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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Three more inmates ditched the city’s rockpile, but the guard had a sense of humor about it

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

The new city rockpile was intended as a hard-labor punishment. But for the prisoners, it was proving an easy place to flee.

Three prisoners walked off the rockpile, flagged down a passing jitney (private bus) and sped off to freedom. Guard “Tiny” Stafford was unable to pursue them because “it would allow the remainder of his gang to run.”

The last Stafford saw of them, they were “seen seated comfortably and headed toward the south.” The three men were all serving time for vagrancy.

Stafford seemed to have a sense of humor about the escapade.

“Guess the men decided to go south for the winter,” Stafford said. “If they kept up the pace at which they started, they ought to be where it is warm, now.”

This was at least the second escape from the rockpile, which was at Third Avenue and Sheridan Street.

From the railroad beat: Two coaches derailed on the Northern Pacific’s North Coast Limited train, injuring five passengers.

The accident occurred at Emery, which is 5 miles east of Connell. None of the injuries was life-threatening, but one man suffered a dislocated shoulder and scalp wounds and was treated at a Pasco hospital.

The cause of the accident was not known, but some of the passengers said they believed the train went too fast around a curve. The observation car was the first to leave the rails, and it pulled an adjacent Pullman car off the track.

Also on this day

(From the Associated Press)

1733: James Oglethorpe and some 120 English colonists arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, while en route to settle in present-day Georgia.

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