Reflections

 

February 7, 2018



Reflections on early life in Klickitat County…

The early pioneers and innovators of Goldendale and Klickitat County used their ingenuity, dedication and backbone to create a viable and vibrant community. This column will reflect on their character and actions.

One hundred years ago, in February 1918, Goldendale, like the rest of the world, was caught up in the throes of the Great War. Page after page of The Goldendale Sentinel was dedicated to the fight, the men, the cost, and the patriotic efforts. Many of the local young men had been called into service, and more were slated to go. From Dot, it was written: “News is very scarce in our community this winter as our young people, the life of a community, are scarce, the young men having been called to war...” (Feb 7, pg 3, col 3).


In the Feb 7, 1918 newspaper, it was reported that The Klickitat Chapter of the Red Cross (made up of White Salmon, Alderdale, Lyle, and Goldendale branches, along with Centerville and Columbus ladies) came together to ship “Nine large packing cases” of supplies to Seattle for the war effort. Although today, we might question the health of it, in 1918, the community took great pride in raising a Tobacco Fund to send to the young men in uniform.

Large sections of The Sentinel were dedicated to printing letters by hometown soldiers. Homer S. McKinney, wrote to thank the local people for their contributions and to state that, “The sweaters are highly prized by the men; but I might give a word of advice to the ladies of the society—most of the sweaters are knitted too loosely and too large.” Others gave descriptions of where they were stationed overseas and described their military lives and conditions.

It was hard to find a page in the Sentinel in 1918 that did not include a story about the war and what the people of Klickitat County could do at home to help win the war. War Saving Stamps were one way that the public helped fund the war, and were considered “the answer of a great democracy to the demand for a democratic form of Government security. They are ‘little baby bonds.’” (Feb 7, pg 1. col 1). Even the young were encouraged to find a way to help. The article “A Boy Can Become A Soldier And Help Win the War” encouraged every boy to join a pig club. It was said that “every pound of pork fat is as sure of service now as a bullet.”


Not only were they supporting the war, but the people of Klickitat County funded philanthropic efforts in other areas, including the Presbyterian Church’s “Christian Sympathy for Lepers” and the mercy work in the Orient. Local individuals, schools and churches contributed to Armenian Relief.

And yet, in spite of all of the war efforts, the thrift encouraged and imposed, the contributions to others in need, along with the loss of so many young men to war service—life in Klickitat County abounded. Crops were raised and harvested, ranching progressed and commerce flourished.

—By Ellen Rowley

 

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