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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Eastern Washington: The new Ferry County sheriff faced dire consequences for upholding of justice

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

A 1:30 a.m. blast rocked the home of Ferry County Sheriff Mike Moran in Republic, destroying an entire side of the house.

Fortunately, Moran, his wife and two children were asleep on the other side of the home. They escaped injury.

Later that day, Mat Botwick, his wife Mary Botwick and her son Alex Boiko were arrested on suspicion of dynamiting the home.

Their motive?

Mary Botwick had been arrested a week earlier by the sheriff on a charge of whiskey in possession. The Botwicks were allegedly moonshiners.

Sheriff Moran was widely considered “the enemy of the Ferry County bootleggers.” He had been named sheriff after the previous sheriff was arrested and convicted of conspiring with bootleggers.

This was the second shocking event to take place in Republic in the past two days. The first was the destruction by fire of an apartment house in which three men died. There was no known connection between the two events, but there was at least one coincidence.

One of the men who died in the fire, Helmar Holmes, was the husband of Mary (or May) Holmes, who had also been arrested and jailed by Moran a week earlier, for liquor violations. Because of her husband’s death, she was allowed to leave her prison cell in Spokane under escort by federal marshals and return to Republic for the funeral.