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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: A loyal bootlegger ‘king’ treated his jail friends to a Thanksgiving feast after getting out

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

Charlie Dale, “King of the Bootleggers,” was released from Spokane County Jail, but, when he hit the street, he did not forget his inmate friends on Thanksgiving.

His first act on getting out was to send “a gallon of oysters and a peck of cranberries” to the jail. The inmates feasted on oyster stew and cranberry sauce, along with the other traditional menu items provided by the jail.

“Charlie was always a good scout and he sure did not forget us,” said Tom Cuthbert, a jail trusty. “We miss him, but then we are glad he ‘made the street’ in time for Thanksgiving.”

A prisoner of British extraction, “Lord Algernon” Wilson, delivered this tribute: “Really ’strordinary that Chawles should remember us bally blighters in his first moments of freedom.”

A Spokane Daily Chronicle reporter was invited to share in the feast, and he took the opportunity to ask the prisoners what they were thankful for.

“I’m glad I was sentenced Tuesday, before the judge could say, ‘30 days on the rock pile,’ ” said Charlie Johnson, convicted of drunkenness. “… Making little ones out of big ones ain’t in my line at all.”

Nellie Burette had no trouble at all deciding what she was most thankful for – getting out.

“I’m leaving this morning early,” she said. “… And I’ll tell you right now I’m not going back. Not that they didn’t treat me all right, but there are lots more pleasant places.”

Also on this day

(From the Associated Press)

1963: Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, in a scene captured on live television.

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