war, and offered substitutes for wheat flour to use on a fifty-fifty basis for breads, such as potato flour, corn meal, corn starch, corn flour, hominy, corn grits, barley flour, rice, rice flour, oatmeal, rolled oats, buckwheat flour, sweet potato flour, soya bean flour and feterita flour and meal. In addition, the ad reminded people that some days were meatless.

But ladies, take heart! There will be an ample supply of sugar for the upcoming 1918 canning season. I grew up in a family that canned jams, jellies, syrups, pickles, fruits and vegetables and that tradition was passed to me by my mother. I have nothing but the highest respect for the women back in 1918 who will be canning over a hot cook stove in the summer with no air conditioning (like I grew up with and still don’t have in my kitchen), doing so to feed their families during the harsh winter months and “do their part” to win the war.

I managed to find and snag a copy of the booklet the US Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, released with tips and recipes to get the home front through the war and support the food supply not only for our troops, but hungry allied troops in Europe. This should be for great reading, and I’ll share some of that information with you readers as space and opportunity allows.

To help the US Department of Agriculture determine crop acreage, livestock supply, and labor availability for farms, a survey was to be conducted in every county of the US. Hill County’s survey was to happen March 21-22. The following article outlines what the federal government was looking for and how locals could participate.

“Important Data Will be Asked of County Farmers
“The Hill county farm survey Mar. 21-22, is to be an estimate of labor needed during the coming season and a statement of crop acreage, livestock, seed and other farm supplies wanted of for sale.
“It is to be conducted under the joint auspices of the public school system of the state, extension division of the state college, state commissioners of agriculture, and the United States department of agriculture.
“The information asked for will be strictly confidential and is for the use of state and federal officials in determining the labor needs of the sate and nation for the coming season.
“Information Wanted
“Estimates of hired help needed for entire summer, and for short periods, such as for harvesting and haying, record of livestock, cows, horses or pigs, etc., n hand, number you wish to buy and number you have to sell. Total number of acres of pasturage.
“Under crops you are asked to state the number of acres planted and harvested in 1917 and the number of acres to be planted in 1918.
“Under seed you are asked to state the kind you want to plant, the amount you wish to buy, and the amount you have for sale.
“This summary should give the farmers an idea of what they will be required to state in filling out the farm survey blanks.
“At all School Houses
“All schools, except primary and intermediate rooms in towns, will be dismissed and the teachers will be present at the school houses with a few of the older pupils to help the farmers fill out the farm survey blanks.
“All farmers north of their nearest school house will go the school house at 9 o’clock a.m. Farmers south of the nearest school house will go at 10 o’clock, and all farmers west of the nearest school house will go at 2 o’clock p.m.
“In districts where schools are not in session, and there are no teachers to do this work, the school trustees and clerks must be present at the various school houses to help farmers fill out the blanks, and to summarize the results and send in to the office of the county superintendents.”

All but one entry in the Society column dealt with war issues. Here they are in their entirety.

“Gildford Hospitality.
“A royal welcome by the Gildford people was extended to the Havre representatives of the Red Cross, who went to that progressive town last Tuesday to inaugurate another branch of the work.
“A buffet lunch was served at noon and the afternoon was spent in explaining in detail different phases of the work, and splendid talks were made by Mrs. Frank Jestrab and Mr. C. F. Morris. At six o’clock a bounteous repast was served by the Gildford ladies and in the evening an impromptu program was rendered followed by dancing.
“The Havre delegation was composed of Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Morris, Mrs. Frank Jestrab, Mrs. O. G. Skylstead, Mrs. C. B. Wilson and Mrs. G. Casman.

“Red Cross Teas.
“The Red Cross teas have become very popular with the Havre ladies, and will not doubt prove to be of great advantage in carrying on the work in Hill county.
“The hostesses for the past week were: Mesdames D. L. MacKenzie, A. J. Brodrick, W. C. Lange, S. Y. B. Williams, Phil Jestrab, A. M. Grimmer, T. T. Cronin, F. O. Black and Mrs. Hillsbeck.

“Theatre Party.
“Friday evening, Mrs. O. C. Shepard and Miss Margaret Boyle entertained the members of the Nurses’ association, in honor of their sister, Miss Alice Boyle. The early part of the evening was spent at the Orpheum theatre, and after the performance, the guests conveyed to the Boyle home on Third Avenue, where refreshments were served and several hours pleasantly spent with music and conversation.

“Miss Boyle Complimented.
“On Thursday evening, Dr. and Mrs. D. S. MacKenzie entertained at six o’clock dinner, complimenting Miss Alice Boyle, who will soon leave for France. The dining table was beautiful in the chosen decorations and covers were laid for twelve intimate friends of Miss Boyle.”

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