Celebrating History-March 30, 1918

Even though the real fighting in The Great War was taking place thousands of miles away, the effects of war was certainly showing across this country in many different ways as outlined in The Havre Plaindealer’s March 30, 1918 issue.

A large ad appeared top and center on the front page asked “Are You Hoarding Flour or Sugar?” and went on to explain what hoarding was, what the punishment would be, that there were no exceptions and you were to report your stores to Alfred Atkinson, US Food Administrator for Montana “AT ONCE”. You had to provide your name, the post office you used, your county, the number of pounds of flour and sugar on hand and when each was purchased, the number of family members you had and the amount your family would need for the next 30 days. At the bottom of the ad warned “We are ready to enforce the law.”

Governor Sam Stewart ordered county councils to “aid public officials in the enforcement of law and preservation of good order and in promoting war work” in their communities. Loafers were warned that county councils would have you prosecuted for being lazy during a time of war and you would be making little rocks out of big rocks to serve out your jail sentence. A meeting in Great Falls was to focus on the effects of the war on the livestock industry. Thinking of not paying your taxes? Think again. You would be “prosecuted as vigorously and relentlessly” as part of the war revenue act as “draft slackers were prosecuted under the selective service act”.

In our nation’s capital and throughout the country, various laws were being passed regarding the war and how Americans should be conducting themselves. This was never more prevalent than the notorious Sedition Act, created right here in the state of Montana and used as the template for a national Sedition Act, which meant you could not speak ill of the war, any efforts regarding the war, and the government including the President. Other laws concerning loyalty were also being passed, and the effects of this was felt in Hill County. Those seeking to finalize their American citizenship papers were under more scrutiny than before, and while 42 were granted citizenship, three were rejected for avoiding the draft or “made other moves that indicated disloyalty”.

In other local news concerning The Great War, more young men from Hill County were “doing their part” to win the war.

“First Contingent of Second Call Departed Yesterday
“Fitting farewell was paid yesterday by the citizens of Havre to about twenty young men of the city who departed for Camp Lewis to become soldiers of the United States. The boys left on No. 1 yesterday afternoon.
“As with previous contingents that have gone from here, the boys were given every attention and showered with good wishes. A luncheon and reception for the solider boys and their friends was given in Elks hall at the noon hour, and at 1:30 a parade formed at the court house and escorted the boys to the train, where they listened to a fitting farewell address delivered by Rev. L. J. Christler. The parade was led by the local chapter of Spanish War veterans, and included a large number of citizens. Each solider wore on the lapel of his coat a Hill county badge.”

One of the previous young men who was on his way to war found himself in some medical trouble.

“Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Loranger received word this week that their son, Ray Loranger, who is a member of United States Marine corps now stationed at Santiago, Cuba, was operated upon last week for appendicitis. The letter was written by young Loranger’s “bunkie” and stated that Ray was improving rapidly and would soon be entirely recovered.”

In honor and recognition of those serving, Mayor McKenzie had this proposal:

“A municipal service flag, bearing a lag for every young man who has gone from Havre to enter the service of his country, is a proposal put forward this week and fathered by Mayor T. W. McKenzie. The flag would bear more than five hundred stars, and would be hung daily in front of the city hall.”

An article on the front page also stated that the “Local Red Cross Must Have Money”. The article went on to say that the goal was to raise $1200 per month in Hill County for use of the Red Cross for the war effort. The editor of the Plaindealer had this to say:

“The Hill county Red Cross needs money, and it is up to the people of Havre to supply it. When the committee calls upon you next week, don’t be a tightwad.
“You have given? So has everyone else, but in this case the committee will doubtless remind you of Secretary McAdoo’s words, ‘Give til it hurts.’ And don’t let this be your last act of giving; continue to dish out all you can spare until the Hun menace is obliterated, and then devote your time to recovering your money-for if that menace is not obliterated, you will have not need for money anyhow, because it cannot buy freedom.
“There is no better way in which to “Knock The Kaiser” than in helping the Red Cross in its noble work, so dig up the coin in order that this work not be slackened.”

Of course, Havre and Hill County’s women have been getting to work for the war effort all along, as outlined in the Society column.

“Red Cross Plans for Supper.
“Never since the Hill county Red Cross chapter was organized have the members been so interested in their efforts as strenuous as the are at this time. On April fourth, when the new Ryan building will be formally opened the Red Cross will have entire charge and the different committees are making a supreme effort that this affair may net them large proceeds.
“The first floor will be devoted to booths, a variety show, etc., and at 6:00 p.m. dinner will be served.
“The second floor will be used exclusively for dancing, and ice cream and punch will be served from prettily decorated booths.

“Nurse Goes East.
“Miss Louise La Fornaise, a well known nurse of Havre, received a call from the Red Cross to report for duty at Lakewood, N. J. and left for that point Wednesday evening. Miss LaFornaise expects to join a contingent of nurses going to France in the near future, and if successful in dodging the Kaiser’s women killers, she will very soon be ministering to the wounded in the same gentle manner that characterized her work here.

“Red Cross Teas.
“Among the hostesses this week were Mesdames Frank Jestrab; J. L. Howe; Hazelwood; Klingbring; Severud; Rist; Cruzen; Casman; Stranahan.

A couple of little paragraphs stated:

“Mrs. J. T. Watland was hostess at a Red Cross tea Thursday afternoon, at her home on Tenth avenue.

“Miss Alice Boyle departed last Saturday for Camp Lewis, and word received by Havre friends this week stated she had already entered upon her duties as an army nurse.”

And this was found buried under the “Of Local Interest” social pages:

“Havre is apparently threatened with a fair sized smallpox epidemic. The red cards are prominently displayed in all sections of the city, and every day from one to three new cases are unofficially reported. The majority of cases thus far are among students of the public schools, though some other than these have developed. A fortunate thing in connection with the epidemic is that thus far all the cases have been light ones.”

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