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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Two robbers probably did not realize who they were holding up when they accosted Flora M. Bilkiss on a dark roadside near Garden Springs.

They soon found out. 

This was none other than Sister Bilkiss, Spokane’s most famous street missionary, and she was not to be intimidated, even after one of them stuck a gun in her face and demanded money.

“When I saw that gun it did not scare me a bit and I thought, ‘Here I have a chance to do some good work with men who need it,’ ” she said. “The men asked for money, but I told them I had none and offered them instead some candy, which they declined. I told them they were in a bad business and spoke of the grief that it would bring their mothers if they knew of their present conduct.”

Sister Bilkiss admitted that “at first, the men did not seem to care for good advice.”

They gruffly ordered her out of her buggy and used some “pretty strong language.” But Sister Bilkiss kept at them. She told them that instead of money, she would give them a room and something to eat.

“This seemed to please the men, and they softened and ceased their rough talk,” she said.

However, they were not entirely won over. They took $7 from the buggy driver and disappeared. They were still at large.

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