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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Readers were amused by “one of the most hotly contested divorce cases” in Spokane courtrooms, in which Olga McCoy was seeking a divorce from Dr. William M. McCoy, a Wenatchee surgeon who had moved recently to Spokane.

Olga was a student nurse in Chicago when she married the doctor. Yet before long, she said, he became a cruel and abusive drunk. He sometimes came home drunk and ejected her from their rooms and assaulted her. He once bought her a one-way ticket to Chicago and forbade her to come back.

He was often out late at night carousing, and she would have to call all over Wenatchee to find him. Once, she said she went outside in the snow, late at night, to peer into his bedroom window to see if he was home. He was there, but he was so drunk that he didn’t even know she was in her nightgown.

When asked about that on the stand, the doctor shouted, “I have not been so full (of liquor) since I was a student in college that I could not tell a woman in a nightgown.”

This reply “caused amusement” in the courtroom.

The doctor alleged that Olga was mean to him, too, although not exactly on the same scale. He said she forced him to go to card parties, even though he “scarcely knew one card from another.” He also said she “urged him to dance,” although he “weighed 215 pounds and has a stiff ankle.”