WA Secretary of State Blogs

Steve’s last post…

Monday, June 15th, 2015 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Steve’s last post…

Although this article was found at random in the January 23, 1914 issue of The Mason County Journal, the story actually concerns a man from Spokane, and one of the great unsolved missing persons cases in Washington State history. The subject in question had a perfect name for a Pacific Northwest character– F. Lewis Clark:


Wealthy Spokane Man DisappearsSanta Barbara, Cal.–F. Lewis Clark, one of the wealthiest residents of Spokane, Wash., heavily interested in mines, flour mills, real estate and other enterprises, has been missing ever since he attended his wife to the train last week. His disappearance is proving a deep mystery.

 Friends and the police believe Mr. Clark either was murdered or committed suicide. In support of one of these presumptions, Mr. Clark’s hat was found on the ocean beach, a mile north of the Santa Barbara wharf.

 Mr. Clark, who had been in this vicinity for the past three months, coming from Spokane for the benefit of his health, was staying at a hotel.

 It is said that Mrs. Clark does not believe her husband is dead and will institute a vigorous search for him on the theory that he merely wandered away. When Mrs. Clark left Santa Barbara Friday night for Spokane she left her husband in his usual good spirits. Immediately thereafter he dismissed his chauffeur at the depot and he has not been seen since.

 It was learned that the domestic life of the Clarks has not been entirely tranquil. Mr. Clark has been a sufferer for many years from a physical ailment.

Maine-native Francis Lewis Clark was 52 years old at the time he vanished. Starting in the 1880s he had established himself as one of the industrial giants of Spokane. He owned the largest flour mill in the Northwest. He was an executive with a railroad company. He was a yachtsman who was one of the founders of the America Cup race. He was a millionaire with two mansions: his main home in Spokane (by architect Kirtland Cutter) and his “summer home” on Hayden Lake, Idaho (called “Honeysuckle Lodge“), the latter of which was considered the most expensive home in Idaho when it was built in 1910.

At the time Clark vanished he left behind a wife, Winifred, and a son, Teddy, who was attending Harvard.

F. Lewis Clark’s disappearance has never been explained. Naturally many felt he had drowned himself, but Mrs. Clark initially suggested he had anonymously checked himself into a sanitarium. His valet told the press Mr. Clark was really in no physical shape to go anywhere unassisted. He was 135 pounds and believed to have been suffering from cancer.

The police dynamited the channel in hopes the blasts would dislodge his body, but to no effect. Some suggested that Clark faked his death.

The case grew murkier as police received a note from a purported group called the “Blackmailers” demanding $75,000 ransom for Clark. The kidnapping angle quickly fizzled. And ultimately the disappearance of F. Lewis Clark became one of the great missing persons mysteries in Pacific Northwest history.

Mrs. Clark had to sell off the estate by 1922 and died in 1940 under much more financially modest conditions. Both of the Clark mansions survive today as relics of an era of opulence. Just when I wondered why no one has dramatized this unsolved case, I discovered Northwest author Jamie Ford has used this mystery as a springboard for his latest story, Wish You Were Here at the Bottom of a Well.

F. Lewis Clark’s name can be found in our online Pacific Northwest card file!

Spokane – Wide Open Town?

Monday, July 21st, 2014 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections | Comments Off on Spokane – Wide Open Town?

From the desk of Marlys Rudeen.

While looking through issues of the Newport Miner for 1907, I came across the following quote – “Poor old Spokane has had to bow to the inevitable, and beginning next Sunday the lid will be jammed down so hard that visitors will hardly recognize the town. Mayor Moore has issued an order calling for the closing of all saloons on Sunday and abolishing the notorious cribs and concert halls.” Jan. 9, 1908, p. 5

As I was born and raised in Spokane this seemed odd to me – I hadn’t noticed that it was particularly depraved (though since we moved when I was only 14 that may explain my not noticing.) Still, I wondered so I started looking through some early issues of the Spokane Press, Nov.-Dec. 1902, and started looking for the seedier side of Spokane. It turns out there was lots going on.

You can explore the Spokane Press for Nov. 1902-1910 at the Chronicling America web site Choose the Browse Issues link, select a year from the drop down box, and then choose an issue from the calendar display. I’ve listed some of the dates and pages below for some interesting tidbits.trader's bank

Nov. 10, 1902

p. 1 “Buncoed Out of Three Thousand” H. E. Gower, a recent arrival from Wisconsin was in town for business and at the train depot to return to Missoula. A man approaches him, saying that he’s from the same county in Wisconsin. He invites Gower to go with him to a friend’s place to see pictures of the Klondike. When they arrive the friend is absent, but there’s a card game in progress. Gower loans his new friend some money and then takes his place for a few hands when his friend has to go out for a bit. “They had all my money in about five minutes. I don’t know what the game was, except that it was cards.” (No mention is made of what they were drinking, but given that Gower couldn’t remember what game he had been playing or where he had been playing it, one has to wonder if a bottle was involved.)

Nov. 12, 1902

p. 4 “Charges His Friend With Embezzlement” Lyndon M. Hall files a complaint with the police to the effect that George O. Scraggs has swindled him out of $100. Mr. Hall wished to mail his certificate of deposit received as wages to his bank. He wrote the letter, endorsed the certificate and enclosed it. His friend, Scraggs, offered to drop it off at the Rathdrum post office for him. Instead, Mr. Scraggs boarded a train for Spokane in Rathdrum. “He landed there in the evening and going to ‘Doc’ Brown of the Owl, it is said, presented the endorsed certificate … when the arrest was made he was broke.” (The Owl is only one of the well-known saloons and gambling establishments in town, others are the Stockholm, the Coeur d’Alene, the Combination, and the O.K. The moral for both Mr. Gower and Mr. Hall seems to be that they should be a great deal less trusting.)

 Nov. 14, 1902

p. 1 In “Spokane Gamblers are Out of a Job,” several of the largest gaming houses are raided and all gambling equipment seized. But the houses had gotten word of the raids and “the results of the Sheriff’s haul were not the handsome roulette, faro and other tables… but what the doughty sheriff did capture was several wagon loads of old furniture, musty with long lying in secluded cellars where it had possibly awaited just such an occasion.” Prominent patrons of the establishments hold the opinion that it will all blow over and the games will be back in a month.

 p. 4 “War is being Waged on Buncoes.” Chief of Police Reddy asserts that his able constables and detectives are doing their best, but that “ a few high-collared gents, wearing good clothes, well-addressed, will land in town and before the police or detectives can locate them it is possible for the bunco man to hypnotize a victim and relieve him of his cash…”

 Nov. 18, 1902

p. 1 The formation of an “Anti-Vice Party” is announced in anticipation of the next municipal election. It will be “pledged to wage war on Spokane’s gambling houses and all resorts of vice.” Rev. George Wallace of Westminster Presbyterian Church rejects the claims that the gambling houses “are a source of revenue which yearly brings thousands of dollars into this city…”the owl

 Nov. 22, 1902

p. 1 “Saloon Men Willing to go to Jail in Defense of What They Believe to be Their Rights.” A controversy arises about the presence of slot machines in gambling houses. Evidently a law has been passed barring the use of “cash-paying slot machines” but not other forms of gaming or equipment. The saloon owners, especially the smaller ones have hired attorneys (the firm of Nuzum & Nuzum) and plan to make a stand. (A follow up article is in the Nov. 24, 1902 issue on p. 1.)

 p. 2 “Alma Arrested” is the first small article referring to the Stockholm Saloon and its cast of characters. Alma Green is arrested and charged with having drugged and robbed John Johnson. Johnson is also arrested for drunkenness, and now claims that his name is actually Charles Jameison.

p. 3 “The Wide-Open Town” The paper, in response to the new Anti-Vice party, has found two men, a pastor and the proprietor of the Owl, to write opposing columns, both for and against the “Proposed Movement for the Suppression of Vice.”

 Nov. 29, 1902

p. 1 “Stockholm Case Dismissed…” In the matter of Alma Green and Charles Jamieson, the judge throws the case out for insufficient evidence. Jamieson is still claiming he was drugged and robbed. He also asserts that the Stockholm’s owner Gust Pearson threatened him if he testified. The defense asserts that Jamieson was very drunk and spent all his money on whiskey.

 Dec. 3, 1902

p. 3 “Council – Has Warm Session over Stockholm License” The Chief of Police has lodged a complaint against the Stockholm saloon and variety theatre, and its owner, Gust Pearson. There is some conflict due to the fact that the complaint lists no direct evidence of the charge and is sent back to the police. Police Commissioner Lilienthal and the licensing committee advises the council to investigate.

 Dec. 8, 1902

p. 1 W. S. Green who had been a “special officer” at the Stockholm saloon, applied for an arrest warrant for – Police Commissioner Lilienthal! Charges are malfeasance of office and allowing open gambling operations in Spokane. (It seems odd that an officer who had worked in a saloon is all that disturbed about this issue.)

 Dec. 9, 1902

p. 1 Commissioner Lilienthal surrenders at the court house offers bond and is released to continue his duties. The corporation counsel make the argument that Lilienthal cannot be prosecuted under the cited statute since it concerns state and county officials and he is a municipal officer. Under “Bunco Man,” the arrest of “Swede Sam” is reported. Sam is charged with removing considerable money from a young man from Pendleton.

 Dec. 10, 1902

p. 1 The case against Commissioner Lilienthal is dismissed among a flurry of lawyers, objections and affidavits. In a related development – “May Arrest Kimball”- S. W. Green is securing an arrest warrant for Prosecuting Attorney Kimball, also on a charge of malfeasance of office. (He’s on a roll.)

“Lawyers Determined” The law firm of Nuzum & Nuzum representing the saloons in the slot machine case is determined to take the case to the superior court and to the supreme court if necessary.

p. 2 “Interprets His Duty” Mr. Green, he of the arrest warrants, attempted to explain his concept of duty. While he was a special officer at the Stockholm he was stationed there by the city but in the employ of and paid by the saloon. “He says his interpretation of his duty was that he was to protect the patrons and the house from crime and disorder and this he endeavored to do faithfully.”

 Dec. 12, 1902

p. 1 The city council will be hearing complaints against the Stockholm and its owner, Gust Pearson.

 Dec. 15, 1902

p. 1 “Wants Two Theatres Licenses Revoked” Fred D. Studley is charging that the Comique and the Coeur d’Alene theatres have violated their licenses by employing women in their saloons “to encourage immoral conduct, and gambling contrary to good morals.”

 Dec. 16, 1902

p. 1 Swede Sam is fined for “being found with implements with which to make loaded dice.” detective agency

Dec, 17, 1902

p. 1 The city council messes about with the charges against Gust Pearson, the Stockholm, the Comique and the Coeur d’Alene. Everything scheduled for next week. In the superior court a judge refuses to issue search warrants for five gambling houses as the initial complaints were made in the justice court rather than the superior court.

 Dec. 18, 1902

p. 3 “Stockholm Inquiry” The city council hears the case against the Stockholm. “Eric Linden and a man named Patterson said they had been robbed in the place. Captain Coverly testified on the reputation of the place, and Officer Miles described the ways of its habitues.” The case was continued.

p. 4 “Gambling among the Women of Spokane” describes the habits of the ladies in town, asserting that “Spokane has some of the gamiest women to be found anywhere.” (I don’t think that means the same thing anymore.)

 Dec. 20, 1902

p. 1 The city council takes on the Stockholm case once more and first several officers testified to the saloon’s unsavory reputation. Then they hear the defense – the bar’s ‘special officer’ and the night bartender testified that Charles Jamieson had spent all his money on booze and had not been robbed. Two of the establishment’s ladies testified that they were expected to obey rules of conduct. For instance there is a rule about not sitting in men’s laps. “Mr. Pearson doesn’t like it.”

 Dec. 22, 1902

p. 1 “Stockholm Resort Sells Soft Drinks” The city council has revoked the liquor license for the Stockholm. They continue to draw a crowd.

 Dec. 24, 1902

p. 1 “Lilienthal talks on the Theatre Cases” It seems the cases against the Comique and Coeur d’Alene have been dismissed. He notes that “The witnesses produced by the complainant were all employees of the Stockholm.”

 Dec, 25, 1902

p. 3 In “How Gamblers in Spokane Spent Merry Christmas Eve” a reporter comments on the crowds that spent the evening wandering from one resort to another “in an ever unsatisfied desire to find excitement.” In “Straight House” Gust Pearson asserts he will make more money without serving liquor than he did with it. “If patrons of the place insist on having liquor the only way for them to get it is to have it sent in from one of the neighboring saloons.” (An ingenious work-around!)

 The Spokane Press was digitized through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the National Digital Newspaper Program. The Press and many other American newspapers can be found online at Chronicling America at the Library of Congress.

Additional newspapers for Washington can be found at Historic Newspapers at the Washington State Library’s web site. The State Library is a Division of the Office of the Secretary of State.


Profiles of Washington Territorial Librarians – Thomas Taylor, 1862 & John Paul Judson 1864

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 Posted in Articles, For the Public, State Library Collections, WSL 160 | 2 Comments »


Thomas Taylor, 1862

From the Desks of the Central Library Staff

Although no oath of office record exists today, Taylor was apparently Librarian in 1862. The March 29, 1862 issue of the Washington Standard includes this Library Notice: “All persons having books belonging to the Territorial Library will please return at once, or the by-laws will be put in force. Thos. Taylor, Ter. Librarian.” He quite probably was the same aged Thomas Taylor who was born Oct. 17, 1793 (some sources say 1791) in Frederick County, Va. and came out to Oregon in the early 1850s from Morgan County, Illinois. In 1861 he served as a member of the House in the 9th Session. For a while he lived in the Grand Mound area and then in Elma. He was a long-time and active preacher, remaining in amazingly good health during his senior years. Taylor died in Elma, Wash., May 14, 1886.

John Paul Judson, 1864


John Paul Judson

Born May 6, 1840 in Cologne, Prussia, J.P. Judson’s family came to Illinois in 1845. In Oct. 1853 they made their way to Pierce County. According to Bancroft, “He earned the money in mining on the Fraser River with which he paid for two years’ schooling in Vancouver.” The young Judson was appointed Territorial Librarian while still a law student and literally lived in the Library “to have more ready access to the law books then at his command,” so wrote John Miller Murphy. He also worked as Chief Clerk in the House in 1864. For a brief time he was a school teacher until he earned his law degree in 1867 and went into private practice.

After living in Port Townsend, he returned to Olympia in order to assume the office of Territorial Superintendent of Public Instruction, a post he held from 1873 to 1880. His legacy was overhauling Washington’s educational system. As Dryden explains:

The School Law of 1877 was an important milestone because it marked the end of the pioneer period in education. Responsibility for it can be attributed to John P. Judson, Washington Territory’s … superintendent of public instruction. This law created a Territorial Board of Education with specified duties, and it also provided for county boards of education. One section dealt with certification of teachers, qualifications, and examinations.

Writer Angie Burt Bowden echoes, “His term was one of the most important in territorial history, because of its length– he served six years– because of the growth in professional spirit and usefulness through the county and territorial institutes; and because of the initiation of the Board of Education.” In 1876 he was the Democratic candidate for Territorial Delegate to Congress and lost by a mere 73 votes. In 1877 he also held the office of Olympia Mayor. After his Superintendent term was completed, Judson moved to Tacoma and became a Regent for the University of Washington. His final years were spent in Spokane and then Colville, where he died in April, 1910.

[The Territorial Librarian profiles were compiled by Sean Lanksbury, Mary Schaff, Kim Smeenk, and Steve Willis]

The Northwestern Industrial Army and the Battle at Sprague

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection, State Library Collections | Comments Off on The Northwestern Industrial Army and the Battle at Sprague

From the desk of Steve Willis, Central Library Services Program Manager of the Washington State Library:

In the midst of one of the worst economic depressions of the 19th century, thousands of unemployed workers were called upon nationwide to march in protest at Washington D.C. in 1894. They gained the nickname “Coxey’s Army” after their Ohio-based leader, Jacob Coxey. The Coxeyites in the Pacific Northwest were among the most radical followers, and dubbed themselves the Northwest Industrial Army. If you consider they used guerilla tactics and got into several skirmishes involving firearms, they really were an army.

In the spring of 1894 the Seattle and Tacoma units of the Northwestern Industrial Army met in Puyallup, using that town as their springboard for the cross-country journey. They numbered over 1000. In other states some of the government officials were sympathetic to the movement, but Washington Gov. McGraw was no friend to the Army.

Train hijacking in small groups became the main mode of transportation for the industrial soldiers. The following article in the May 11, 1894 issue of the Bellingham Bay Reveille, published out of New Whatcom, not only gives us a case study in the conflict, but also demonstrates a statewide interest in this struggle:


The Coxeyites Attempt to Steal a Train and are Driven off by Marshals Who Pour a Volley Into Them — A Mob Starving at the Columbia and Row Probable.


Sprague 1

“SPOKANE, Wash., May 8.–Telegrams from Sprague bring information that a collision occurred at that place between the industrials and United States marshals, arising out of an attempt on the part of the industrials to capture a cattle train. Circumstances of the affray as near as can be learned were as follows:”

“A cattle train passed through Sprague at the rate of 30 miles an hour, backing to Patterson. An industrial who was secreted on the train succeeded in manipulating the brakes and the train came to a standstill at a point about four miles out of Sprague, where some thirty industrials were lying in the grass. A posse of marshals was close at hand, watching the industrials. As the train slowed down and stopped, the industri[als] made a rush for it, when the marshals arose and fired a volley into their ranks. Some twenty shots were fired. It is not known whether any were injured. Before the train started again ten of the industrials succeeded in getting aboard and made their way to Spokane.”

“Excitement over the affair is intense in Spokane and at Sprague United States deputy marshals are holding a large body of industrials in check at the bridge across the Columbia river and will permit no man known to belong to the army to cross. Industrials are in a serious plight, for there is no town for seventy miles on that side of the river at which they can get anything to eat. Starvation is staring them in the face and they are becoming desperate. If they are not permitted to cross the river, there will likely be serious trouble, as the men will be like hungry wolves at bay.”

“At this point a deputy marshal found a man, presumably an industrial, stealing a ride on a brake under a car. He pointed a pistol at the man and ordered him out. A gang of industrials seized the deputy and beat him severely, nearly killing him. There are 300 of the industrial army who have succeeded in reaching Spokane; 200 are still at Sprague, and nearly all the others who left Seattle and Tacoma are scattered at different points along the line of the Northern Pacific in Eastern Washington.”

Sprague 2

In Yakima and Montana some battles resulted in death or serious injury. A few soldiers in this tattered Army did reach Washington, D.C. and participated in the protest. Northwest historian Carlos A. Schwantes in his Coxey’s Army : An American Odyssey (1985) includes a nice chapter on the Northwestern Industrial Army and their vainglorious leader Frank “Jumbo” Cantwell, a boxer and bouncer who wore a special gaudy uniform while leading his troops. Cantwell had a long history of conflicts with the law before, during, and after 1894.

Much of the discontent of 1894 served as a prelude to the Populist sweep of 1896.

Spooky Spokane Falls Enjoys the Luxury of a Haunted House

Thursday, May 16th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection, State Library Collections | 2 Comments »

Haunted 5

From the desk of Steve Willis, Central Library Services Program Manager of the Washington State Library:

Three mysteries emerge from an episode back when Spokane was known as Spokane Falls, one of them concerns a ghost, another is geographic, and the last is bibliographic. No, I’m not talking about a spirit scouring the online catalog– that is called BOOlean searching (heh-heh, get it?). This series of questions emerge from the following article in the Spokane Falls Review, March 21, 1885:


Spokane Falls Enjoys the Luxury of a Haunted House.

“Among the other many attractions in and about Spokane Falls, there has recently been added that of a haunted house, wherein the cheerful disembodied spirit holds high carnival, and the spectral inhabitants of the silent and bewitching midnight meet together to join in ghostly orgies, talk politics and frighten the timid denizens of this mundane sphere out of their seven senses. Belated pedestrians, with a tendency to scare easily, shun the side of street upon which is located the trysting place of the jovial spooks, while the more courageous have marched up to the premises, but, if not really frightened, have had no hesitancy in moving off at a speed above that of ordinary promenading when having their ears saluted with uncanny sounds.”

“The building that has been taken without the formality of lease, by these airy nocturnal roysters, is the old Phoenix beer hall that was the scene of a sad chapter in the city’s history; that of the unprovoked murder of a young man last summer, and which has been unoccupied for several months. We have heard vague rumors of the presence of a ghost, but have, so far, been unable to see anyone who will admit of having seen anything of a supernatural agency. Although the belief is so strong that the unexplainable exists that it is not every one you meet who will volunteer to take his blankets and camp in the room overnight.”

“It is said that on a certain occasion, recently, a man passing had his attention attracted by a strange noise that seemed Haunted 3to proceed from the room, and, going carefully up the alley, he peered into a window. He didn’t remain rooted to the spot. His legs refused to allow his body to remain in the neighborhood and he don’t remember just how he soon did get to bed, but it was only a small fraction of time after taking one gaze, when he had his head buried under the blankets.”

“He touches the subject tenderly and has kept much more rational hours ever since. What he saw could not have grown out of the character of the fluid he had been drinking, as he had religiously stuck to water that evening. To a limited few, he claims that when he reached the window he saw the shadowy outlines of a man that shone out with a phosphorous light. The shadowy tenant was walking with his back to the window and was giving vent to a noise sounding as though he was in a good deal of pain or was growling over the chilliness of the night. When the apparition turned about and headed for the window, one glance was sufficient for the individual. Considering that the specter would consider it an indelicate intrusion, the witness adjourned without apology. He calculates that, with ordinary luck, he will be able to outlive the sensation he experienced in fifty or one hundred years.”

“Making all due allowance for a vivid imagination and a bristly fright, there is still left a margin for the belief that the visitor from the other world is not a party that the average man would choose for a boon companion.”

“Since then, and perhaps before (although we have no data for going behind the returns) attention has been attracted to the spot by divers unpleasant sounds, as if a whole colony of the defunct were occasionally congregated for a jubilee. No thorough investigation has, so far, been made, as the initiated have perhaps felt a slight delicacy in forcing their presence in company where they were not invited. We suppose that in time, when the thing becomes shorn of the glamour of freshness, some one will want to deprive the public of the benefit of such an important tributary to the popularity of the Falls, and try to clear up the mystery.”

Haunted 4“We cannot say when the boss spook holds his receptions, but if any one is curious he can hang around o’ nights and find out for himself. We are not paid for keeping a reporter on the spot.”

Mystery # 1: What the heck is it? In all my perusing through territorial newspapers, this is the most detailed and open account I have found describing public “ghostly” happenings.

Mystery # 2: The exact location of the Phoenix Beer Hall, which was designated as the HQ for these ghosts, is not easy to find. Apparently closed by 1885, it doesn’t show up on directories or Sanborn maps of the era. I’d be curious to know if that location has experienced other “supernatural” events in the 20th-21st centuries. But where was/is it?

Mystery # 3: In an attempt to find an account of the “sad chapter in the city’s history,” it was discovered the incident was the September 27, 1884 shooting of a quiet carpenter named Henry R. Roblin by John “Jack” Connerry, “a notorious rustler.” Apparently Roblin accidentally bumped into Connerry on a Saturday near midnight at the Phoenix Beer Hall, and that alone sparked the shooting. Connerry was captured the next morning but was moved from Spokane Falls city jail to Cheney as he was in very real danger of being lynched by an angry mob. It seems Connerry escaped jail in Cheney a short time later.

But here’s the mystery. In an effort to find a local article about this shooting, every single newspaper run we have in the Spokane area is missing the issue that would have covered this news. It’s like we have a nice complete set– except for this one period. Every one of them! What’s the deal here? I had to go to newspapers in California and Montana to get the details. Was the episode so shameful no one wanted to preserve the newspapers, or instead did they keep it as a souvenir? In any case, it is quite odd.

The Spokane Falls Review is one the historical newspapers digitized by the Washington State Library. The above article, and many other lively stories about Spokane can be viewed online on the WSL website.


A Ruse By Any Other Name

Thursday, October 11th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection, State Library Collections | Comments Off on A Ruse By Any Other Name

Arlington Buckingham Wadsworth

From the desk of Steve Willis, Central Library Services Program Manager of the Washington State Library:

The Nov. 15, 1902 issue of The Spokane Press has a news account of a well known international con artist being arrested in Australia. The writer reminds the readers this criminal had made Spokane his home at one time:


 Now Arrested in Australia—Wanted in Many Places for Similar Offences.

 “The following telegraphic dispatch from Chicago will be of interest to Spokane people, as the principal in the case was at one time the central figure in a marriage scandal case in this city.”

“That Arlington Buckingham Wadsworth created surprise, admiration and disgust by his actions here some years ago is still fresh in the memories of the people.”

“He came to the city as a wealthy business man and was soon recognized as such. He engaged in the real estate business, rode behind a span of fast horses hauling a fine English trap and was everywhere looked upon with envy.”

“Mr. Wadsworth was a great favorite with the ladies and his winning ways soon won for him admiration on every hand. In the ballroom, banquet halls and parlors he could be seen surrounded by a bevy of beautiful and wealthy ladies. He only associated, so far as the public knew, with the best people in the city.”

“In a due course of time it became known that he intended to wed a young lady of wealthy parents. The love match was not broken for some months until it leaked out that Mr. Wadsworth was an imposter of the rankest kind, but the information came too late, as the lovers were on their way to Chicago to be married. The young lady’s father made all possible haste to stop proceedings and did so at the last hour.”

Arlington Buckingham Wadsworth in the 1887 Spokane Directory

“It soon afterwards became known that Arlington Buckingham Wadsworth was a man of many names and perhaps as many wives. He never afterwards appeared in Spokane social circles and the police state that he is wanted for bigamy in  several places.”

“In the following dispatch the name is changed to Arthur Bentley Worthington, but people who are familiar with the scandal created here state this is none other than Wadsworth.”

On the Stump

“CHICAGO, Nov. 15.–Arthur Bentley Worthington, leader of the Spiritualist movement known as the ‘Students of Truth,’ and one of the most famous all-around confidence men known in this country for the past 25 years, has been apprehended in Australia, on a charge of obtaining money under false pretenses from a woman whom he induced to act as sort of a financial ‘angel’ for his movement in the Antipodes.”

“Nothing has been heard of Worthington in this country for a good many years, though the secret service authorities have been constantly on the lookout for him. His criminal record is a long one, and at different times in his varied career he has figured in the police annals of over a dozen states in this country from Maine to California. He has posed as a lawyer, banker, politician, real estate operator, spiritualist writer, mining speculator and organizer, and bigamy has been his most favorite role.”

“He was born in New York state, in 1847, his real name being Samuel Oakley Crawford. He enlisted in the Union army, in 1864, reappearing after the war was over as a temperance lecturer, studied law for a while, but, in 1867, he professed religion and preached as a Methodist minister in New Jersey. The next year he married, for the first time; his wife was one Josephine Ericson Moore. He deserted her and an infant daughter a year later. Soon after he turned up in Albany and buncoed a guileless farmer out of his hard-earned savings and was arrested and sentenced to the penitentiary for three years in 1870.”

“Four years later he married again in this city the daughter of a Boston clairvoyant. He deserted his second wife in a few weeks and before the year was over he married his third wife, the daughter of an Ohio judge, whose name he forged to a note for $3000.”

“He fled to Kansas City, where he lived for a short time under the name of Eugene Bonner, but got in trouble there in 1876 and went to Peoria, Ill. By this time the police in various parts of the country began to offer rewards for his arrest. Here wife No. 2 appeared, but he avoided her and fled to San Francisco. His marriage here to a wealthy widow, of whom he had borrowed $2000, was frustrated before the ceremony by a telegram exposing some of his operations in a matrimonial way.”

Arthur B. Worthington

“By some hook or crook he managed to evade the officials of ‘Frisco and next turned up at Salt Lake City, where he became a Mormon, and is said to have preached in the temple. He got away from there with great expedition after borrowing $5000 from the all too trusting proselytes of Brigham Young, and Texas sheltered him next for a brief time.” “In 1878 he moved to Detroit, where he found a troupe of actors, and married a Miss Eliza Huntoon, under the name of Bannerton. Leaving the stage, he settled down in New Lisbon, Wis., where he practiced law, but soon tired of honest work. He borrowed several hundred dollars, forged a number of bonds and checks. He was caught and indicted, but his partner went his bail and the apostle took to traveling again, leaving wife No. 4 sadder and wiser.”

“The records show that he traveled through many states in 1882 and 1883 as an English tourist, cashing many worthless papers. Boston was his next home, where he again practice law, and lived in great style. He became acquainted there with a Mrs. John P. Sargent, a woman with a leaning toward spiritualism, and who had some money. He became an ardent spiritualist, and induced the woman to leave her husband and family and fly with him. The couple lived in Charleston, W.V., till Worthington had spent the woman’s money, and in 1886 the man disappeared altogether, though he had in the meantime swindled a Mr. Dana of Charlestown out of about $3000.”

“The advices received telling of his arrest in Melbourne last week show that he was up to his old tricks there and has at last fallen into the toils. After justice has been satisfied there he will be brought to this country to make amend for some of his many depredations.”

Wadsworth shows up in the 1887 Directory of the City of Spokane Falls as a resident of the Hyde Block. This three story building at 611 W. Riverside was ironically built by and named after Spokane’s first Chief of Police. It was destroyed in the 1889 Spokane fire.  A second and larger Hyde Block was constructed on the same spot.

General A. B. Ward

He also appears to be a defendant in two cases cited in Frontier Justice having to do with nonpayment on loans 1887-1888, so it would seem the system was starting to close in on him before he fled Washington Territory.

Posing as General A.B. Ward, he worked with Benjamin Harrison in the 1888 presidential campaign. As Arthur Bently Worthington he moved to New Zealand and became a leader of religion he invented called, humorously enough, Students of Truth.

After spending seven years in an Australian prison, he returned to the United States and was back to his con games. Arrested again in January 1917, he spent the final year of his life in a New York State jail. He died December 14, 1917, supposedly while talking through the cell bars to his latest wife, who was either number 10 or 12, depending on the source.

Spokane Indian Tribal Early Learning Center

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For the Public, News, Site Visits, Tribal | Comments Off on Spokane Indian Tribal Early Learning Center

Pauline Stearns Early Learning Center

Recently I visited the Spokane Indian reservation at Wellpinit, Washington, to conduct training on math and science readiness for the tribe’s early childhood center staff.

The Pauline Stearns Early Learning Center is only a year or so old.  In addition to providing a bright spacious up to date and modern learning center for their children with the latest equipment, the tribe did some other things which impressed me as well.

Mindy Flett, the Child Development manager for the tribe, related that the tribe had used the construction of the Early Learning facility to give individuals who wished to have training in the construction trades experience.  Individuals apprenticed under experienced workers.

One of the “experts” stood out.  He was bas relief artist.  Consequently, the building is rich with art that reflects the children’s heritage and natural surroundings.

The tribe also decided to take advantage of the area’s bountiful sunlight. An entire array of photoelectric cells stands next to the Stearns Center parking lot to power the building.

Photos of the Pauline Stearns Early Learning Cener, the bas relief art and the photoelectric cells are below.


Solar power for the daycare center.

Elk Herd Bas Relief


Moose Bas Relief

Eagle Bas Relief

Forest Bas Relief

Bear Paw Bas Relief

Bear Family Bas Relief

WSL Updates for December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 Posted in For Libraries, Grants and Funding, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | Comments Off on WSL Updates for December 23, 2010

Volume 6, December 23, 2010 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:






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State Library Contributes 23 Newspaper Titles to Chronicling America

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | Comments Off on State Library Contributes 23 Newspaper Titles to Chronicling America

The Washington State Library recently contributed another 23,000 historic newspaper pages from seven newspapers to Chronicling America, making Washington State’s contribution to the program a total of 23 titles and over 115,000 pages. Read and research issues from these and other newspapers around the U.S. for free at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

100 years ago. Seattle Star, September 24, 2010

100 years ago. Seattle Star, September 24, 2010

There are now 23 newspapers from Washington State currently included in Chronicling America:  

Chronicling America provides free and open access to nearly 2.7 million full-text searchable pages from 348 titles published between 1860 and 1922 in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The Washington State Library’s National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant was renewed through June 2012, allowing more pages from other newspapers around Washington State to be uploaded over the next two years. 

For more information about Chronicling America, contact Laura Robinson, project manager for Washington’s National Digital Newspaper Program, at [email protected] or (360) 570-5568.

Washington Adds 50,000 Newspaper Pages to Chronicling America

Thursday, June 24th, 2010 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public | 1 Comment »

The Washington State Library recently contributed another 50,000 historic newspaper pages from nine newspapers to Chronicling America, making Washington State’s contribution to the program a total of 16 titles and 92,000 pages. People can read and research issues from these and other newspapers around the U.S. for free at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.

100 Years Ago... Tacoma Times from June 24, 1910

100 Years Ago. Tacoma Times, June 24, 1910

There are now 16 newspapers from Washington State currently included in Chronicling America:

Chronicling America provides free and open access to more than 2.3 million full-text searchable pages from 295 titles published between 1860 and 1922 in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The Washington State Library’s National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant was recently renewed through June of 2012, allowing more pages from other newspapers around Washington State to be uploaded over the next two years.

For more information about Chronicling America, contact Laura Robinson, project manager for Washington’s National Digital Newspaper Program, at [email protected] or (360) 570-5568.