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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A sordid story of drunkenness and death unfolded during a Spokane coroner’s inquest.

A man named Jackson walked into the Cross Roads Saloon, already “pretty well stewed,” according to the Cross Roads owner, Bruce Hamrick.

“I was at the end of the bar, shaking dice with some friends,” said Hamrick. “Jackson had been in there three or four times before and was always stewed.”

Jackson tried to “butt in” to the dice game and asked for a drink. Both Hamrick and bartender testified that they refused to serve him, saying, “No drinks here.”

However, other witnesses said Jackson was served several drinks at the bar. He became so drunk that somebody sat him down in a chair, pulled his shoes and hat off, and placed them on the bar. 

Later, said witnesses, Hamrick went over to Jackson and poured at least one drink, and possibly two, straight down Jackson’s throat, while Jackson protested “feebly.” Hamrick allegedly said, “Have another drink, Jackson.”

Hamrick admitted giving him a drink, saying he thought he “needed a drink.”

Jackson was later found dead in the alley behind the saloon, and some witnesses said the body had been carried out into the alley. The coroner’s jury ruled the cause of death as acute alcoholism and found Hamrick guilty of giving liquor to an intoxicated person. The prosecutor was contemplating further charges against Hamrick.