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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in North Idaho: Blue Lake ranchers were arrested after reported shootings and a moonshine discovery

Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson were jailed on illegal alcohol charges on this day 100 years ago, but their neighbors near Priest River had reported bullets flying into their home as well.  (S-R archives)
Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson were jailed on illegal alcohol charges on this day 100 years ago, but their neighbors near Priest River had reported bullets flying into their home as well. (S-R archives)

Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson, ranchers at Blue Lake near Priest River, were in jail after bullets went flying around their neighbor’s place. The neighbor said he was working on his car when a bullet grazed his shoulder and damaged his car. The next day, one of the neighbor girls was in her room combing her hair when two bullets zipped through a window, one of them “burning her arm.”

The family contacted the sheriff and then ran outside and hid in the woods.

All of the bullets came from the direction of the Johnson’s place. There had been “bad feeling” between the two families for some time.

The sheriff came out to investigate. He didn’t find proof that the Johnsons did the shooting, but he did find a still, a quantity of mash and two pints of moonshine. He arrested both Johnsons and took them to jail in Sandpoint.

From the Scandinavian beat: More than 500 members of the region’s Swedish and Norwegian communities gathered for a traditional midsummer celebration at Medical Lake.

“Folk dancers, all in costume, created a pretty sight as they presented the native Scandinavian dances around the flower-decorated May pole in the center,” the paper reported.

Other traditional games and sports contributed to a day of “happiness and mirth.”

From the accident beat: Four young people ventured out onto a log boom in the Pend Oreille River at Newport to take some pictures with a Kodak.

The logs suddenly turned, throwing two of them into the water. The other two jumped in and tried to rescue them. Spectators at a nearby ballgame ran to the scene but only one, a 17-year-old girl, was pulled to safety. The others disappeared and crews were searching for their bodies.

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