Celebrating History-November 3, 1917

The big story in the Havre Plaindealer’s November 3, 2017 issue was the exoneration of Hill County Attorney Victor Griggs. As you may recall, Mr. Griggs was accused by Montana Attorney General Sam Ford of not doing his job “maintaining” Havre’s red light district. Judge Mathews issued a very lengthy statement-the story was found on three pages throughout the paper-but in a nutshell, Judge Mathews accused Ford of framing Griggs and noted the statute didn’t direct the County Attorney to prevent crime; that was the job of law enforcement.

Much of what was on the front page had to do with the war, of course. An article outlined how branches of the military could be identified by the color of cords and insignia on their uniforms; that officials in Washington, D. C. had received threats of plots to destroy grain elevators and stockyards in the interest of Germany; and that Montana exceeded its Liberty Loan quota by $6,200,000. Hill County’s contribution was $175,000.

An announcement in the Legal section of the Plaindealer announced the sale of school bonds to build a school in the St. Joseph district. The sum was $3000.
There were three entries in the Society column this week:

“Eastern Stars Entertain.
“Among the most enjoyable of the Hallowe’en parties this week was the dance given Tuesday evening by the Havre chapter of the Eastern Star. The dance hall in the Masonic temple was resplendent in Hallowe’en colors, and the goblins were in every nook and corner. Supplementing the dance were amusements appropriate to the season, among them that of lifting apples from a tub of water with the teeth. This proved one of the most enjoyable of the many past-times. Another feature that provided popular was the fortune telling booth, where everyone was given an insight into the future. Late in the evening the guests were served with tempting refreshments.
“A small admission fee was charged those attending the dance, and the proceeds were devoted to the local Red Cross society.

“Afternoon for Visiting Guest.
“Mrs. Mitchell of London, Ont., was honored on Tuesday afternoon, when Mrs. James Holland, Sr., invited a few friends in to meet her visiting guest. Mrs. Mitchell has visited in Havre before and her many friends in the city were glad of the opportunity to welcome her once more.
“Kensington formed the principal diversion for the afternoon.

“Society Card Party.
“The Young Ladies’ society of the Catholic church gave a card party at the Parish hall on Monday evening. A large number of young people were present and a good time was reported.”

In other local news found in the “Of Local Interest” column:
“A special meetings of the Havre lodge of Masons has been called for Monday evening next. Work in the third degree will be exemplified, and following the session a banquet will be served.

“Completing Hill county’s contingent to the first draft army, 42 young men left the city last evening. They were given a grand send-off, and it is fully expected that all will return after vanquishing the Kaiser.

“Grain Belt school house was the scene of a delightful Hallowe’en party on Wednesday evening, arranged and directed by Miss Mabel Johnson, the popular teacher of the Grain Belt school. The attendance was quite large, and the sum of $24 was raised, which will be used to purchase pictures for the school room.

“Committees representing the federal food conservation movement has been busy in Hill county this week, securing pledges for at least one wheatless and meatless day each week. Thus far the responses have been generous, only a few pro-Germans having been encountered. These have been listed and will be cared for in due time, as it will now be the policy to locate and determine all who fail to help Uncle Sam in this hour of need.”

My question would be, how do they know who was “pro-German” and who wasn’t. Did they say the Kaiser is great? They hoped Germany would win the war? Because they wouldn’t commit to a wheatless and meatless day? (And some think “meatless Mondays” are a recent invention.) Vague references such as this would lead to trouble, and this will be explained in later issues of this column.

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