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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Eastern Washington: Lincoln County sheriff details bribes by bootleggers

Lincoln County Sheriff F.B. Rennie told reporters on this day 100 years ago he had rejected a $10,000 offer by rumrunners to allow liquor to be smuggled into the Inland Northwest on this day 100 years ago.  (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

The Lincoln County sheriff offered the following response to reports that bootleggers were offering him bribes: “It is commonly reported that I have been offered $50,000 to lay off the bootleggers operating south through Ferry County into Spokane, but that is not true. I was offered only $10,000.”

Sheriff F. B. Rennie rejected that offer and said his office had been doing its best to stop the liquor smuggling traffic, and for proof he showed a reporter a huge cache of whiskey, seized from rumrunners. That whiskey alone was worth more than $10,000.

The sheriff emphasized that it was not easy to catch the bootleggers driving down through Ferry County. He had limited information about the movements of bootleggers through that “lawless” county, and even when he suspected a carload was on the way, it required hours of waiting and a high-speed chase.

He admitted that “we are not getting one percent of those who come through.”

From the strike beat: Hillyard’s railroad shop strikers were using a clever method to circumvent a federal injunction banning picketers at the shops.

They had enlisted 17 women, most of them wives of strikers, to picket at the Great Northern shop gates. The women had been “approaching new employees” – read, nonunion replacements – as they entered and exited the gates.

Great Northern executives claimed that this violated the injunction, which applied not only to union members, but “any person” interfering with their employees.

The U.S. marshal and U.S. district attorney went to Hillyard to observe the female picketers but had not yet announced what action, if any, they would take.