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Tuesday, September 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Rev. Lake baptizes believers in the river

Hundreds of people stood on the Washington Street bridge to watch a series of river baptisms performed by the Rev. John G. Lake.

One woman was lowered into the river in a chair, because she was suffering from spinal trouble and did not have use of her legs. Rev. Lake said she had come to him to be healed.

The church’s musical soloist, Estelle Lyons, was also baptized. Rev. Lake said that he had healed her from tuberculosis by prayer.

From the Wobbly beat: An attorney for the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) tried to persuade city officials to stop the wholesale arrest of Wobblies for the crime of wearing Wobbly buttons. The city’s commissioner of public safety had ordered the arrest of many men over the last several days, including seven the day before.

“The tyranny is on again!” declared a Wobbly handbill.

Attorney George L. Vanderveer went to Spokane City Hall to argue against the arrests, saying, essentially, that the new state law forbidding the display of Wobbly banners or buttons had not yet been tested in court. It should not be enforced until declared constitutional.

Commissioner of Public Safety J.H. Tilsley, however, argued that he was bound to enforce the law as written until it was ruled unconstitutional. That argument prevailed.

After the meeting, Tilsley announced, “I will arrest every man wearing an I.W.W. button or having in his possession any such insignia of that organization.”

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