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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The divorce trial of M.C. King, a pioneer Spokane lawyer, and his wife revealed plenty of provocative details about the family’s bizarre domestic life.

The children, testifying on behalf of the mother, said that King had a habit of delaying breakfast by reading passages of Scripture “in a sarcastic tone” and declaring that he was “a martyr, like Abe Lincoln.” Most of the passages were about disobedient children.

“He would also scream at the top of his voice until he could be heard all over the neighborhood, call mama a fat hog, and say her family was made up of murderers,” said the “pretty” grown daughter, Alice, 18, a telephone operator.

Mrs. King also accused him of beating her until she was black and blue.

“I never beat Mrs. King,” said King. “I never laid a hand on her except to caress her. It was a habit of hers to put her arms around me. … Mrs. King and I have been affectionate all our lives. She was very rugged, and I believe when I married her she was larger than now.

“She looked as large as Mrs. Daniel over there (pointing to another witness). She was loving and our caressing may have made her black and blue.”