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HISTORY VISITING OUR STORIED PAST


publish its thoughts on the subject: “When town proprietors


and


bosses conceive the idea of squelching their local paper, it is pretty good evidence that there is something buried which they, the town proprietors, do not want exhumed. We predict that such is the case with J. N. Glover, who has undertaken to snuff out the Spokan Times. ... The people are gener- ally correct in their verdict on such schemes, and so far as we have heard they approve of the course of the Times, while they frown down the contemptible action of the “bosses.” A newspaper must represent the masses, not the inter- est of a few town proprietors. If Glover has money enough to play his organ, no one objects to it so long as the public are not com- pelled to listen. Carlisle, who is playing second for Glover’s organ at the Falls, is proving himself not only a ninny, but a disrespecter of the truth.” October 18th brought a lengthy


editorial from the Times, describ- ing the various projects the paper had endorsed since its inception, such as creating a new county out of Stevens County, attempting to locate the county seat at Spokane, and spanning the Spokane River with a free bridge. According to Cook, all of these endeavors had been opposed by “the ring.” The Times described this in detail: “In order to have an organ of


their own with which to mislead the public whenever occasion might offer an opportunity, the ring decided to purchase press and type, and to select someone who would do just what they wanted him to do—no matter how low they might wish him to stoop. They had to do this, for no honest man can represent the true inter- ests of this city and county, and at the same time serve the ring. The interests of the ring are not identi- cal with those of our citizens. ...


154


They foster no enterprise but such as pays them tribute.” In the Times issue of February


25, 1882, Cook unleashed his vit- riolic pen in an editorial against Chronicle editor Carlisle, a portion of which follows: “It is very seldom that any per-


son, no matter how degraded, renders himself so completely obnoxious in as short a time as has the man Carlisle, who for the present edits the Spokan [sic] Falls Chronicle. ... He is the most con- ceited and cowardly hypocritical scoundrel that has ever disgraced our community. By nature he is a constitutional liar and coward. ... Since the very first he has done all in his power to injure those who would not cooperate with him in his useless tirade against his com- petitors. But he has been careful to do it in a cowardly way that would keep that pretty countenance from harm. Well, this—no, I will not say this man—for he is not a man; he, Carlisle, is a miscarriage and a monstrosity at that—a monstros- ity of a liar and blackmailer. ... The writer of this article is personally responsible for what he says here, and if the fellow referred to takes exceptions, he may have his satis- faction.” Cook wasn’t


finished with


Carlisle yet, however. On March 4th he had more to say about the “acknowledged crank and liar of the Chronicle.” He described many occasions when Carlisle had mis- represented or lied about some- thing. Cook claimed Carlisle had “forced himself” upon the city council as a clerk and, in reading and publishing public documents, introduced words that were not supposed to be there, and went among the public deliberately intending to mislead honest peo- ple by falsehoods and misrepre- sentations. Cook ended by saying: “He is abhorred by decent people, and is despised by those who claim


SPOKANE CDA • July - August • 2011


to be his friends on account of the possible good his services may be to them.” Later in March, shortly before


the city election was due, the Times published the following opinion: “One of the Bosses wants to be mayor and that ought


to create


an interest. Four more want to be re-elected as Sub-bosses to A. M. Cannon (we here give the name as it used to be). The people plainly see that such a result would jeop- ardize the interests of our city. It is a foregone conclusion that most of the Bosses in this city must soon bid farewell to official pap, and see official positions they themselves have occupied so unacceptably to the people during the past. It is too well understood to admit of contradiction that a majority of the present city council can be advantageously spared; that is, laid on the shelf, or bottled, to improve with age.” The “Boss,” of course, was


James Glover. Actually, Cannon’s full name was Anthony McHugh (or McCue) Cannon. Cannon definitely considered Cook’s spell- ing of his name to be an insult. It added to the huge troubles to come between the two men. Another Times editorial advised that the present council should not be trusted due to the fact that “Cannon’s paper and his notorious tool and liar [Carlisle] recommend their reelection.”


The Assault in Cook’s Office


By the end of March, the situa-


tion between Cook and his adver- saries in the city came to a climax. Francis and his paper had alien- ated several of the more important individuals in Spokane Falls, some of whom were anxious for retribu- tion. Strangely enough, his fight did not involve Carlisle, who might have had justification because of the libelous statements printed


against him. Instead, the confron- tation came from A. M. Cannon, who really didn’t like it that Cook had used an incorrect spelling of his name. In addition, Cook printed alle-


gations that Cannon had been illegally cutting timber on govern- ment lands. While Cannon settled the matter with the government by paying for the timber, Francis was not complimentary to Cannon in writing about the incident. All the details of what hap-


pened on March 31, 1882, are not known today, because the surviv- ing accounts are conflicting. The following description, which was printed in the Spokan Times, April 1, 1882, is taken from Francis Cook’s version of the event:


Murderous Assault “A. M. Cannon and B. H. Ben-


nett [his son-in-law] of the bank in this city, called at the residence of Francis H. Cook last evening, and finding he had not returned from town, wanted to know where he was, saying they might meet him. The visit was occasioned by articles, published in the Times, to which Mr. Cannon took exception. At ten o’clock today Cannon and Bennett entered the Times office on the second floor, while none were present but Mr. and Mrs. Cook with a babe in the cradle. Cannon demanded retraction, and swore Mr. Cook must sign papers [not then shown] or he would kill him. The editor did not do so, and Cannon drew a revolver to carry out his threat. Mr. Cook took up an iron side-


stick (used in the office) and induced Cannon to put away his revolver; whereupon Bennett drew a revolver, stating that he was going to take part in the affair, even while Mrs. Cook pleaded with him to desist. As Bennett was trying to shoot, Cook took up another iron and knocked the weapon out of


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