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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Expert testimony on the phony South Hill oil sample put the defendants in a bad spot

 (S-R archives )
(S-R archives )

The head of the chemistry department at Washington State College in Pullman testified he made an independent test of the oil from the basement of the Alfred L’Ecuyer home and came up with the same conclusion as the U.S. Bureau of Mines.

He said it was a mix of kerosene and “fatty” oil, meaning vegetable or cooking oil.

This seemed to lend credence to the charge that L’Ecuyer and his wife had “salted” the well with fake oil in an attempt to defraud stockholders in their new oil company.

More potentially damaging testimony came from a local grocer, who said he sold the couple 20 gallons of Mazola oil and 101 gallons of kerosene. Mrs. L’Ecuyer had earlier testified she had purchased kerosene strictly as fuel for a heater and the cookstove.

However, the defense had yet to make its own case. The L’Ecuyers’ attorney said the evidence against his clients was weak to nonexistent and that he was planning to ask for dismissal. The hearing was to be continued after a weekend recess.

From the transit beat: A shoe salesman said his daily commute on a jitney (private bus) was so dangerous, he took out a $10,500 accident insurance policy.

“Even with the accident policy I did not feel at ease, as the crowded conditions became unbearable,” the man said.

He eventually decided to just hoof it from Lidgerwood to Corbin Park every day.

Also on this day

(From the Associated Press)

1787: New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

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