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Keith Norman: Lindbergh barred from Jamestown

The Jamestown Sun, N.D. — Keith Norman The Jamestown Sun, N.D.

May 23-- May 23--Officials in the community of Jamestown turned down a visit from Charles Lindbergh back in 1918.

To be clear, this was Charles Lindbergh the politician and father of the famous aviator also named Charles Lindbergh.

The senior Lindbergh had served as a United States congressman from Minnesota from 1907 to 1917 as a Republican. His political views were progressive and he supported Theodore Roosevelt's third-party campaign in 1912.

Lindbergh was also an isolationist and a strong anti-war advocate within the party. He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1916 and sought the Republican nomination for governor of Minnesota in 1918 with an endorsement from the Minnesota Farmers Nonpartisan League.

The politician Lindbergh had written a book titled "Your Country at War" that took a strong stance against the American participation in what is now known as World War I. During the Great War it was considered by some as inappropriate and didn't gain a lot of popularity after the conflict.

Lindbergh lost the Republican primary for governor in June 1918. Later that month, the North Dakota Nonpartisan League wanted Lindbergh as a speaker at a convention in Jamestown.

That did not go over big with at least some of the citizens of Jamestown.

The Nonpartisan League approached the Jamestown Council of Defense for permission to use the National Guard Armory as a site for the meeting.

The Council of Defense had authority over the armory because Company H, the unit based in Jamestown, of the North Dakota National Guard was serving in Europe at the time.

Members of the Council of Defense was quoted in The Jamestown Alert as saying they "they did not care to be responsible for any difficulty that might arise on account of such a meeting."

The Nonpartisan League approached other facilities in Jamestown but were told that none would rent to them if Lindbergh were a speaker.

And the mayor of Jamestown decreed that arrests would be made if there were any meetings held in the streets.

In the end, the Nonpartisan League held a meeting in Jamestown without Lindbergh. Reports were that it went off without violence or disputes.

Even if Lindbergh were allowed to speak in Jamestown there is no guarantee the aviator Lindbergh would have accompanied his father. The pilot would have been about 16 years old at the time and hadn't become a pilot at that point in his life although it is noted in the histories of the Lindbergh campaign that Lucky Lindy did serve as his father's personal driver from time to time.

Maybe he would have paid a visit to Jamestown a decade before he flew across the Atlantic Ocean.

Author Keith Norman can be reached at


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