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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sat., June 22, 2013, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

The “desperado” J.H. Ethel, who died after a gunbattle near Oroville, wrote a note that he threw out the window of his home just before shooting himself.

It read:

“Dear Sweet Wife: Sorry I have to leave you. I will not stand between you and saving you. I was not here to bless a good wife. May you live in peace when I am gone. Garland is there to help you. He is a good boy. I have seen you all, so fare you well; I will never flinch at death. I know I can’t get away. Some one put up this job. It will break someone’s heart when I lie cold in death. God demands my body and soul. They have a right to it when I’m dead; it’s poison to them while I am living. I can’t write much more, so God take care of you, my loving wife and son. I love you.”

Ethel wrote the note on his detachable linen collar and attached it to a hammer before hurling it out the window.

Ethel was wanted for burning and dynamiting a sawmill and threatening the life of the sawmill owner, Ethel’s former business partner.

Ethel was arrested for that crime, but fled to British Columbia. The gunbattle occurred when Okanogan County deputies learned he was back in his home near the town of Molson.

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