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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

From our archives, 100 years ago

Ione, Wash., experienced what a reporter claimed was the town’s first-ever case of violence – and it was a doozy.

A wild brawl in a house of prostitution resulted in the death of the madam’s husband. The husband entered the house at midnight and found a crowd “playing the piano and dancing.” The man threatened his wife and said he would “clean up the crowd.” A fight broke out; the house’s young women locked themselves in their rooms.

Six men intervened on behalf of the wife and rushed at the husband. This “scrimmage” of men surged forward and fell down several steps into the kitchen. The husband hit his head on a wood stove and died of head and neck injuries.

Six men were held in connection with the death, but a subsequent coroner’s jury exonerated them. The jury said the men were acting in the wife’s defense.

This was clearly big news in Ione; the coroner’s hearing was attended by “about 250 male spectators.”

Also on this date

1963: The Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates. … 2000: Pope John Paul II began the first official visit by a Roman Catholic pontiff to Israel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.