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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: ‘Rags to Riches’ story shows on stage, prompts fundraiser with child star

On this day 100 years ago, child star Wesley Barry arrived in Spokane to perform his play, “Rags to Riches,” which prompted a holiday fundraiser from the Big Sisters organization.  (S-R archive)
On this day 100 years ago, child star Wesley Barry arrived in Spokane to perform his play, “Rags to Riches,” which prompted a holiday fundraiser from the Big Sisters organization. (S-R archive)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane Daily Chronicle asked the following questions on its front page: “‘Gee! If I wuz a millionaire!’ Is there an American boy who has not said that? Lives there a mother who has not looked upon her son and believed that some day he would be great?”

This passage was prompted by the upcoming visit of child star Wesley Barry in his play, “Rags to Riches,” which told of a poor lad who rose to fame and riches.

The Big Sisters organization was sponsoring a special matinee at the Auditorium Theater as a fundraiser, in order to raise money and accept donations for families in distress.

“In humble homes there are fragile mothers who must battle the cold and the hunger, not alone for themselves, but for their little children whose piteous cries are like knife wounds,” said the Chronicle. “… Everywhere in this splendid city are those whose hearts are big, whose impulses are generous, who would give until it hurts, but they know not where to give. And today a way was opened to help the Big Sisters.”

From the trial beat: The sensational Maurice Codd perjury trial continued, with the testimony of the police officer who was on the scene when Codd and Frank Brinton got into their fatal fight.

The defense tried to get the officer to admit that he later told people that he could have prevented the death if he had arrived three minutes earlier. This might throw some doubt about whether the officer witnessed Brinton’s fall. But the officer denied he had ever said it.

He said he was standing “14 feet from Brinton when Codd threw Brinton over the railing.”

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