Celebrating History-September 16, 1916

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The Fifth Annual Hill County Fair was underway this week 100 years ago.  A large article was on the front page of the September 15, 1916 issue of The Havre Daily Promoter.  It reads, in part:


“Women Farmers make Magnificent Display of Agricultural Products.  City and Rural Schools in Competition.

                “Let the truth be stated that altogether the finest agricultural exhibits at the Fifth Annual Hill County Fair are composed of products raised and displayed by women farmers.

“Mrs. J. P. Engeberg of Kremlin and Dora Albrecht of Phipps have farm, garden and floral exhibits that no mere male farmer in the United States can excel and it is doubtful if they can equal.  Alone they are worth the entrance fee.  The justify the weeks of hard work and the cost of the annual exhibit and demonstrate anew the fact that the women of Montana are co-equal with the men, not only at the ballot box, but in the development and promotion of the industries in the state.”

The article later mentioned Mrs. Engeberg showed 28 varieties of grain and grasses, a “fine floral display of asters and sweet peas” as well as showing citrons (lemons), melons, squash and cucumbers.  Miss Albrecht exhibited the “finest samples of winter wheat and rye ever seen in Montana”, along with corn and potatoes.

Regarding schools, here is what the Promoter bragged:

“School Exhibits a Marvel

“The entire central display section of the main building is taken up with a most marvelous exhibition of the work of the pupils of the Hill county schools.  The city school display is made under the supervision of Miss Vera MacKenzie and Miss Florence Poole, teachers respectively in the departments of drawing and domestic arts.  The rural schools exhibit was assembled and displayed by Miss Laura G. Lovett, county superintendent of schools.  Each exhibit is worthy of two or three days careful study.  In basketry, mat weaving, free hand cutting, arithmetic construction, penmanship, photography and in everything except the finished work turned out by pupils in the department of domestic science, the rural schools are most worthy competitors with the city schools and if comparative judgment were to be made between them the task would be a most difficult one.”

Flax products were shown with gusto, and horse races were underway as well.

The Industrial Workers of the  World, the I. W. W., also known as “The Wobblies”, were making pests of themselves in Havre this week 100 years ago.  The September 14, 1916 issue reported fifteen members of the “I Won’t Workers” arrived in Havre via a train car with “coal seats” (the coal tender car), expecting no welcome but got one anyway.  They were escorted to the “freedom of the corridors of one of the public buildings of the city and free lodging in a room the windows of which were well screened with iron rods representing the finest product of Pittsburg steel mills.”  They were “introduced” to Judge Pyper the next morning and afterward, made “a tour of the western section” of the city, and when they reached the city limits “were given a forward impetus by boot that should have landed them somewhere in the vicinity of Rudyard.”  In closing, the Promoter stated “Somewhere to the westward they are today solemnly and sadly awaiting the arrival of their special car and Havre is once more rid of the tramps.”

Another article in the same paper reported one as being “forced” to join the I. W. W. under threats of bodily harm.  Judge Pyper took pity on the 19 year old man, jailing the rest of them and giving the young lad three days to get out of town before he released his cohorts.

But, the Wobblies weren’t done.

In the September 15, 1916 issue of the Promoter it was reported that “more than 100 I. W. W.s boarded a Great Northern Freight Train as it left Havre…and insisted upon being carried through to Great Falls, where 25 of their number were placed under arrest by the sheriff’s force and police department”.  It was also reported none had weapons.

The I. W. W. is a worker’s union that is still in existence.  During the fight for workers’ rights, they were involved with some fairly severe encounters and not always welcome where they went.  Nearly a year later in Butte, Frank Little, an executive of the I. W. W., would be dragged out of his hotel room and lynched on the streets of the Mining City.  He is interred in one of Butte’s cemeteries.  No one really knows where or why the term “Wobblies” was formed, but there are several theories on their website.

In more pleasant and refined news, from the Plaindealer’s Society column of September 16, 1916, we find:

“Mrs. Casman Hostess

“One of the delightful social affairs of last week occurred on Friday afternoon and evening, when Mrs. Gerald Casman was hostess to a large number of friends at her home on Second avenue south.  Potted plants and cut flowers were used in profusion for decorative purposes, and cards formed the principal diversion for the guests.  At the close of the evening the hostess served dainty refreshments.”

The Casman home is located at 503 Second Avenue and was originally owned by William Cance.  The home was built in 1903 but by 1915 the Casmans were living there.  The home was a clapboard sided Victorian era home, but in 1928, Pearl Casman, originally from England, had the home changed to more closely reflect the homes she remembered on the English countryside.  In 1946, Francis and Laened Black, proprietors of Havre’s beloved Black’s Jewelers, purchased the home and lived there for many years.  Those of us who remember Black’s Jewelers knew when we got a box from Black’s, it was something special!


This article was published in the Havre Daily News on September 16, 2016.


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