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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Looking for ‘chicken house’ murderer, officers instead find moonshine

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 18, 2020

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Officers investigating the “chicken house” murder near Cheney raided a nearby shack outside Medical Lake and arrested “two Scandinavians.”

“We are guilty!” they shouted, as officers broke down the door. “Don’t shoot!”

They were not, however, pleading guilty to murder. They were pleading guilty to operating a liquor still. Police confiscated a still, 10 gallons of moonshine and some mash. Officers also confiscated an auto and compared the tire tread to the tracks they had found leading from the murder scene.

The tracks, as it turned out, “were utterly different.” The two men said they were utterly ignorant of the murder. There was nothing to connect them with the crime, although the prosecutor was questioning them further.

The victim in the chicken house murder was still unidentified. His body had been found by a teenager who saw, to her horror, a hand sticking out from a pile of old newspapers.

From the labor beat: Strikes were proliferating during the postwar era, and Spokane had its share. Spokane had 15 strikes in a nine-month period, according to the state labor commissioner.

Spokane was by no means the most strike-prone area of the state, however. Seattle had twice as many strikes in the same period.

The commissioner said “serious results were averted” in most of these strikes because of “good common sense.”

On this day

(From Associated Press)

1863: President Abraham Lincoln dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.

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