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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

Mon., May 24, 2010

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From our archives, 100 years ago

Swiftwater Bill, a famous gold prospector, indignantly denied that he was hiding from his obligations to support the two sons he had by his second wife.

“That’s a big joke about my being a fugitive, son,” Swiftwater Bill told a Spokane reporter outside of his First Avenue hotel. “The day the warrant was issued, Sheriff Pugh sat nearly all afternoon watching me play pinochle over at Donnelly’s cigar stand.”

Swiftwater Bill made a fortune prospecting in the Klondike. Earlier in the week, his second wife’s mother swore out a warrant against him, saying he had disappeared in order to avoid paying support.

Bill laughed at the notion that he had disappeared. In fact, he said he took wife No. 4 promenading on Riverside Avenue the day before. He did say he was being quieter about his whereabouts, so that people would quit bothering him.

“I get as many as 50 letters a day from cranks and miners, asking me to back their pet propositions,” said Bill.

Swiftwater Bill’s real name? Bill Gates.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1844: Samuel F.B. Morse transmitted the message, “What hath God wrought” from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opened America’s first telegraph line. … 1935: The first major league baseball game to be played at night took place at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field as the Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1.

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