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Havre of the Past: The Rev. Van Orsdel visits newspaper


September 20, 2013

Courtesy photo

This undated photo shows the Chouteau County Courthouse in Fort Benton, which was the county seat for Havre until Hill County was created in 1912.

We continue to celebrate Havre’s 120th anniversary of incorporation with the 37th installment in this series. The Sept. 19, 1893, The Havre Advertiser had a plethora of local news in the “City and State” social pages

In that column, we find complete with misspelling:

Miss Nellie Selsted, formerly Great Northern operator at Havre, is now stationed at Essex.

Revs. W. W. Van Orsdell and Allan Roger paid the Advertiser office a pleasant call on Friday.

Reverend Wesley W. Van Orsdel was a much beloved Methodist minister throughout Montana. Havre’s Van Orsdel Methodist Church is named in his honor.

Several men already spoken of who have expressed a willingness to accept, if elected, the high and responsible office of mayor.

Havre was incorporated as a city on Sept. 5, 1893, thus creating a need for a mayor and city council. As time goes on with this series, the names of candidates will be included in this column as they appear in the 1893 newspaper.

Charles Harvey has severed his connection with the All Nations saloon. He will shortly open up at his old stand, opposite Raymond & Willerton’s store.

It is announced, and generally believed, that the First National Bank of Great Falls will resume business in about another month. This will be good news to several of Havre’s residents who had their all deposited in the above named bank.

There will be a lecture delivered at the Methodist Episcopal church, this city, on Friday evening, September 29th, by Chaplain C. C. Bateman, of Fort Assinniboine, on the subject of Cranks. The national reputation of the lecturer will insure a rare treat for those who attend.

I’m not sure what kind of “Crank” was going to be addressed, but it may have either been about malicious or grouchy people. It is highly doubtful they were discussing illegal drugs.

As the day is fast approaching for every qualified voter to vote for a mayor and six aldermen it would be well for the citizens of Havre to select and cast their votes for men who have the best interests of the town at heart, and let aspirants for office who have but one motive in view-personal gain-lead a secluded life.

Jos. S. Bruno, Havre’s enterprising tailor has moved his shop to Beaudett’s jewelry store where he can now be found, ever ready to attend to the wants of his many customers. Up to the time that Mr. Bruno located here, Havre was practically without a tailor, as is evidenced by the fact that work in that line had to be sent abroad and is now kept at home.

Tom. Austin, of Havre, had a hearing in the district court this morning, on the charge of assault with intent to commit murder. His bail was fixed at $1,000, and being unable to furnish the same he was remanded to the connty jail.

The state board of pardons has approved the governor’s act of clemency towards Mike Fitzgerald, who was undergoing at 20-year sentence for killing Richard Williams, in this city, about five years ago. The governor thought the case was one of self-defense, as Williams was very quarrelsome and provoked the fight which caused his death.

At the meeting of the county commissioners on the 6th inst., it was decided to call a municipal election for the town of Havre, to be held on Monday, October 10th, for the purpose of choosing one mayor and six aldermen to manage municipal affairs until the regular election. The qualifications for voting are the same as those pertaining to general elections.

In 1893, Havre was in Chouteau County; Hill County would not be created until 1912.

All county government activity was generated out of the beautiful Chouteau County Courthouse in Fort Benton. And women, well, you couldn’t vote for mayor or aldermen, nor could you run for those offices. Back then, the only office that might be available for women to run and vote in would have been Superintendent of Schools. Women would not get the right to vote in Montana until 1914. The rest of the United States would follow suit in 1920, joining more forward-thinking Western states that had already given women the right to vote years before.


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