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Good Old Days: April 29, 2021

Series: Good Old Days | Story 14

April 29, 2021

125 years ago

The Commoner

April 24, 1896

A case of wholesale horse stealing is reported by J.C. Lloyd of Rebel flat, which, although not exactly a local affair, is nevertheless of much interest.

Saturday evening when Mr. Lloyd went home from this city he met a number of men on Rebel flat driving a band of about 30 or 40 head of fine horses. One of the men asked Mr. Lloyd where they could procure hay to feed the animals, and after hay had been procured with the assistance of Mr. Lloyd the latter was told the following story by the man in charge of the outfit.

“This is a band of fine blooded horses which belong to Mr. Helm of Ellensburg. Helm had the animals on a ranch in Douglas County. He hired three young men named Owens, Howard and Lee, to gather up and keep the horses together, as they were somewhat scattered. The fellows went to the scene, but after having gathered the animals they quietly drove them away toward the east with the evident intention of stealing the whole band. Mr. Helm happened to hear of the matter, however, and sent officers in hot pursuit. We over took the thieves a few days ago in the Potlatch Country, Idaho, an all three have been arrested. We are now returning the horses to the ranch in Douglas County. The theft committed by the three young men named is one of the greatest and most daring one’s ever perpetrated in eastern Washington, and the lads will not doubt be sent up for a long term.”

Mr. Helm is well known throughout eastern Washington as a prominent politician as well as a breeder of fine stock.

100 years ago

The Colfax Commoner

April 22, 1921

Jack Klee, driver of the Spokane-Lewiston stage for the Elkhorn Co., is spending 20 days in the Whitman County jail and a fine of $25 is also hanging over him. He was caught driving over 30 miles an hour on Morton Street in Coax last week by Traffic Officer J.A. Williams at 3:30 o’clock in the afternoon just as the children were leaving the Martha Washington School. Justice Doolittle pronounced the sentence. The driver had been wanted by the traffic officer and by the proprietors of the stage company. Mr. Fohl, one of the owners, was present at the trial and stated that the boys have been instructed to drive right and that he had no defense to offer for the driver.

Twelve miles an hour past school houses between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., either in town or country, is the legal limit and 20 miles an hour outside of the business districts in cities and towns is the limit where location of school buildings does not figure in the case.


George Menard, driver for the 500 company, also running between Spokane and Lewiston, was arrested last Friday on complaint of passengers, who claimed they were thrown into the top and more or less injured while on the road near Johnson in this county. The complaint filed by the passengers was for speeding. Menard was placed under $50 bonds for appearance in justice court.

75 years ago

The Colfax Gazette-Commoner

March 29, 1946

In an expression of his personal opinion, Col. Samuel L. (Lusker) McCroskey told the chamber of commerce on Wednesday noon that civilians at home did a wonderful job in helping win the war but that they are to be blamed for bungling the redeployment program in their wild clamor to have the boys returned from overseas.

He believed Americans should not be too critical of the military’s efforts to educate the Germans away from Nazism since the task is difficult and threatened to be left in the hands of “kids” because of the mass outcry for the return home of veterans who would include those better qualified for the work.


Howard Blaylock, 34, was charged in superior court Friday with grand larceny involving the alleged theft of $80 from the Model cafe Thursday night last week. The information states that the money, left in the cash register, was the property of Al Smith from whom George Davis is to take possession of the cafe May 1. Davis as manager left Blaylock to close up at the end of the night shift as cook. Blaylock came here from Spokane and had worked only two nights.

50 years ago

Colfax Gazette

April 22, 1971

Will agriculture still be Whitman County’s top resource in the year 2000?

Orderly planning to preserve agriculture is being attempted by the Whitman County Regional Planning council, which currently is asking the citizens and member agencies to tell what they think of Whitman County’s comprehensive planning program for the future.

The comprehensive plan is now in suggestion form, with the corrected report to be published after July 1, according to Regional Planning Director Jose Urcia. He is asking that “the people of Whitman County tell the council how agriculture can be preserved and existing cities encouraged to become more livable.”

The comprehensive planning program is now in two books – an inventory phase book of basic data compiled by the council and its consultants, Environmental Concerns, Inc., and an accompanying book, which features the 80-page comprehensive outdoor recreation plan for Whitman County, 1970, by the county park board, and a 75-page comprehensive sewer plan for the county, in which the county’s 16 municipalities cooperated.


The order for a 21-year-old age minimum for truck drivers has been opposed by a memorial introduced in the state senate by Sen. Elmer C. Huntley. The senator’s memorial asks the secretary of transportation to reconsider his department’s order for the minimum age limit.

The age limit order was postponed for six months after protests were raised by major farm organizations. Last fall, the bureau of motor carrier safety announced rule changes which applied to farm trucks as well as others. One of the amendments states a driver must be 21 rather than 18.

“During harvest season of all crops, the part-time workers who are employed as truck drivers are usually high school juniors and seniors or college students. As a farmer and employer of students, I have seen many of them complete their educations through these earnings,” Huntley added.

Jack Silzel of Oakesdale, president of the Whitman County Wheat Growers, said his group was urging a letter writing campaign to the department of transportation.


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