Inland Northwest History and Culture  >  Indian-White Encounters  >  Spokane: 1877-1890

Lively Skirmish

Source: The Morning Review (Spokesman), April 13, 1886, page 3

Subject: An Indian attack involving alcohol and a man named Baldy


The report comes to us at this late date of an exciting shooting affray over in Douglas county on the Columbia River that occurred last week. From what we can gather there are depraved and irresponsible men in that section that are constantly selling liquor to Indians, and by so doing are not only breaking the law but are keeping the settlers in constant danger.

The shooting grew out of this practice. It seems that three Indians entered a cabin on the Columbia River directly opposite the mouth of the Okanogan river and demanded whiskey from a man known as “Baldly.”

He refused to supply them and they immediately sprang upon him. One grasped him around the legs while the others set upon him. He drew a revolver and shot the Indian that had him by the throat directly in the mouth, the ball passing through the back of the neck killing him almost instantly. The concussion of the explosion put out the lamp.

Quick as thought “Baldy” lit a match and by that momentary light fired again, shooting the Indian confronting him in the neck. He then reached down to the one who had him by the legs and fired.

The shot in the dark struck the assailant in the heart killing him. The second Indian shot is in a critical condition. The affair has caused considerable excitement in the neighborhood. From the frequency of the trouble over near the reservation it would be well for the United States to look into the matter, as the local authorities do not appear to be masters of the situation.

One trouble is that persons supplying liquor to the red wards are not sufficiently punished when apprehended. There is not crime that is more serious than that of the one in question and a few examples would have a very salutary effect in stopping the criminal practice.


Transcribed by: Troy Kirby, Graduate Candidate, Department of Physical Education, Eastern Washington University, December 2005