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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Two little girls run away by streetcar, train and buggy

From our archives, 100 years ago

Evelyn Mack, 10, and Margaret Shaw, 9, were not the typical runaways. These were two fiercely determined little runaways.

Their adventure began on a Friday afternoon when they told their parents they were going to the post office. Instead, they showed up at the Northern Pacific Depot and told the conductor that they wanted to go to Seattle. He turned them over to the YWCA matron at the station, who took them in hand and started walking them home.

Then, a block from home, they gave her the slip. They broke free, started running, and disappeared.

They remained missing all night. The next morning, a Hillyard woman called police and said she had taken two little girls in for the night after they had begged for food at a neighbor’s house. The next morning at 10 a.m., she put them on the streetcar bound for downtown Spokane. Yet they never reached home.

By this time, police were searching all over the city. Both mothers were “under the care of physicians and on the verge of nervous breakdowns.”

As it turned out, Evelyn and Margaret had stayed on that streetcar only long enough to “get out of their benefactor’s sight.” At the first stop, they jumped off. Then they apparently stole a horse and wagon in Hillyard and drove it north for miles. No one was yet certain how they pulled off that feat. What is certain is that later that afternoon, the two little girls asked a farmer near Chattaroy if he would help them put the bridle back on their horse. He fed them a meal and contacted the sheriff.

A deputy arrived and put an end to Evelyn and Margaret’s big adventure. They suffered nothing worse than a sunburn and a lecture and promised never to run away again.

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