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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Eastern Washington: A couple’s mysterious disappearance was solved but still left many questions

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

The mysterious disappearance of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Hicks, a Sprague, Washington, farm couple, was finally solved.

They were found to be living happily in Benton City, Washington.

“They got lonesome on the farm, and just pulled out and left everything,” said a Northern Pacific train agent who located them after a weeklong search.

Their Sprague neighbors were probably not so happy. The Hicks couple had asked them to milk their cows, take care of their chickens and do their chores for a day or two while they “motored to Spokane” for an alleged dental appointment. The neighbors had raised the alarm when the Hickses failed to return.

The Hickses had no intention of returning to the farm. The Spokane Daily Chronicle opined that “tending cows and chickens may have a poetic sound for a city-bred songwriter, but often becomes a monotonous drudge.”

Perhaps the neighbors at least acquired some free cows or chickens out of the deal.

From the landmark file: Old Fort Spokane, near the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia rivers, was destined for the wrecking ball.

The abandoned barracks and quarters at the fort were to be torn down, and the lumber and other material were to be salvaged.

“The old fort has outlived its usefulness and now is forced to bow before the march of progress,” the Chronicle reported.

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