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Sunday, October 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago today in Spokane: Lightning storm kills three farmers

From the July 25, 1918 Spokesman-Review (S-R archives)
From the July 25, 1918 Spokesman-Review (S-R archives)

Three farmers were driving home in horse-drawn wagons about 6 miles from Ephrata when a thunderstorm swept overhead.

Suddenly, a lightning bolt – or several – split the air, hitting all three wagons.

Don Williamson was knocked from his wagon, got to his feet, walked a short distance, and fell down dead. J. Higgins and Alfred Powers died instantly. Their bodies were “burned and bruised.”

A fourth member of the party, a boy named Roy Billingsley, had jumped down from Powers’ wagon right before the storm and was walking alongside. He was thrown about 16 feet, but survived with minor burns.

The men had all been driving four-horse teams. One of the horses in the middle team was killed and another knocked down, but it and the rest of the horses survived.

From the draft beat: Spokane police rounded up 10 “idlers” and “slackers” – draft evaders – in a sweep through downtown.

Most of the targets were immigrants, including two Mexican laborers, a Greek and an Austrian.

From the crime beat: An angry Idaho wife went to a home at Belmont, Idaho, near Athol, around midnight.

There, she discovered her husband “in company” with the woman who lived there.

So the wife took out a .38 revolver and shot the woman.

The victim survived, but the wife was arrested for assault with intent to kill.

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