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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: ‘Erma’ Army tank is the star of the Memorial Day parade

Deputy Sheriff Clarence E. Long sits atop “Ermentrude,” a U.S. Army tank, in this May 25, 1920, photo from the Spokane Daily Chronicle. (S-R archives)
Deputy Sheriff Clarence E. Long sits atop “Ermentrude,” a U.S. Army tank, in this May 25, 1920, photo from the Spokane Daily Chronicle. (S-R archives)
Jim Kershner

“Ermentrude” was chosen to lead the Memorial Day parade in Spokane.

Ermentrude, or Erma for short, was a small Army tank, or as the Spokane Daily Chronicle called it, a “baby army tank.” She was also known as the “heroine of the Argonne,” because she had performed heroically in that battle.

Erma had been sent to Spokane after the war as a promotion for a recruiting drive.

The Chronicle ran a photo of the parade marshal, Deputy Sheriff Clarence E. Long, seated on Erma’s gun turret.

From the bootlegging beat: An inquest into the death of Ernest Emily (also rendered as Ernest Emil) of Wilbur was held in Keller after he was shot dead near the Keller smelter.

The alleged shooters? Federal Prohibition agents.

Emily and two companions had been under surveillance on suspicion of bootlegging when they were confronted by a posse of officers late at night. The three men were ordered to halt, “after which they were fired upon.”

One of the bullets struck Emily in the back of the head. One of the other men was captured, but the third escaped. Whisky was reportedly found in their car.

A number of federal officials from Spokane, including the U.S. attorney and the U.S. marshal, were in attendance at the inquest. The results of the inquest were not yet known.

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