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Celebrating History: Scandal! Slavery and drugs in Havre

 

May 9, 2014

Courtesy photo

This photo shows the interior of the Oxford cafe in downtown Havre. M. D. White was arrested inside the establishment and taken to the Hill County Jail.

For this, the eighteenth installment celebrating the 150th anniversary of Montana Territory, we refer to the May 9, 1914 issue of The Hill County Democrat. The big story on the front page was a little lengthy, but the writing style is so interesting and the subject quite scandalous, of course complete with misspellings:

White Slaver Under Arrest

Sells Morphine And Contributes Fifty Dollars Fine

Placed In County Jail

Charged With White Slavery For Placing Wife In House of Shame

M. D. White was arrested yesterday by Deputy Sheriff Crites and lodged in the county jail on a charge of white slavery.

White drifted in a few days ago from Great Falls, and immediately established himself in business by placing his wife "Cleo" in a house of ill fame and starting a lively traffic in the glittering white powder that imparts brightness to the eye and puts temporary exaltation into the brain to an extent gauged by the amount of the drug that the dopehead can assimmulate.

He did a thriving trade while it lasted among his patrons, while Mrs. "Cleo" was undoubtedly contributing her share toward keeping the family pot boiling. It was peradventure, a sweet scented layout, and for a time bade fair to develope into a financially prosperous if not morally elevating trade venture.

It cost Mr. White fifty simoleons in Judge Pyper's court to ascertain the fact that while there may be more ways than one to skin a cat, it requires a strict adherence to certain rules and regulations for such cases made and provided to peddle hop and keep on the joy ride side of the bars.

Now it might seem that Mr. White's troubles would be at an end with the transfer of the fifty plunks from the family roll to the county school fund, but 'twas not so to be, and the comparatively slight storm that had shipwrecked his first business enterprise was but a prelude to the breakers he was so soon to encounter, as he had been out of hock but a few minutes when the gentle hand of the law at the end of Deputy Crites' arm again caressed his shoulder and welcomed him once more to the hospitable confines of his boarding house.

The arrest was made in the Oxford café, as the reunited husband and wife were partaking in their first meal together for a week, although the head of the firm did not suffer for dainties during his incarceration as his wife remained loyal and furnished him with all luxuries procurable. It really does seem too bad that their cup of happiness should be so soon dashed ruthlessly down, but the law knows but one course, and Mr. White in spite of all protestations and the sanctified names applied to the officer by Mrs. "Cleo" with a display of an artistic proficiency in up to date Queen's English as she is spoke, was again placed behind bars, there to study ways and means to interpret Chapter 1 of the Twelfth Session Laws.

Folks, they just don't write them like that anymore! The last time I think I heard the word "simoleons" was by J. D. "Boss" Hogg on the Dukes of Hazzard. Incidentally, M. D. White was found guilty of "soliciting colored patrons for prostitution" and sentenced to two years in prison.

This column would not be complete if selected paragraphs in the social pages weren't included, complete with grammatical and spelling errors.

Local Brevities

Miss Hazel Roberts autoed to her Sunday. Her homestead is situated eleven miles south of Inverness.

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Miss Mildred O'Shansey and Miss Ida Meyers autoed out to Miss Smith's claim, returning Sunday.

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Miss Kate Smith, one of the employees in the assessors office made a trip to her homestead 18 miles north of Havre, last Saturday.

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There was a small fire in the shop of Stewart the tailor, when an electric iron which was left turned on set fire to the table. The fire was discovered before any harm was done.

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J. W. Flora, a stranger in this part of the country, was arrested by Sheriff Henry Loranger on the charge of horse stealing. Flora arrived here a few days ago with four horses that he sold to Joe Demars for $300.00. He confessed that he sold the horses.

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The residence of Charles Lewson was practically destroyed by fire Wednesday at one a.m. The fire started from some unknown source and the house was a complete wreck before the fire department arrived. The building was partially covered by insurance.

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The wagon café of Tamale Jim was held up Monday morning and robbed of about ten dollars in cash, and such eats as were in sight, in the shape of fried chicken and other danties. Jim was temporarily absent on the delivery of an ordered lunch, and discovered the robbery on his return after an half hours absence. Entrance was affected by breaking the padlock on the door. There is no trace of the thieves.

Building Permits

Mrs. B. Thackeray, residence, $2000, 909 Third Ave.

The address is actually 916 Third Avenue. Mrs. Barbara Thackeray, widow of William Thackeray, was the mother of Harriet Thackeray Lucke, and Hattie and her husband, Lou, proprietor of the Lou Lucke Company, also built a similar home at 900 Third Avenue. Both are in the Craftsman style. Mrs. Thackeray's house later became the home for the Northern Montana College President, including Guy Vande Bogart and his family. Several members of the Lucke family built homes on the same and in nearby blocks.

 

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