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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Chinese girls were being sold in the U.S. for $800 as “domestic slaves,” according to testimony in a Spokane courtroom.

An expert witness from San Francisco testified that she herself had been sold as a domestic slave but was “rescued by women in San Francisco.” She then worked in a mission in that city, helping other girls avoid that fate.

She was testifying in the case of a 13-year-old Chinese girl who was believed to have been purchased by a Chinese merchant in Spokane. The girl said she was abducted in China when she was 8 years old and sold to merchants in China and then in Spokane.

The Spokane merchant’s defense was that she was his own daughter.

From the health beat: A Spokane woman whose face broke out in spots told the city health officer not to worry – it was all due to beans.

“Whenever I eat beans, my face breaks out in this way, and I know this is the cause of my trouble,” insisted the woman.

The health officer was doubtful. He ordered her quarantined in her house. The next day, the case developed into “one of unmistakable smallpox.” He said he finally convinced her that she had smallpox when her two children came down with it, too.

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