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100 years ago on the Inland Northwest: Bitter cold forces dangerous travel conditions

From our archives,

100 years ago

The region was experiencing a bitter cold wave, and several travelers told of harrowing experiences in their attempts to arrive in Spokane for the federal court session.

Peter Marshaw of Kettle Falls was forced to cross the Columbia River in a rowboat, since all the ferries were frozen solid in bankside ice. Toward the far bank, he had to disembark from the boat and climb onto ice. He fell through the ice, struggled to shore, and had to walk a mile in wet clothes before he could dry out and warm himself at a fire. C.E. Andres and Henry Covington of Keller also had to cross the Columbia in a small boat. They managed to reach the far bank but then had to drive 25 miles through snow drifts to reach the train at Wilbur. The drive took eight hours.

From the court beat: Julius La Course used what might be called the politeness offense in a federal bootlegging trial. He said he was walking down the road to the Colville Reservation and had finished a bottle of whiskey before reaching the reservation. He said some people were following him “whom he took to be ladies,” and he felt “some compunction about throwing away the empty bottle in their sight.” So he carried it across onto the reservation.

The “ladies” were actually special officers of the federal government, who arrested him for “introducing liquor onto the reservation.” He was found guilty.


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