Courts incarcerate homeless men in King County and force them to work in chain gangs around January 6, 1900.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 9/11/1999
  • Essay 1661

On January 6, 1900, the White River Journal in Kent announces that the chain gang is a solution to the hobo problem in Seattle and King County. Out of work and homeless men are jailed and sentenced by the courts to repair roads and planked thoroughfares in the "suburban districts."

According to the newspaper, twelve men were grouped into a gang under the supervision of two guards and would be put to work on "the new plank road" between Seattle and Ballard.

The White River Journal suggested: "Kent should find something wrong with her streets and get a little excitement by having a section of the gang removed here for a few days."


White River Journal, January 6, 1900, p. 3.

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