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100 years ago in Spokane: Army recruits from Montana challenge Washingtonians to volunteer as draft World War I draft nears

An army recruiter said that recruitment was going well in Montana, but goals weren’t being met in North Idaho or Washington, The Spokesman-Review reported on June 2, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
An army recruiter said that recruitment was going well in Montana, but goals weren’t being met in North Idaho or Washington, The Spokesman-Review reported on June 2, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Army recruitment was becoming somewhat of an interstate contest – and Washington was accused of losing.

“With regard to army recruiting, Butte, Montana, has responded wonderfully, especially in the last week,” said recruiter Capt. Harry E. Mitchell. “And, assisted by the rest of Montana, including a party due in tonight, has filled the quota of 753 for that state. I am sorry to say that Washington and northern Idaho are falling far behind in filling their quotas. I am officially informed that the department will have to resort to the draft in these two states before September 1 to fill their quota in the regular army.”

About 200 Montana recruits rubbed it in as they paraded through the streets of Spokane, on the way from the Northern Pacific Depot to Fort George Wright.

They carried signs that read, “I gave up my business – why not you?” and “Montana’s challenge to you – to enlist, follow us.”

From the press beat: An intruder broke into the offices of Spokane’s Italian newspaper and demanded to speak to the editor.

A 17-year-old girl was the only one in the office. When she said the editor was not there, he “choked her into insensibility.” Then he ransacked the office and left with an unknown amount of loot.

The girl was hysterical when police arrived, and was “thoroughly unnerved.”


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