History

Was Joe Drake a murderer, or just an innocent patsy?

The city of Salem as it appeared when looking west from the dome of the capitol building in the late 1800s. PHOTO COURTESY SALEM PUBLIC LIBRARY

On April 1, 1884, an event occurred that probably should have tipped 25-year-old woodcutter Joseph Drake off that bad things were coming his way:
His neighbor, David Swartz, filed for divorce from his wife, Mary and listed Joseph as the primary cause. Specifically, David claimed Mary had committed adultery with Joseph on March 21, 1884.
With most frontier Oregonians, this would have . . .

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