MAY 6, 2010

World War I and World War II uniforms deck the handsome display case that features a WWI bugler named Frank Alteneder and his story. He served in the 91st Division Army. The cabinet also displays two types of boot covers known as “puttees.” One of them is made of stiff leather (lower right corner), and the other is a canvas lace-up model.


The rifle case in the Clearwater Historical Museum features a shotgun (2nd from left), made by Frank Benda – a Pierce City blacksmith. The gun was made in 1863 with a 41” barrel and handmade yew-wood stock.


The powder horn (bottom left) belonged to the King family for 102 years. It belonged to George King’s great-grandfather and dates back to the Revolutionary War. The one above it belonged to George King. The date of 1810 is carved into its side, and it was used in the Civil War.

This stereoscopic picture shows WWI Doughboys practicing bayoneting in training. The caption reads: “The boys will learn how to give the Huns a taste of American Steel.”

WWII ration stamps, kept in a leather wallet, were issued to the Snider family of Kootenai County as well as other families in America.  The stamps controlled disbursement of such items as meat, sugar, butter, and gasoline. These stamps were brightly colored and depicted pictures of military planes, ships, tanks and the Statue of Liberty torch.

Orofino, a history to tell (Part VI)

By Alannah Allbrett

   “Now we leave for the trenches,” said 22 year old Harold E. Kinne, fighting in WWI in Toul, France.  “One lone brigade to join another brigade. It is raining and icy. We are the first of the Americans. I am one of the first 5,000 men to hold a sector of American line, one of the first 2,500 to go into the front line. Our company has a position where it cannot hope for reinforcements. It is a rifle pit where we fight to the last. What is in store? Let it come” he wrote home.

   Kinne’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. W. B. Kinne of Orofino, received the devastating news that their son was killed in action July 19, 1918. They had just received a letter from him in June saying that he was engaged in the great struggle, but that he was in good health. He was beloved by his hometown of Orofino, and VFW Post 3296 was named in his honor.

   Harold was a natural leader and a member of the debating team at the University of California. Oddly, one of the first men he met in France turned out to be a man who had opposed him in an intercollegiate debate in California.

   Young Kinne was one of many young men who left Orofino to serve in foreign wars. The Orofino Tribune of 1918 (combined with the Clearwater Republican to form what is today the Clearwater Tribune) often printed letters from American soldiers faraway from their homes.

    In the same issue, it was reported that before local recruits left for the battlefield, the men were given a picnic in their honor and entertained at the Rex picture show in the evening. “Nearly the whole town and a lot of country folk turned out to accompany the boys to the depot to give them a farewell handshake and extend good wishes.” The news stated that in 1917, “438 men registered [for the service]; 30 enlisted. The board entrained 108, and 50 enlisted who had not registered, making a total of 188 men from the county.”

   The Clearwater Historical Museum shows, as well as tells, the story of local boys who gave their all in wars not of their own making. On view in the museum is a powder horn that belonged to the George King family for 102 years. It belonged to George King’s great-grandfather and dates back to the Revolutionary War. Another powder horn was carried by George in the Civil War. The date of 1810 is carved into the side it.

   A bullet mold belonging to Charlie Adams, a well known Nez Perce man, is on display. He traded a horse to acquire it. Uniforms, photos, flags, bullets, large shell casings, a bayonet, and a bugle tell the story of the young men who were lucky enough to return to Orofino.

   One picture, in particular, caught my attention – more for the caption under it than the photo itself. It said, “The boys will learn how to give the Huns a taste of American Steel.”  The picture is a stereoscopic photo with side-by-side images of WWI Doughboys practicing with bayonets.

   The rifle display at the museum includes a shotgun, one of 13 made by Frank Benda, a Pierce City blacksmith. The gun was made in 1863 with a yew wood stock, and a 41” barrel. The stock appears to be handmade. Another weapon, known as a “Trapdoor” was distributed to settlers by General Howard. In 1863, the guns became obsolete, so they were not returned at the close of fighting. There is also a rusty, cap and ball six shooter, and an unusual four-barreled hand gun among the collection.

   Another interesting item was a leather wallet containing WWII War Ration Stamps for rationed goods such as gas fuel, and foodstuffs. The wallet belonged to Harrie A. and Jill Snider and family members Emily, Ruth, and Lynn Thomas of Kootenai County. The still brightly colored stamps have pictures of military tanks, destroyers, planes, and the Statue of Liberty torch, and are dated from May of 1942 through October 3, 1944.

   Included in the informative collection are Certificates of Award for Meritorious Service, and various Western Union telegrams. One set of telegrams shows posting orders for Dr. James Monroe Fairly. In August, 1918, he was assigned to Deming, NM. By November 21st of that year he was ordered to return to Orofino to help out with the “influenza epidemic that is raging here.” An estimated 50 to 100 million people died of influenza between the years of 1918 to 1920, making it the deadliest natural disaster in human history.

   Another medical doctor (serving in WWII), was Bernice Pullen’s father, Myrick Pullen, Jr. He met and married Julia McCole in Baltimore, MD where he studied at Johns Hopkins Hospital and she had worked as a secretary in the Fisk Building. The couple married in 1942, shortly before he shipped out for the Pacific Theatre where he is credited for having made eight landings on the beaches. Being a doctor, he did not carry a gun into battle.

   The Clearwater Tribune hopes you have enjoyed this special series featuring the Clearwater Historical Museum. I wish to extend my special thanks to Bernice Pullen, the museum’s director, for rearranging displays to get just the right shot, knowledgably answering all my questions, removing glass from the displays to eliminate the glare, fetching a stool for me to climb upon, scanning documents, emailing photos, and for letting me sit in her barber chair.

   I hope you all get the chance to meet her when you visit the museum.