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Celebrating History: Hot, dry weather decimates local ag


The ongoing drought was the big news in the Havre Plaindealer in its July 5, 1919, edition. A lengthy article titled “DROUTH IS WORST IN HISTORY OF MONTANA” was prominently featured on the top of the front page, and there was to be a conference in Havre to discuss the situation. The problems started a couple of years earlier, and would lead to an economic depression in the area, for not only was there a prolonged drought, grain and livestock prices would plummet after the boys “over there” came home and production land in Europe would return to normal leading to oversaturation of markets. This, of course, caused people to lose their “free” farm from Uncle Sam. There were no fewer than five Sheriff’s Sales advertised in the Plaindealer, and more would come in subsequent years.

Havre’s own meteorologist, C. W. Ling, had this to say about the month of June alone.


Total Precipitation for the Month Was Over and Inch Below the Normal for June

The monthly meteorological summary with comparative data for the month of June, 1919, issued from the local office of U. S. Weather Bureau by Observer C. W. Ling shows that about normal temperature prevailed during the first half of the month and a large excess the last half making it the warmest June in the last 20 years. The mean temperature for the month was 67.6 degrees. There was an average daily excess in temperature of 5.2 degrees. The highest temperature was 100 degrees on June 21 and the lowest was 33 degrees on June the 2nd. The greatest daily range was 40 degrees on the 2nd and the least was 11 degrees on the 12th. The highest temperature for 39 years was 108 on June 21, 1900 and the lowest for the same period was 29 degrees on June 29, 1910. The total precipitation for the month was 1.68 inches This is 1.14 inches below the normal. The greatest precipitation in 24 consecutive hours was 0.60 inches on the 11th and 12th. There were 19 clear days, 9 partly cloudy and 2 cloudy days and the percentage of possible sunshine was 77. The prevailing direction of the wind was from the east with an average hourly velocity of 7 miles, and the highest velocity for 5 minutes was 38 miles per hour from the northwest on the 16th. There were 13 thunder storms during the month.

The Hill County Commissioners were dealing with a storm of sorts, pertaining to the reward offered for the apprehension of “Long” George Francis.


The Board met at 1000 o’clock A. M. Present, Chairman Abe Crosson, Commissioners W. F. Watters, and F. M. Wilson, Clerk John H. Devine.

The day was sent in the discussion of road and bridge matters.

In the matter of rescinding the order of the Board of County Commissioners made May 6th, 1918, pertaining to the reward offered by the Board for the arrest of George Francis; the matter was discussed by the Board and after consideration, the Board decided to let the reward stand as of record.

The Board adjourned at 5:00 o’clock P. M.

ABE CROSSON, Chairman.

More on “Long” George next week!

Have a wonderful Fourth of July!


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