I ran across another example of that sentiment in a couple of issues of the Idaho Statesman from November 1917.
C.G. Goetling, who ran a farm near Eagle, was surprised to see a crowd of men approaching him one November day. They were upset about his hay derrick. Goetling sensed some danger, but he tried joking with them about it. They didn’t like the colors he had used to paint the derrick. The pole was red and white with a strip of black tar on one end. Those were the colors of the German flag. Since Goetling was of German descent, the men confronting him did not think it an accident.
Goetling told them that he had painted the derrick with paint he happened to have on hand about seven years earlier. The ruffians demanded that he paint it red, white, and blue in honor of the American flag. They had brought along paint for that purpose. With sufficient prodding, he did as they asked. It still wasn’t enough for them.
The men produced an American flag, placed it on the ground, and demanded Goetling kneel and kiss it.
“Boys, this is asking too much,” Goetling said. “I kneel only to my Gott.” Someone in the crowd murmured, “And the Kaiser.”
As the paper reported, “He refused stubbornly until one of the party, a husky lad of considerable weight and conviction approached him with the command: ‘Get down on your knees and kiss that flag, before we get tough with you.’”
Goetling saw there was no way out, so he knelt and buried his face in the folds of the flag.
The crowd still wasn’t done with him. They accused him of donating $1,000 to Germany for the war effort and demanded he agree to donate $50 to the YMCA. After getting his agreement to that, they left the farmer alone.
Two days later, Goetling appeared in the offices of the Statesman to defend himself. He told a reporter that the paint on the derrick was old, that he had not donated any money to Germany, and that his son was serving in the army. The Statesman checked that last part of the story and found it to be true.
Goetling told the paper he had come to the U.S. in 1880 and was a naturalized citizen, having lived in Idaho for 12 years. His wife, born in Canada, said, “Charges of this kind are hard to bear when we have done what we could. My husband gave apples for the soldiers, and I have helped with Red Cross work. The red, white, and black paint on the derrick was put there seven years ago, and the black was not paint but a stripe of tar put on to protect the wood.”
Nothing more of the incident was reported. I could find only two more mentions of the Goetlings in the paper. A couple of weeks after the incident, Mrs. Goetling went home to Canada, whether for a visit or for good, was not stated. Then, in August of 1918, the Goetling house burned to the ground, with nothing left to be salvaged. No cause of the fire was given.