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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Thu., June 5, 2014

From our archives, 100 years ago

From the looks of The Spokesman-Review, Spokane remained transfixed by two divorce cases.

The millionaire Volney T. Williamson’s divorce case was the lead story on the front page and went on for thousands of words inside.

Williamson’s lawyers produced a number of love letters written by Mabel to her husband – written after she claimed he tried to kill her by shoving her into a lake.

One of the letters said, “Last night I dreamed you were sleeping with your head on my arm … . So, you see, you had better come and keep me warm.” An incredulous lawyer asked her on the stand, “Now, you wrote that letter to the man you thought had murder in his heart?”

The other case was the Dr. Wilbur H. Appleton divorce case. This prominent Spokane physician sued his actress wife, Adelaide, for divorce on a charge of habitual drunkenness. He said she once was so drunk she set his office on fire.

Adelaide herself took the stand to say that, of course, she sometimes drank “cocktails, sparkling burgundy and beer” but she never drank to intoxication.

The judge praised Mabel for telling the truth and mildly rebuked the doctor for allowing his mother to live in their home and disturb their domestic tranquility. He ruled in favor of Adelaide and refused to grant Dr. Appleton his divorce.

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