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100 years ago in Spokane: Super-rich woman announces surprise marriage

Sara E. Wilbur, formerly Smith – the largest individual stockholder in the Hecla Mining Co. – announced her surprise marriage, The Spokesman-Review reported on Sept. 3, 1916. The newspaper also reported that famed Seattle aviator Terah T. Maroney was performing daily at the Spokane Interstate Fair and that one show each day would feature a woman, Tiny Glen, jumping from the “aeroplane with a parachute.” (The Spokesman-Review)
Sara E. Wilbur, formerly Smith – the largest individual stockholder in the Hecla Mining Co. – announced her surprise marriage, The Spokesman-Review reported on Sept. 3, 1916. The newspaper also reported that famed Seattle aviator Terah T. Maroney was performing daily at the Spokane Interstate Fair and that one show each day would feature a woman, Tiny Glen, jumping from the “aeroplane with a parachute.” (The Spokesman-Review)

From our archives, 100 years ago

The surprise marriage of Sara E. Smith to Ralston Wilbur was front-page news in Spokane.

Why? Mainly because the new Mrs. Wilbur was rich beyond imagining. She was the largest individual stockholder in the Hecla Mining Co. Her income from the mine was at least $30,000 a month. Wilbur wasn’t too bad off either. He was a well-known Spokane mining and mechanical engineer and a partner in the Hallidie Machinery Co.

Their courtship was described as “brief and romantic.” She said that “we have known each other but a short time, so I presume that news of our marriage will be a surprise to all our friends.” She called the wedding itself “quite unpremeditated on my part.”

“It was my intention to leave for Chicago as soon as the railroad situation was settled, with the object of closing up my business affairs there and returning to Spokane to get married and make my home here,” she said. “Mr. Wilbur would not consent to this program and insisted, since he could not get away from his business, that we be married today. I really did not have anything to say about it. He just rushed me over to courthouse and secured a license. The wedding followed in such quick order that the hotel people did not even know that we have been married.”

She was the widow of James R. Smith, Hecla president until his death.

From the strike beat: The four railroad union “brotherhoods” called off their planned strike after the U.S. Senate passed an eight-hour-day bill.

Some senators argued that Congress was being “coerced,” but their efforts to water down the bill were futile.


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