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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The melodramatic murder trial of John M. McDowell, a local traveling salesman, continued to “grip a mammoth crowd of breathless spectators” in Coeur d’Alene.

He was charged with murdering his wife and making it look like a suicide. She was found on the floor of their cabin near Harrison, dead of a morphine overdose.

The spectators were particularly intrigued by a series of letters he had written to a Spokane woman named Lulu in the weeks before his wife’s death. Some excerpts:

• Oct. 4, 1910: “My darling Lulu, … I love you and always will. I did not go home with that woman (his wife) and never will. Lulu, we can marry legally in a short time, cheer up!”

• Oct. 18, 1910: “Lulu, I swear it before the living God you shall see me free, that you may live happy in my love and rest at night on my breast. Oh, Lulu, may God speed that day is my prayer.”

• Nov. 3, 1910: “I know there is good news for you in the future. I am thinking of you, dear, and how happy I will be when I can write you or come to you and tell you the news that will make us both happy for life.”

On Nov. 6, Mrs. McDowell was found dead.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1850: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” was first published.



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