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Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Back off, boy apple thieves and potential banners of fireworks

A woman identified only as “Mrs. Swehla” slept outside in her North Side apple orchard, with a blanket, a pillow and a loaded revolver, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported. She vowed that the boys who had been raiding her apples were going to get a bad surprise. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
A woman identified only as “Mrs. Swehla” slept outside in her North Side apple orchard, with a blanket, a pillow and a loaded revolver, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported. She vowed that the boys who had been raiding her apples were going to get a bad surprise. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

A woman identified only as “Mrs. Swehla” slept outside in her North Side apple orchard, with a blanket, a pillow and a loaded revolver, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported. She vowed that the boys who had been raiding her apples were going to get a bad surprise.

“These boys have been robbing our trees for some time, and now that the apples are ripening, they’re going after them stronger,” she said. “… I am protected by the law and I have a gun, and the first one that I catch in my trees I’m going to shoot. And I’ll brain ’em sure!”

She said she recently saw a “gang of them” stroll past her house and look at the trees. When they saw her, they went across the street and filched a neighbor’s apples.

One of her neighbors was preparing a different kind of surprise. She was putting a “chemical preparation” on her apples. “It won’t kill them,” she said. “But, oh, it’s going to make them awful sick.”

The police chief vowed “extra bluecoats for the beat.”

From the fireworks beat: The Spokane fire chief and the local insurance companies were backing an ordinance banning firecrackers – but the editors of the Spokane Daily Chronicle were outraged.

They accused the insurance “trusts” of going after “Spokane’s little boys.”

“Were you ever a small boy?” the editors asked. “Did you ever shoot a firecracker? … If you did, did you think you should have been punished by a fine … or by imprisonment?”

The editorial said the law would “absolutely” forbid “any enjoyment of the most trivial fireworks.”

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