Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in central Washington: An angry mob tried for vigilante justice after the Bongiorni rampage

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

An apparent lynching was thwarted in Ephrata, Washington, after about six men tried to break into the Grant County jail, where confessed murderer Paul Staren was being held.

The watchman heard someone at the door and window of the jail, but scared them off. The men then drove to the home of Deputy Sheriff Jack McCheyne, woke him up and demanded that he take them to the jail to “see” Staren.

McCheyne refused. The men argued with him for a while, but eventually drove away.

McCheyne said the men were unmasked, but he did not recognize any of them. Authorities believed it was group of men from Wilson Creek, where August Bongiorni was shot and killed and Joe Bongiorni was seriously wounded.

Joe Bongiorni, who Staren said was the true target of his attack, was recovering from head and arm wounds at a Wenatchee hospital. Doctors were confident of a complete recovery.

From the booze beat: The Spokane dry squad raided a home in Hillyard and found a collection of children’s toys, piled on a rug.

They moved the toys and the rug, and found a trap door.

The trap door concealed a still, copper boiler, mash, barrels and about a gallon of finished moonshine.

The occupant of the home, a striking rail shop worker, was arrested and taken to jail.

Also on this day


1957: President Dwight D. Eisenhower orders troops to support integration of nine Black students at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.

More from this author