Celebrating History-May 11, 1918

This is a bonus article-it got to be too long, so I took out some of the information, but I'm including it here for my loyal readers.  Thank you for reading my column, for it is the real Havre and The Great War column.

In The Havre Plaindealer’s May 11, 1918 issue, it was announced a second War Fund Drive would start May 20, the money being raised for the Red Cross. The national goal was another $100 million to be given to the war effort. The money would be needed, and Hill County was reminded why by another short article:

“Fourteen men from Hill county, making up the April 28th call by the provost marshal general, started for Fort McDowell, Cal., yesterday. Only seven men went from Havre, the rest of the contingent being mad up of men registered here but who have since changed their residence. The boys were given a rousing send-off at the train.”

As efforts were ramping up to send money and American men to fight the war “over there”, the Montana Council of Defense was busy implementing the “orders” it was passing.

“Cover Recent Orders of State Council of Defense
“Sheriff Bickle is in receipt of the orders of the Montana council of defense passed at the meeting of that body held March 15 and April 22. The four orders deal with the parades which may not be held without a permit; the question of dealing with loafers and vagrants and requiring that every able bodied man in the state do at least five days work a week; the order discontinuing the teaching of German in the public and parochial schools and colleges and the elimination of certain text books from the public and school libraries, said to contain German propaganda; the order to the railroad companies to enforce the law relating to the stealing of rides on trains in Montana.
“In addition to receiving from Secretary Greenfield the orders of the council, the sheriff has also received blanks for the registration of persons who are not engaged in some legitimate occupation five days a week.
“The blanks which will be filled out and attested to before a notary, provide for the name, age, address and nativity of the person, and if foreign born, the location of birth and date; whether he has applied for citizenship or not, where he last worked; why he quit and what his reason may be for not being employed at the time of registration.
“Accompanying the registration blank is a card which will be given to the registrant showing that he ahs been before the county or city clerk.
“Peace officers are ordered to round up the idlers and drifters and require their registration and if they do not go to work, they will be arrested and punished by fine and imprisonment in jail.”

Peace officers were not the only public officials being called upon to do the dirty work of the government. Tax assessors across the state were given a new duty, as outlined in the following column.

“Montana Tax Assessors Asked To Assist in Work
“Montana tax assessors have been asked by the alien property custodian through Secretary John Edgerton of the state tax and license commission, to hunt out and report immediately to Washington on all enemy owned money or property, or information that will lead to its location.
“’The local tax assessor has unusual opportunities for detecting this class of property, writes Director Francis P. Garvin, to Mr. Edgerton. ‘In many instances he will find it among the real and personal property listed on his books
“’You and the local tax assessors of your state will be performing a patriotic act by assisting in the detection of enemy owned money or property. Where possible this money is invested in Liberty bonds and is thus made to fight for our country instead of against it.
“Enemy property is defined as follows:
“’Enemy property includes any and every kind of property, tangible and intangible, money, chattels, securities, lands, indebtedness, accounts receivable, etc., which belong to an enemy. Even if the property is held in the name of another-by a dummy or in trust-if the real beneficial interest belongs to an enemy, it is enemy property.
“’An enemy is any person, regardless of citizenship or nationality, who is now living within, or any company incorporated within, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, the occupied parts of Belgium and northern France and all other territory occupied by the armed forces of Germany or her allies. Actual present residence and not citizenship is the determining factor. A German living in the United States is not an enemy, unless he is interned. On the other hand, an American living in Germany or in any territory occupied by the armed forces of Germany or her allies, is an enemy.”

While there were no doubt German sympathizers fitting this description, what the law apparently fails to recognize the possibility of those in enemy countries who were there for entirely innocent reasons-perhaps to visit family for example-who were now caught in the cross fires of war and couldn’t get out of the country. Remember, it wasn’t like one could just get on a plane and fly; this was the first war in world history using manned aircraft as war machines and the first non-stop Transatlantic commercial air flight wouldn’t happen until October 11, 1928 when the Graf Zeppelin dirigible (a.k.a. airship or blimp) left from none other than Friedrichshafen, Germany and landed in NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, on October 15. Rail travel was also risky; many lines had been destroyed during the war making travel impossible in certain areas. Passenger ships were also at the mercy of German U-boats; if they thought the ship was carrying more than just passengers, the German forces were out to sink it.

With more news of The Great War’s impact on life in Havre, here are two entries from the Society column:

“Woman’s Club Notes.
“The annual business meeting of the Woman’s club was held on Tuesday afternoon at the club rooms. All business for the past year was satisfactorily closed and many plans for the future were discussed.
“A new department was added-that of “Home Economics” which will be under the leadership of Mrs. W. B. Rhoades.
“The club will support one French war orphan during the following year besides taking up other charitable work in Havre.
“Mesdames C. K. Olsen, D. D. Moore, Frank Carleton, Tom Long, G. A. Christiansen, J. L. Howe and Miss Grace Homan and Miss Dorothy Holland were the new members elected to membership.

"’Here Comes America’
“The Xavier Dramatic and choral club of Havre will again appear before a Havre audience on the evening of May 17, at the Orpheum theatre
“For this performance they have chosen a musical revue called “Here Comes America,” and rehearsals, under the direction of O. P. Thayer, have been in order the past few weeks. A number of soloists and a large chorus of over thirty members will be heard at this time.”

And in the Of Local Interest social pages, we find:

“Edgar Runkle, a member of the Hill county contingent now making up the national army, arrived this week to spend a short furlough with Havre relatives. Mr. Runkle is stationed at Camp Lewis.

“W. L. Raab, a veterinary of the U. S. department, was in Havre this week, and in company with Frank Wild, revenue collector for this district, mad an official trip to Phipps and other points north of Havre.

“H. E. Seiver of Chester was a Havre visitor on Thursday. He was accompanied by his brother, O. D. Seiver, who is spending a short furlough from Camp Lewis.

“Reports from the campaign for funds for the Salvation Army in Hill county show about fifteen hundred dollars thus far contributed. The quota of this county was set at two thousand dollars, and if this is not raised it will be the first time Hill county has fallen down on an allotment. Send in your donation to C. F. Morris at once.

“Wm. O’Brien and Miss Catherine Gore were married on Wednesday evening in the parlors of the Oxford hotel, Magistrate Kirkland performed the ceremony. Mr. O’Brien is a member of the national army, located at Camp Lewis, and is spending a two weeks furlough in the city. Mrs. O’Brien expects to remain here for the return of her husband.

“According to a recent ruling handed down by the revenue authorities, all dances not given for charitable purposes must pay the same tax as that assessed for theatres and other amusement places. The new ruling should result in a large revenue from the numerous “ten-a throw” “Saturday Fracas” and similar hops pulled off in this city.

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