PEND OREILLE COUNTY TRIVIA
By Faith McClenny
Pend Oreille County Historical Society
"The Great War"
April 6, 1917-November 11, 1918
Over there, over there
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming.
The Yanks are coming.
The drums rum-tumming
So prepare, say a prayer.
Send the word, send the word to beware
We’ll be over, we’re coming over
And we won’t come back till it’s over
By George M. Cohan
A hundred years has passed since President Woodrow Wilson stood before
the congress and requested a declaration of war against Germany. The war
started in Europe 1914 and for three years strong feelings for and against the war
raged across our nation. Rallies were held in Spokane and other cities and some
young people such as Dr. Wallace, local doctor, joined the British royal Army in
the Balkans in 1916. He later joined the American forces.
War fever was brewing and so it was no surprise when war was
declared in March 1917 that thousands rallied around the cause
to help fight against Germany.
May 1917 Selective draft was started and by July 223 men in the county were
registered. Soon the Newport Miner carried names of Pend Oreille residents who
signed up and started to leave for military bases such as Fort Lewis, Washington.
Lists also included men who were rejected and a few stories of those who were
arrested for trying evade the draft. At first for many the war was far away from
Pend Oreille County and had a rather patriotic, romantic, adventurous lure.
However when the submarines war began striking closer to the
US, the harsh realities of war became very real. Local young men soon found
themselves involved in trenches war fare, fighting with
war tanks and try to evade Mustard poison gas in the
desperate battles in Europe.
January, 3 1918 Bruce Wright was the first man killed from Pend
Oreille County. Paddy Sullivan among others faced Mustard Gas.
Names of the missing or wounded in action began appearing in the
newspapers. The government first asked for a million men to be sent to
France—the number was raised for addition millions. Later almost a
thousand men in our county were called into the service.
On the home front, Home Guard units were organized. In Newport H. Sewell was
in charge. They were trained, given uniforms and guns and guarded bridges, had
night patrols and other duties. Everyone was asked to conserve food, raise Victory
Gardens, buy Liberty Bonds, and support the Red Cross. Some military people
were used in mines and in cement plant in Metaline Falls.
Everyone felt the pinch of the war in one way or another.
The armistice was signed November 11, 1918.
As the war was winding down the Spanish Flu, 1918-1819, made an appearance
in army camps. More people died in pandemic than were killed in the Great War.