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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Disappearance of yet another wife of murder-bigamist investigated

The wife in question married the suspect in Vancouver in 1918, but disappeared shortly afterward. (SR archives)
The wife in question married the suspect in Vancouver in 1918, but disappeared shortly afterward. (SR archives)

Authorities in Canada were investigating the disappearance of another of James P. “Bluebeard” Watson’s many wives, Agnes Wilson of Edmonton, Alberta.

She married him in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1918, but disappeared shortly afterward. Her sister received a typewritten letter supposedly from her in spring of 1919 – but it was written by the murderer himself.

Watson had apparently confessed to this murder, but provided scant details. Wilson moved to Seattle with him, but he was gone for long periods, maintaining other wives in Edmonton, Seattle and California.

From the movie beat: The Casino Theater in Spokane was packed for the first showing of “Fool’s Gold,” the only feature film produced by the bankrupt Washington Motion Picture Corp. at its studios in the Minnehaha area of Spokane.

The Spokesman-Review’s reviewer was impressed, saying that the story “works itself into a smashing climax and … the fight scene’s as good as any in the famous Rex Beach pictures.” The Spokane River’s falls are pictured “in a blaze of sunshine” and the Minnehaha and Peaceful Valley settings are “picturesque.”

Many of the people who crowded into the Casino Theater were “drawn by local pride or curiosity,” but as the film went on, their “curiosity changed to enthusiasm.”

This may not have been sufficient, however, to assuage the disappointment of the many Spokane investors in the defunct studio. The dream of Spokane as Hollywood North failed to materialize.

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