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100 years ago in Spokane: Five inmates escape state asylum; city celebrates beloved suffragist

From our archives, 100 years ago

Five “insane criminals” made a bloody escape from the state asylum at Medical Lake and two of them − a murderer and burglar − remained at large.

The five “maniacs,” as the Spokane Daily Chronicle called them, carried out a plan to escape while most of their attendants except two were at breakfast. They “dashed pepper into the eyes” of the two attendants and snatched their keys. They locked a trusty into a closet with a padlock. When another attendant heard the commotion and came running, they bludgeoned him with a club and badly injured him.

They fled and the alarm was immediately sounded. Two of them did not make it off the grounds. One was caught hiding in the basement of the women’s ward and another in the nearby trees. A third was caught near Clear Lake.

However, a manhunt continued for the other two inmates.

From the funeral beat: Hundreds gathered from all over the Northwest for the funeral of one of Spokane’s most famous and revered residents, May Arkwright Hutton. She died on Oct. 6, 1915. She was a leading suffragist, philanthropist, author, humanitarian and social activist.

In an emotional eulogy, Dr. Francis Burgette Short of the First Methodist Episcopal Church said that May Arkwright Hutton would live on “in her splendid work,” in her tireless advocacy for “peace on earth,” and in the lives of many young people she assisted, many of whom “are unconscious of their good Samaritan’s name.”


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