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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

Mon., April 12, 2010

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From our archives, 100 years ago

Two Seattle city clerks were caught having a wild spree on city payroll money – and then they tried to blame it all on a pair of Spokane women.

The men stole a $67.50 paycheck, cashed it, and treated two visiting Spokane women to a night of “wine suppers, automobile rides and theater parties.” They were arrested snuggled up in a box at Seattle’s Orpheum Theater.

“I dislike to blame a woman for my trouble, but I believe that I will be compelled to,” said one of the men. “However, I will not tell their names if I go to jail for life. They come from respectable families of Spokane and I must protect them.”

He said he also “blamed my downfall to the absinthe I have been drinking too much.”

A saloon riot: Meanwhile, Spokane police had to wade into the Balkan Saloon, 224 Bernard, to quell a riot between rival gangs of “Austrians and Italians,” who had just arrived to work on the railroads. A dispute over drink prices resulted in a stiletto-swinging brawl.

“Austrians,” in the parlance of the day, meant anybody from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, including Hungarians, Serbians, Croatians and many others.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1861: The American Civil War began as Confederate forces bombarded Fort Sumter in South Carolina. … 1961: Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space.

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