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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., Aug. 8, 2014

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Rev. James D. Crooks, 64, of Troy, Idaho, was arrested on murder charges in the death of his wife, Eliza L. Crooks, 64. Crooks told police he found his wife, a Spokane pioneer, dead in their bedroom. However, he subsequently told conflicting stories of how he found his wife, why her body was covered with bruises and why his face was covered with scratches.

The Latah County prosecutor said a subsequent investigation revealed evidence that Mrs. Crooks was “suffocated by having a cloth held over her face by her husband and that the scratches on his face were inflicted by her in her death struggles.”

Rev. Crooks was the pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church South in Troy. Mrs. Crooks’ body would be exhumed for an autopsy.

From the funeral beat: The body of Col. William Ridpath, proprietor of Spokane’s Ridpath Hotel, was scheduled to arrive by train in Spokane. Ridpath died a few days earlier in a Rochester, Minn., hospital after an unspecified illness. His will divided his considerable estate between his three children: Mrs. John D. Ankeny; Dr. Paul C. Ridpath, a practicing physician in Chicago; and Miss Nellie Ridpath, one of the many local residents who found themselves trapped in Europe at the beginning of the war.

She was thought to be studying in Berlin, but the family was still awaiting word of her whereabouts.

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