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100 years ago in Liberty Lake: First Chinese resident in Spokane County drafted for World War I

Frank Den was the first Chinese man in Spokane County to be drafted into the army, The Spokesman-Review reported on Feb. 3, 1918. The newspaper also reported that four young women had been assaulted in Spokane in the last month. Also, Whitworth College’s new president, Dr. B. Scott Bates, had arrived in the city. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Frank Den was the first Chinese man in Spokane County to be drafted into the army, The Spokesman-Review reported on Feb. 3, 1918. The newspaper also reported that four young women had been assaulted in Spokane in the last month. Also, Whitworth College’s new president, Dr. B. Scott Bates, had arrived in the city. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Frank Den was the first Chinese man in Spokane County to be drafted into the army.

Den, a cook from Liberty Lake, argued for a deferred exemption because he was supporting a wife and parents in China. His exemption was denied. He took the physical exam and was declared physically fit.

The Spokane draft board also dealt with a number of other immigrants, with varying results. Two Greek citizens appeared before the board. One said he would not be willing to enter the U.S. Army, but agreed to return to Greece and enter the Greek army. The other said he would not fight in either the U.S. or Greek armies. He was classified as a resident alien.

From the police beat: Four young women had been assaulted in Spokane in the last month, and police believed the same unknown man was responsible for all of the crimes.

They all followed the same pattern: A young woman was followed as she left an “owl car” (late night streetcar) and was attacked as soon as she reached a dark spot.

In the most recent case, a young woman was grabbed from behind at about Eighth Avenue and McClellan Street.

The man forced a gag into her mouth and dragged her into some bushes. The woman fought the man and suffered many scratches and bruises. She was still suffering from shock but doctors said she was out of danger.


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