Havre Daily News - News you can use

Celebrating History: Prohibition, fire and comedy


December 27, 2019

By Emily Mayer

In the editorial section of the Hill County Democrat’s Dec. 18, 1919, edition, owner and editor J. K. Bramble expressed his opinions of an offer from the state to Lawrence K. Devlin to serve as the prohibition enforcer for the state of Montana.


Mr. L. K. Devlin of this city, has been offered the office of prohibition enforcer for Montana at a salary of $3,500.00 a year, but we seriously doubt if he will accept this position. Mr. Devlin is too big a man for this office. We think the administration shows ingratitude in even offering it to him. Mr. Devlin has worked hard in the interests of his party in all elections, is deserving great credit for much of the party’s success in Hill county. We have worked with him and know how indefatigable his industry is and what he has done to make the party succeed at the polls. He is tireless in his work, gives careful consideration to details and never knows defeat for the ticket for which he works. He is clean in his methods, appeals to the highest element in man in his canvass and he has a personality that carries conviction.

The administration owes him an office worthy of the man. It is a political debt which should be paid.

But further: Mr. Devlin is a man of the highest standing and is known throughout Montana as an exemplary citizen, of the highest integrity and his ability to fill any office, appointive or elective, is unquestioned. We feel that he has been wronged in even offering him such an office as that of prohibition enforcer. The office he is entitled to is that of collector of internal revenue. He can fill this office with fidelity, ability and success.

Mr. Devlin is a business man, is perfect in detail work, possesses application, energy, capacity for work, and can earn much more than the salary connected with that office.

North Montana, irrespective of politics, wants to see Mr. Devlin in that office. He will honor the office, the party and the administration by the efficient manner in which he can fill it. We hope Senator Walks and Senator Myers and Mr. Roper will see this matter in its true light as all the citizens of Montana do and place Mr. Devlin where he belongs in the office of collector of internal revenue for the State of Montana.

The Mr. Roper mentioned isn’t Stanley Roper of “Three’s Company” fame. Rather, it was Clyde Roper, a local businessman and husband of Eglantine Roper, who was quite the mover and shaker herself in business circles. Their Northern Auto garage, located on the southwest corner of First Street and Fifth Avenue, would gain notoriety in the slaying of Jack Hardin nearly a year later.

Eglantine Roper was a lawyer in Havre, and she, too, was busy with her profession, as found in the Dec. 25, 1919 Democrat:

Eglantine L. Roper has filed a foreclosure suit against Melvin Mathews and others. J. E. Coffey is attorney for plaintiff.

The fear of fire was always present, and the cry hit the Hingham area hard. This article was printed in the Dec. 25, 1919, Democrat edition:


The terrible cry “The hospital is afire!” aroused the town, about 12:30 Tuesday morning with anxious haste concerning the safety of its many patients.

On arriving on the scene we found the basement and the kitchen of the sanitarium a roaring furnace and to our great relief learned that the patients had been moved a few days before into Dr. Storkan’s residence because of interior construction work being done in the sanitarium. For safety sake, the patients were speedily removed with all possible care into nearby homes and beyond a fire scare they were none the worse.

The hard work accomplished by the bucket brigade in connection with the neighborhood wells and a very favorable breeze, saved the doctor’s residence and garage from the wrath of flames.

The insurance is very light when considering the total loss of everything that was in the building too. The origin of the fire has been placed to an overheated furnace.

The Hingham sanitarium was up-to-date and modern in all of its facilities. It was the pride of our town and a credit to the high line. The loss of this institution is severely felt by us all.

Under Dr. Storkan’s efficient management this institution, in spite of the hard years, was popular and flourishing.

We are authorized, at this time, to state that a movement is on foot to replace this loss with a substantial concrete building as soon as possible.

The children of Havre, however, were in the Christmas spirit, with an upcoming program at the Hotel Havre.


One of the most unique programs was performed at the Hotel Havre on Christmas eve under the auspices of Cooley Carruth, who had the supervision over several children, known as her sister Jean, Janet Mohan, Helen Hirshberg, Jimmie Mathews, Elenor Mathews, Catherine Mathews, Delours Moyer, Geraldine Bishel. The program consisted of American songs and other high class comedy and beyond any doubt it was certainly enjoyed by all of the people of Havre who were present without any compensation. It is unnecessary to say that those who did not have the pleasure of listening to this high class comedy that they missed something that they will always regret. After the entertainment, F. A. Carnal made a few closing remarks complimenting all of the participants in the high class program, while the older guests enjoyed the comedy.

Cooley and Jean Carruth were the daughters of Edwin Cooley Carruth and Ethel Dewar Carruth. Among E. C.’s business ventures was the rebuilding of the Hotel Havre after the Great Fire of 1904, and eventually becoming sole owner, selling in 1930.


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