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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Wed., July 17, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane’s new “lazy husband law,” which would compel men to work if their wives and families were needy, was proving to be difficult to prosecute.

Take the case of Frank Bursh, the first husband accused under the lazy husband law. His wife had allegedly told charity workers that he was a worthless drunk. Yet now that Bursh was on trial, she recanted.

On the witness stand, Mrs. Bursh denied that her husband spent his earnings on drink, denied that he was lazy and denied that the family had been without food or clothing. She also denied saying any such thing to charity workers.

Bursh’s attorney also introduced evidence showing that the family had trunks full of clothes and “several pails full of food concealed about the shack” when charity officers made their investigation.

If Bursh were to be convicted under the new law, he would be compelled to work on county road projects and his earnings would be turned over to his wife.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1862: During the Civil War, Congress approved the Second Confiscation Act, which declared that all slaves taking refuge behind Union lines were to be set free.

1955: Disneyland had its opening day in Anaheim, Calif.

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