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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The divorce trial of Spokane millionaire Volney Williamson dominated the front pages for the third straight week, and the story was beginning to take on a “Downton Abbey” character.

That’s because the Williamsons’ house servants, chauffeurs and hotel attendants were called to testify.

One cook said she once peeked through a door and saw Mrs. Williamson holding hands with another man.

Another servant testified that two men visited Mrs. Williamson until 4 a.m. one night when Mr. Williamson was not home. The servant said she heard “sounds of revelry in the pantry” and found empty beer and whiskey bottles there the next morning.

Meanwhile, a masseuse at the Paso Robles Hotel in California testified that Mrs. Williamson paid particular attention to a young man from Victoria while on a vacation there, and on one occasion “danced about 10 of 14 dances” with the young man.

The masseuse said she warned Mrs. Williamson that the “old hens” were gossiping about her. But Mrs. Williamson said that she was tired of acting “middle-aged” and that the young man was closer to her own age than her husband.

She told the masseuse that sometimes she “just felt like romping” and she felt that “she could let loose and have a good time down here.”

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