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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Second wife, Lucie, was a fitting match for Wallace, Idaho, founder for awhile

UPDATED: Mon., July 10, 2017

Now that Col. William Ross Wallace has gotten his due again as the founder of Wallace, his second wife (of three), Lucie, deserves her own 15 minutes of postmortem fame.

Without Lucie, according to local researcher Tony Bamonte in his new book, “Historic Wallace, Idaho, and My Unforeseen Ties,” Wallace might have been named something else.

The town was originally called Placer Center. But the U.S. Postal Service considered the name too long. So, Lucie, the first postmistress, renamed the town Wallace, over her husband’s objections. He thought there were too many towns named Wallace already.

Lucie was more than the right person in the right place when it came to naming rights. She was the only woman to winter in Placer Center in 1885 when her husband was founding the town. Also, according to Bamonte’s book, she was said to be the inspiration for a famed character, “Ma Pettengill,” in a Saturday Evening Post series, “Ruggles of Red Gap.” The tale of a British valet who winds up in a wild Western town was made into a best-selling novel in 1915 and later a play and a movie, starring Charles Laughton.

When William Wallace decided he didn’t want to live with Lucie anymore, she filed for divorce. The divorce was granted July 26, 1890. The town burned down the following day. Poetic justice?

Forgive me

Eden Irgens of Coeur d’Alene is a better person than the Angry Bird who parked behind her at Riverstone to see Coeur d’Alene’s Fourth of July fireworks a mile away. Seems Eden accidentally left the lights on in her new car, prompting the rager to call her an “idiot” several times. She didn’t hear him do so. But her 7-year-old son who had popped his head out of the sun roof did. So did her niece. Eden was embarrassed when she discovered that her lights were on, so much so that she wrote an open Facebook note to the rager: “I am so sorry for wrecking your 4th of July. Get in touch with me, and I will buy you your beverage of choice.” Sounds like the rager is the one who should be buying.

What earthquake?

Poet’s Corner: Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal/ are quite extinct, though famous;/ but still breeding most prodigiously/ is Homo Ignoramus – “The Bard of Sherman Avenue: Poems by Tom Wobker” (“Survival of the Fittest”) … Mike Kennedy of Coeur d’Alene was unimpressed by last week’s earthquake that he slept through: “I’ve had meals at Taco Bell that rattled me more than that” … After the quake, Paula Marano of Coeur d’Alene Facebooked: “Aging causes bodyquakes” … Spokesman Review Opinion Editor Gary Crooks deadpanned on Facebook: “Didn’t feel it. Didn’t happen. #fakenews” – Poll: 78 percent of my Huckleberries blog readers said they didn’t feel the quake … Bumpersnicker (spotted by Christa Hazel of Coeur d’Alene at Coeur d’Alene Costco Wednesday): “Tell a Californian that Idaho sucks.” Hey, nothing else seems to be working.

Parting shot

First, the drunk who tried to walk through the self-checkout stand at Post Falls Walmart lied that he had paid for his beer. Then, when he couldn’t produce a receipt, he said he’d paid cash. He kept to that story until police called to the scene asked where his wallet was. Finally, he admitted he’d shoplifted the beer when police asked to see the change from the transaction. Ultimately, the thief left angrily after he was removed from the store. The punishment could have been worse. A Post Falls PD Facebook chronicler observed: “Somehow his pants didn’t catch fire.”

You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at (509) 319-0534 or

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