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Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Washington: Chronicle calls for end to corporal punishment; man presumed dead returns

The editors were commenting, implicitly, on a recent case in which a Spokane principal whipped a boy hard enough to cause welts and bruises. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
The editors were commenting, implicitly, on a recent case in which a Spokane principal whipped a boy hard enough to cause welts and bruises. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

A Spokane Daily Chronicle editorial said the “days of the rod and cat o’ nine tails” are a matter of history, and “let them stay in history.”

The editors were commenting, implicitly, on a recent case in which a Spokane principal whipped a boy hard enough to cause welts and bruises.

“For a teacher to lose his temper and ‘beat up’ a boy because he thinks the child an incorrigible, fails to effect a remedy, but on the contrary, creates a second and greater evil,” said the editors.

They said it “destroys the feeling of confidence in the minds of parents toward the school system.” A teacher who insists on using a form of punishment from “the middle ages” should resign or be removed, said the editors.

From the missing persons beat: The wife and four children of E.W. Lyen of Ellensburg had mourned him for three months, following his disappearance on a canoe trip on Lake Washington near Leschi Park. Other boaters heard a crash and a cry in the dark, and then found Lyen’s overturned canoe.

Searchers scoured the lake for several days, but failed to find a body. Eventually, Lyen’s death was accepted as fact.

So imagine the family’s surprise when Lyen suddenly returned home to Ellensburg three months later.

Lyen claimed that he had, in fact, been tossed out of his canoe. However, while swimming to shore, he came up with a plan. His family life had been unhappy, so he decided this would be a good opportunity to “disappear for a few months” and leave the impression that he had drowned.

He swam to shore, quietly went to Bellingham, and spent the next three months visiting various cities around the Northwest.

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