Despite the covid-19 issues facing every walk of life these days, I have been lucky to benefit from the talents of researchers at Washington State libraries and the Puget Sound Regional Archives.
I knew that James Monaghan enjoyed his wealth and bought an automobile. A Spokane Public Library researcher discovered that Monaghan purchased a sixty horsepower Peerless touring car made in Cleveland, Ohio in 1909 through a local dealer. Monaghan loved the automobile so much he bought another in 1913, a thirty horsepower Chalmers touring car. Both were considered top luxury cars for the time. Chalmers later became part of Maxwell auto out of Detroit and was said to be one of the best all round touring cars of the day. All Monaghan needed were better roads to drive on.
The Puget Sound Regional Archives graciously provided me with a report on the house originally owned by Matt and Mary Roderick including photos of the home taken in 1937 and 1956. The couple bought the house new in 1892 and enjoyed six hundred square feet of living downstairs with the same upstairs. Their recent arrival from frontier life in South Dakota along with their two children must have had them feeling blessed with indoor plumbing and easy access to public transportation.
But the shooting death of Mathew Roderick in BC in late 1896 changed everything for Mary. She eventually sold her beautiful home and moved to the Lane Apartments (old location) two miles north. The enterprising woman became the first female bailiff in King County in 1911. As late as 1935, she was still employed in the role and helped to deal with many high profile trials. Interestingly, the judge who swore Mary in was none other than Wilson R. Gay, the former lawyer who helped Mary settle Matt’s estate in 1897.
These details might seem minor to the main story of the robbery and death of Roderick but it helps us to see the bigger picture and perhaps understand their motivations. It reveals how the economy affected their lives and forced them into situations never considered.