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100 years ago in Pullman: As men head to front lines of World War I, enrollment dips at Washington State

Thu., May 11, 2017, midnight

Sixty students were leaving daily from Washington State College as men joined the military to fight in World War I, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on May 22, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Sixty students were leaving daily from Washington State College as men joined the military to fight in World War I, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on May 22, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

College authorities were alarmed at the exodus of young men from the campuses of Washington State College (now WSU), the University of Washington, and the University of Idaho.

This was largely because of U.S. entry into the European war. Most of the men were headed to the military.

But not all. Some were going back to work on their family farms, which had been depleted of farm workers — also because of the war.

In some cases, “classes are so thinned out that work is demoralized.”

Pullman authorities reported that 60 students were leaving daily and there was some concern that few students would be left by the time school closed on June 15.

In fact, there were rumors that the colleges would not reopen at all next fall. Those rumors were denied. The WSC president said he expected 500 to 800 students next year.

From the murder beat: Testimony revealed that a third person – who had nothing to do with the shooting – had died as a result of the infamous drunken evening at the Milan poolroom-barbershop.

W.E. Simpson, a music teacher nicknamed “the professor,” got so drunk at the poolroom that he was found dead the next morning at his home. His wife believed that some of the drunken gang at the poolroom had forced him to drink to excess.

However, this was just a side issue in the trial. Charles A. Palmer was being tried for murdering two of the drunken patrons after he said they jumped him on the porch when he expressed disapproval of the goings-on inside.

Closing arguments were about to commence in the trial.



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