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Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Otis Orchards: Sheriff called to put down Wobbly riot

The Spokane County sheriff was urgently summoned to put down a “riot” by members of Industrial Workers of the World who were laying pipe for the Otis Orchards irrigation district, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on May 24, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The Spokane County sheriff was urgently summoned to put down a “riot” by members of Industrial Workers of the World who were laying pipe for the Otis Orchards irrigation district, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on May 24, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Spokane County sheriff was urgently summoned to put down a “riot” by members of Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies) who were laying pipe for the Otis Orchards irrigation district.

The trouble began when a “flunkey” in the cook house was fired for allegedly destroying food. More than 100 laborers, all Wobblies, then demanded that the contractor reinstate the flunkey and fire all non-Wobblies.

The contractor refused. The laborers went on strike.

According to the Spokane Daily Chronicle, some of the strikers returned to the job site and destroyed $30,000 worth of piping. They also threatened the management with bodily harm.

All work on the project was suspended. The sheriff was preparing a special force to deal with the situation.

From the scouting file: A troop of 15 Boy Scouts from Ephrata, Washington, arrived in Spokane on foot after hiking 120 miles from their hometown.

The boys had been tramping for five days and “looked hard as nails.”

They were hauling 400 pounds of provisions – food, cooking utensils and bedding – in a wagon that they were pulling by hand.

Their ultimate destination was Opportunity, where they planned to visit scoutmaster Floyd C. Schlauch.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

2016: Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump each won primaries in Washington state.

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