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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A recaptured fugitive told a harrowing story of his adventures in the Cascade Range.

John B. Curtis had jumped from a moving train as he was being escorted to trial in Ellensburg. He was a telegraph operator accused of stealing and cashing the checks of railroad laborers.

Here’s the story he told reporters:

“When the train was mounting the hill, I asked the sheriff if I might get a drink. We were in a berth together and he unshackled my ankles, leaving the irons on my legs. I walked to the end of the car in my night dress, lifted the vestibule trap and dropped off into the night.

“It was bitterly cold and in my scant attire, I suffered considerably. My feet were bare and the irons on my ankle hindered my progress considerably. …

“I hobbled as far as Lester, where I climbed in a box car and slept. Hoboes in the car told me how they had been searched and questioned by officers.”

He made his way to Portland, but was finally captured in Seattle.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1914: World War I began as Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. … 1943: President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the end of coffee rationing, which had limited people to 1 pound of coffee every five weeks since it began in November 1942.

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