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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web:

FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 2012

From our archives, 100 years ago

The farm town of Thornton, Wash., south of Rosalia, was in an uproar over the arrest of three young men, ages 17 to 20, for eating peanuts and generally failing to be sufficiently pious during a church revival meeting.

They were among 22 young men and women who apparently caused a “disturbance” during the meeting by “eating peanuts, throwing the shells on the floor, laughing” and writing in the hymn books. The Rev. J.W. Miller of the town’s Methodist Church indignantly swore out the complaint.

Nobody denied that “much noise was made,” and one citizen called the arrests “a needed lesson to the young people of Thornton.” But the uproar was about whether the three arrested were unfairly singled out of the larger group of 22. The parents of the three arrested men were boiling mad, because they said their boys “were no more guilty” than anyone else in the large, loud group.

They said that it all stemmed from bad feelings and jealousy between the Methodist church and the other Protestant church in town. The rowdy crowd included members of both churches, but only the non-Methodists were arrested.

The case caused more excitement in Thornton “than anything since the big fire that destroyed the town more than a year ago.”

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