The War Comes to the Valley

It is hard to imagine that battles being fought on another continet thousands of miles away in 1917 and 1918 could have affected a small mining town tucked away in the central mountains of Idaho. But the same pioneeringzeal and can-do spirit that brought settlers and miners to this valley early on was rekindled in the form of patriotism and a willingness to do their part in the effort of World War I. Calls to arms and for support from mnational, state and county governments were met with an enthusiasm unbelievable for an area so diverse and spread out. Most area quotas for money or manpowderwere generally ezceeded. Basically unprepared for war, much was asked of citizens from every corner of the nation, even right here in the Lost River Valley and surrounding areas.

Hundreds of local men, 19-31 years, proudly volunteered or answered their nation's 1st draft, food was rationed, war gardens were promoted, liberty bond drives, sales of savings stamps, and red cross drives raised money. To further the war effort, the country and Mackay went on day light saving's time and laws were enforced against any "slackers" cought not working. "Go to work or jail" was the slogan of the time. At the same time the young men from the afarms and ranches wre boarfing Mackay's daily train to go off to war, those left behind were asked to produce even more.

The following verse, recorded in the Mackay Miner of March 1918, exemplifies the pride, patriotism and devotion of one such Valley settler and his daughter, after his only son had gone off to war.

"His Girl in Overalls"

Well yes, the kid enlisted; We expected that, you know;
When he heard the call to colors, Of course he'd want to go;
An' we're proud an' glad an' sorry, For the lad's our pride an' joy,
An' his mother, well you know MOthers, An' he was our only boy.
An' I, ---well, there's no denyin'-- I depended on the lad,
For he's always been a sight of help an' comfort to his Dad.
But I never fully realized how much I'd miss the little scamp,
Till I started for the barn alone, The morn he left for camp.
I was feelin' pretty lonesome an' Somehow my eyes were dim,
When I saw someone a - sandin' there I really thought was Jim.
But before I's time to speculate, My little daughter calls;
"Say Dad, how do you like My bran'new overalls?"
She had the team all harnessed an' Had hitched them to the plow,
"I've tried to do it Dad",she said, "Just like Jamie showed me how.
I'm not needed in the house, you know, For Mother, she has Sue,
An' so I'm goin' to do my bit, Out in the fields with you.
We've got to send our boys to war An' feed the people too,
An' it's up to Uncle Samuel's girls to show what they can do."
Then she climbed up on the tractor An' drove away on that----
My little firl in overalls, An' Jamies old straw hat.
An' you'd be surprised to see things that gal can do,
An' how she works with might and main to help me put things through;
An' I guess we needn't worry much, When Uncle Samuel calls,
He can trust his boys in khaki An' his girl in overalls.


 

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