May 18, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

The Oregon Statesman reported local residents applying for U.S. citizenship:

MANY ASK FOR U.S. CITIZENSHIP
Fifty-one in county Since War Began Petition for Naturalization
Twenty-three Petitioners Are German – County clerk Says number Small Compared With 1913 – Judge Tells of Examinations

Since August 1, 1914, or the beginning of the european war, fifty-one persons, all men, in Marion County,have petitioned for citizenship of the United Sates. Twenty-three are of German nativity. The next largest number to come from one country is nine from Norway, then six from Austria-Hungary. Five of the petitioners are from England, while Denmark and Canada furnished two each. There was one each from Ireland, Russia, France and Greece. of the twenty-three German petitions thirteen filed their petitions for citizenship in April of this year.

According to County Clerk Max Gehlhar the number of those wishing to be naturalized since the beginning of the European conflict is comparatively light, being much less than the number applying in 1913 which was a heavy year in this regard.

In commenting on those who failed to pass the examinations held may 6, Judge Galloway said: “In nearly every case those who fail are equally desirable as citizens as those who are admitted, but the former have failed to acquaint themselves with the simplest knowledge of the working of American government. Frequently they have failed to read even the constitution of the United States or of the state of Oregon. To pass the examinations these two documents just have been read or at least understood through having heard them read. It would be much easier for all concerned,: he continued, “if applicants would come up for examination with a better preparation. In many cases they cannot understand the reason for the denial of the petition. Especially is this true of those who have lived in this country for many years.”

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About whclarc

We are devoted to providing information fresh from the Archives, Library and Collections of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. We specialize in the history of Marion County and the greater Salem area.
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