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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Row over cow lands local woman in jail

A Spokane woman fired several shots at a constable who had come to inspect what was reported to be a case of bovine larceny. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A Spokane woman fired several shots at a constable who had come to inspect what was reported to be a case of bovine larceny. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Mary Americus, the wife of a Hillyard attorney, was in big legal trouble over a cow.

Constable Lee Atkinson showed up at her home to retrieve what he apparently suspected was a stolen cow. She drew a revolver and fired three shots at the constable – apparently missing with all three.

However, she was hauled into court on assault charges. In her preliminary hearing, she said that the constable did not produce any legal papers and was trespassing on her property. She also claimed that the constable had fired two shots at her.

The judge delivered a statement expressing some sympathy for her argument, but he did not think that she was “within her legal rights” by assaulting the constable with a revolver.

“It if had been one of her children, it might be different,” said the judge. “But it was only a cow.”

The judge bound her over for trial.

From the war bond beat: Valentine Reynolds, the proprietor of the Orpheum Cigar Store at Riverside Avenue and Bernard Street, persistently refused to buy Liberty bonds (war bonds) and was hauled before U.S. Marshal James McGovern to explain himself.

He said he was a loyal, native-born American, but he refused to contribute to the war effort in any way.

“We have no reason for being in it, and it is only the capitalists that forced the war on us,” he told the marshal.

When asked about the German kaiser, he said, “I would rather have the kaiser ruling in Canada than the British.”

The marshal dismissed Reynolds after questioning him.

“There ought to be a way to deprive that man of his citizenship,” said the marshal. “I have never seen anything like him. There is no use of arguing with him, but he will find this place uncomfortable for him before he gets through.”

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