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Saturday, April 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Census takers find respondents reluctant to reveal age

One new bride was asked her husband’s birthplace, and she was completely stumped. (SR archives)
One new bride was asked her husband’s birthplace, and she was completely stumped. (SR archives)

Census takers fanned out across Spokane and were asking householders one particularly delicate question: How old are you?

“A few showed a faint mental struggle when the dreaded question was hurled at them, gasped and swallowed hard, but eventually revealed their secret,” said The Spokesman-Review.

Over in the Spokane County jail, taking the census had some entertaining moments. The census taker asked one prisoner his occupation and he said, “Lawyer and schoolteacher. Taught 10 years.”

But when the census taker handed him a card to fill out, he said, “Sorry, boss. Can’t do it. Can’t read or write.”

One new bride was asked her husband’s birthplace, and she was completely stumped.

“Why, you know, it has never before occurred to me to ask where he was born,” she said. “But then, of course, a bride has lots to learn.”

From the robbery beat: The paper ran a photo of Miss Mary Ransom, waitress, cashier and local heroine.

She was working at the Star Restaurant when a man stuck a gun in her ribs and demanded money. She grabbed the robber’s hand and forced the gun up in the air, until the other customers rushed to her aid and overpowered him.

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