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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., Dec. 28, 2012

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane salesman Frank Shelberg saw a 6-year-old boy wandering alone through downtown Spokane. Shelberg asked the boy what he was doing, and he said he was “trying to find a place to send a telegram.”


Because he was trying to reach his mother, a cook in a lumber camp 16 miles out of Lakeview, Idaho.

Shelberg took the little boy to the telegraph office, where they were informed that they could send a message to Bayview, where it would be rowed across Lake Pend Oreille and then packed 16 miles into the mountains on a packhorse.

Shelberg paid the entire bill, including the price of the rowboat and packhorse trips. The little boy’s message was delivered later that day: “Grandpa died this morning. Come home at once.”

From the crime beat: Two 11-year-olds were engaged in a snowball fight outside of the Spokane Hotel. As they were scrabbling through the snow, they found a sparkling treasure: $600 worth of diamond pins.

The pins had been stolen a week earlier from a salesman’s room by a bellhop. When police closed in to arrest the bellhop, he had quickly tossed the diamonds out a bathroom window. 

The salesman gave each boy $25 as a reward.

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