Local news

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Stephen “Frenchy” Bonnett ended his “eccentric” and “quarrelsome” life at a Colville farm. Unfortunately, seconds before, he had also ended the life of his beautiful Italian wife.

The Bonnetts’ family life had been in turmoil for at least a year. He had relinquished his share of the farm to her a year before. Bonnett moved to Spokane, but he made threats that caused Mrs. Bonnett and their three children to live “in mortal fear” of his return.

Their fear was well-founded. Bonnett had previously stood trial for “killing a Scandinavian” in North Dakota and for stabbing the Colville city marshal. He was acquitted on both charges, but his reputation for violence was well-documented.

On the fatal day, Bonnett took the train to Colville and walked to the farm. Mrs. Bonnett was in town with the children and, when she heard he had returned, asked a friend to accompany her home. When they got to the farm, Bonnnett appeared at a doorway and started firing without warning. The friend was grazed by a bullet, but Mrs. Bonnett was shot through the heart. Seconds later, Bonnett turned the gun to his own temple and fired.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1940: Italy declared war on France and Britain; Canada declared war on Italy.



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