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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A 14-year-old runaway named Oliver Mathews was held two weeks in the juvenile detention room of the Spokane County Courthouse – until he ran away.

The boy had been roughhousing and received some “kicks and cuffs” from some older boys, so the matron brought him into the kitchen for a rest.

“He sat perfectly quiet, gazing with a look of longing at the big world beyond, until the matron left the room,” said the paper. Then he “wriggled his short, plump little body through the uncovered window.”

The matron returned in time to see him fading in the distance, in a “cloud of dust far down Broadway.”

Police were on the lookout for a short, stocky boy with blue eyes, a fair complexion and “an exceptionally large head,” dressed in short trousers with suspenders.

From the booze beat: Spokane Police Chief John T. Sullivan kept finding “drunken men on the street” on Sunday mornings, and he finally figured out why. Even though saloons were supposed to be closed on Sundays, the porters (janitors) cleaning the saloons were actually selling booze out the back doors. The chief vowed to crack down.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1975: President Gerald R. Ford escaped an attempt on his life by Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a disciple of Charles Manson, in Sacramento, Calif.

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