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100 years ago in Spokane: Sheriff proposes work farm for inmates

The Spokane County sheriff proposed buying a 100-acre farm and using it as a “general work place for prisoners.”

“The plan contemplates the rounding up of every bum, drunk, and vagrant throughout the county and city and placing them on the farm for productive work,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle said. “Also, all petty offenders of any kind, held in the two jails, would be placed at work on the farm.”

The idea was to reduce the cost of the city and county jails. In the summer, the prisoners would work the fields, and in the winter, they would cut logs.

The sheriff said it would “rid the county of all vagrants which infest the small vicinities during the summer months, living off the country but paying nothing back.”

The county commissioners planned to take up the proposition with the City Council.

From the war beat: The Altman family of Spokane was “furnishing its share of America’s army.” Three Altman brothers, Theodore, John and Peter – had already enlisted and a fourth, George, planned to do so soon.

The headline over their pictures declared, “Three Brothers Rally to Colors.”

Theodore and John would never return.

From the pacifist beat: Not everyone in Spokane was willing to serve. A pastor of the Dunkard church in Spokane said, “we must decline when asked to join the army and commit murder.”

“Our attitude is entirely opposed to war,” the pastor said.


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