July 2, 2014 in City

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

By The Spokesman-Review

From our archives, 100 years ago

Bonners Ferry rancher John Rhodes was awoken at 3 a.m. by someone trying to open his ranch house door.

Rhodes, 51, scared the man away. When dawn broke, he saw the man’s tracks through his potato patch. Rhodes went out to investigate, and a man jumped up, pulled a gun on him and told Rhodes to put up his hands and face the wall. Rhodes refused and jumped into the house. The man shot through the door, hitting Rhodes in the stomach.

Rhodes went out another door and circled around. He “got the drop” on the intruder and shot him dead. Rhodes immediately went to fetch the sheriff. Authorities said they found a Luger automatic pistol in the corpse’s hand and a Colt revolver in his pocket.

They had not yet identified him, but they suspected he was the man who had shot and killed two bachelor prospectors near Hope.

This theory was strengthened by letters found on the intruder’s body.

One, to a sister, included this passage: “What I have done from the time I left the crazy house until now I don’t half remember. I can recall some darn funny stunts before I got there, and some darn funny deals after I left there. I suppose I got every crime under the sun charged up to me.”

He also accused his father of driving him mad. He said his father “gets me crazy so I don’t know what I am doing until I find myself in the mountains with a couple of guns tied on me.”

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