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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Western Washington: Spokane socialists tarred and feathered

 (Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)

It was clearly dangerous to be a recruiter for the Nonpartisan League.

Two of the socialist organization’s state leaders, from Spokane, were tarred and feathered during a recruiting trip to Lewis County on the west side of the state.

The Nonpartisan League (spelled Nonpartizan in the article) was dedicated to state control of the agricultural industry, but was widely seen as pacifist and anti-war during World War I.

So when Alfred Knutson of Spokane went out to recruit farmers, Lewis County citizens grabbed him, tarred and feathered him and escorted him out of the county.

They also put his associate, Roy W. Edwards in his auto and ordered him to leave the county. He apparently promised to quit the league.

But then he was found signing up farmers near Toledo, Washington. A group of citizens went out and confronted him again and demanded that he prove the league was not “pro-German.” Edwards failed to prove that to their satisfaction, so they tarred and feathered him, put him back in his auto and ordered him out of town.