A woman who took offense at being told to quiet down by the night clerk at Pendleton’s Bowman Hotel in October of 1911 didn’t need the help of a man to get her forceful message across, much to the clerk’s chagrin.
Louis King, the night clerk at the Bowman Hotel, was sleeping on the afternoon of October 9, 1911, as was his wont before his shift at the hotel’s front desk. At around 5 p.m., boisterous laughter from what he decided was the room of Adele Pefferle woke him from his slumber. King went to Pefferle’s room and gave her a tongue-lashing, and requested that she be quieter. He then came downstairs to the hotel lobby.
Pefferle, a former member of the Boston Bloomers, ex-mascot of the Pendleton hose team and an imitator of men in many ways, took offense at King’s accusation. She followed him down to the lobby and denied she had been making the noise that disturbed him. An argument ensued, King repeating his accusations and Pefferle refusing to back down. Finally King accused Pefferle of being drunk.
And then the fisticuffs began.
Pefferle lashed out with her right fist, knocking King’s glasses off but leaving him more surprised than injured. “Was I drunk?” the offended woman demanded. When King declared she indeed was, Pefferle hit him again. And again. “You can’t say that to my face,” the incensed woman cried, punctuating each repeat of her assertion with another full-armed swing. By this time her hat had come off and her hair was askew, adding to her generally ferocious appearance.
King did not fight back, gentlemanly behavior restraining him, but he did attempt to end the fight by grabbing her arm. But Pefferle was no shrinking violet, and King found that restraining her was no easy task. Finally the day clerk came to King’s assistance and the attack was stopped.
Pefferle was asked to leave the hotel, but she refused to budge. A visit from Officer Kearney finally convinced her to pack her bags and take Train No. 17 for The Dalles that evening.
Pefferle, the daughter of a Spokane dentist, was no stranger to Pendleton — or to trouble. She had first arrived in town from Baker City in 1897 at the age of 15, and became the mascot of Pendleton’s famed hose racing team when she punched a man who made a jeering remark about the team. Later she joined the Boston Bloomers, a women’s touring baseball team that appeared at Weston’s Pioneer Picnic in 1909. After being run down by an ambulance in Salt Lake City at the age of 21, the scars she received ended her vaudeville career, and she took to wearing men’s clothing to find work. She was arrested for vagrancy in 1910 in Portland while masquerading as a man under the name of Joe Howard. Her final stay in Pendleton began with the 1911 Round-Up and ended just days after she gave a up a waitressing job at the hotel that finally sent her packing.