This is the first report of local domestic violence that I’ve yet encountered in any 1904 or 1905 Santa Rosa newspaper.

Had a Legal and Moral Right to Beat Mrs. J. Thompson When He Pleased

John Thompson holds that he has a right, legal and moral, to whip his wife. This is a pet theory of John Thompson’s, especially when he is drunk, and as that is quite often, it may be said to be a ruling passion jointly with his passion for whisky. His latest outbreak along the lines occurred today, when Officer Herman Hankel was called down to the Johnson home, west of the California Northwestern railroad yard to rescue Mrs. Thompson from becoming a victim of her husband’s theoretical faith and incidentally to quell Mr. Thompson.

The officer succeeded in doing both in a prompt and effective manner, though he had to apply some of Thompson’s theory to that person. The wife-beater was busily beating the woman when checked by the stalwart man of peace. Thompson told Hankel he had a lawful right to whip her. He was then transferred to the city prison and a charge of battery lodged against the name he gave, but is probably incorrect.

Last night he visited the ante-room of the Eagles and with a “hard luck” story, worked on the feelings of a number of the brotherhood, getting a donation of $7.50. This he evidently used to theorize with on the person of his abused wife.

– Santa Rosa Republican, April 26, 1905

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