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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Tue., July 1, 2014

From our archives, 100 years ago

James McKinnon, owner of a 100-acre ranch near Hartline, Washington, was shocked to read a story in The Spokesman-Review that said the body of James McKinnon, Hartline rancher, had been fished out of the Spokane River. The story went on to say that he had been buried in the Fairmount Cemetery.

McKinnon, who also owned a ranch in Alberta and had a substantial amount of money in the bank, was concerned that his estate would be doled out to his relatives, leaving him broke. So, to set the record straight, he immediately embarked for Spokane on foot from his remote Alberta ranch.

Unfortunately, winter had arrived. He set out in a blizzard and soon had severely frostbitten feet. He had to take refuge with some strangers for months until his feet had healed up enough to continue the trip.

Finally he was able to make it to Spokane, where he convinced his bank he was still alive. Then he went to the funeral home to “view the record of his death and burial.”

He found that one undertaker had not been convinced that the body was that of James McKinnon, despite a superficial similarity. But a second undertaker was certain of the identification, mainly because the corpse was wearing underwear monogrammed “J. McK.”

He finally convinced everyone of his continued existence. This raised another question. Whose body was buried under James McKinnon’s tombstone?


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