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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Eastern Washington: The latest in a string of bank robberies left a cashier with no memory of the incident

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

The region’s spate of bank robberies continued with a particularly dangerous incident at the First National Bank of Chewelah, Washington.

Cashier A.H. Morse was alone in the bank when he was suddenly struck from behind with an ink well and rendered unconscious.

Muriel Bailey, assistant cashier, returned from the post office to find Morse on the floor and a large amount of cash taken from a drawer on the counter.

When Morse regained consciousness, he could give police no information about the robber or robbers. He never saw anyone and could give “no coherent account” about what happened. They hoped he could give more information when he recovered sufficiently. A nearby merchant reported that “two roughly dressed men” were loitering nearby right before the robbery, but besides that, police had few clues.

From the bootlegging beat: Charles Dale, “King of the Bootleggers,” insisted that he was no “stool pigeon” – despite having testified against Louis Lilge in a recent bootlegging case.

He said he was “compelled” to testify because one of the jailers saw Lilge, the former caretaker of the Corbin mansion who escaped arson charges after it burned, talking to Dale. Dale would have lost his trusty privileges if he had not testified. He was subpoenaed.

Lilge approached Dale in jail while awaiting trial. Lilge told him all about his bootlegging operation and asked Dale to tell Lilge’s associates “to keep their mouths shut.”

“If Lilge and his associates are not smart enough to have their stories ‘framed up’ before they get into jail, it is not my fault if they were caught violating jail rules,” Dale said.

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