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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in North Idaho: A notorious bigamist made a Bonners Ferry woman his latest wife, then absconded

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

Dr. R.L. Gentry arrived in Sandpoint in the spring and promptly wooed Miss Mildred Jarvis of Bonners Ferry. They were married in Sandpoint at the Idaho Hotel.

The only problem was: She was the third woman he had recently married, and he had not “taken the trouble to free himself from either of his two wives.”

He was being held in San Bernardino, California, on charges including bigamy.

The other two wives were from Calgary, Alberta, and St. Paul, Minnesota. One of them showed up in San Bernardino “awaiting his release from the county jail.”

His wedded bliss with Miss Jarvis had not lasted long. The couple went from Sandpoint to Spokane for their honeymoon, and “five days later the bride was taken ill and returned to Bonners Ferry.” He parted with her on the pretext of looking for a home where they could settle down. He was then sighted in Missoula, Bozeman, Billings and Glendive, Montana.

“Then he dropped out of sight,” a Sandpoint correspondent wrote.

He reemerged in San Bernardino, where he was charged with a massive bank fraud scheme “extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast.”

From the weather beat: A severe electrical storm swept through the region, causing one death and “many miraculous escapes.”

A Newport, Washington, businessman was in a rowboat with his family on Diamond Lake when winds up to 45 mph caused the boat to capsize. The father drowned, but heroic efforts by nearby Boy Scouts rescued the rest of the family.

Similar scenes played out on many other lakes. At first, blowing dust caused boaters to lose their sense of direction, and then the winds kicked up dangerous waves.

The storm was perilous even on land. Hundreds of motorists were stranded on the sides of area highways.

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