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Friday, August 14, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 Years Ago in Spokane: Police investigate woman with bullet in her head

UPDATED: Wed., July 29, 2020

The investigation continued after police found a recent life insurance policy and will.  (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
The investigation continued after police found a recent life insurance policy and will. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Gertrude Brewer, 31, was in Sacred Heart Hospital with a bullet to the head after an apparent accident involving a rifle.

Her husband told police that he and his wife were in the midst of moving to a new apartment and were packing up a trunk. He said that she saw the rifle and said, “Here is the gun. What should we do with it?”

He replied, “Just put it in the trunk, it will be all right there.”

So she reached down to place the gun in the trunk and the trigger caught on something, and the rifle discharged.

Her husband was distraught over the incident, and police said the evidence so far indicated an accident. However, the investigation continued after police found a recent life insurance policy and will.

Doctors were not optimistic about her recovery.

From the Wobbly beat: The Spokane Daily Chronicle ran a front-page story announcing that the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, would hold their regional convention in Spokane in a little more than week.

The story said that about 60 to 70 Wobbly delegates, representing chapters throughout Eastern Washington, Idaho, western Montana and northeastern Oregon, were expected to attend.

Yet this story raised more questions than it answered. One sentence stated that federal authorities “will make no effort to prevent the delegates from gathering.” Yet this was followed by another sentence that said federal officials “plan to keep the proposed convention from being held here.”

The story also did not address the fact that a court injunction banned all Wobblies from Spokane and even made the wearing of Wobbly insignia a crime. This injunction had not been tested in higher courts, yet it remained in effect and numerous Wobblies had been arrested.

It is worth noting that the Spokane Daily Chronicle was routinely alarmist about the Wobblies. The last time the paper predicted a large gathering of Wobblies, for a Fourth of July parade, it turned out to be mostly a non-event.

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