Ready for an “unsolved crime” story? This one, however, is likely to stay unsolved since it took place over 80 years ago.
In October 1928, Julian Tison, his wife, and two teenage sons, took over the management of Friendly Inn — a “roadside resort and eating place” about 2.5 miles outside Eatonville near the Mashell River.
December 2 was a busy day, but by 9 p.m. things had slowed down. The boys had gone out and it was just Julian and his wife at the Inn.
Mrs. Tison was in the living room, and Julian was taking wood to the kitchen when they heard a car drive up. Two men carrying revolvers came in wearing overalls and white handkerchiefs over their faces. One of the men ordered Mrs. Tison to put her hands up.
She offered the outlaw the day’s receipts, but he wasn’t interested in her money. He wanted her.
Julian watched through the glass door between the kitchen and living room as his wife was backed into a small hallway at gunpoint. As Julian crept into another hallway to get his gun from his coat, the second man spotted him, shot him in the back, smacked him over the head with a gun, and left Julian for dead.
Back from the Dead
Julian was very much alive. He quickly revived, and although he was now partially paralyzed from the waist down, went to help his wife. When Julian approached the first man and his wife, the thug turned to put a bullet in his head. That’s when all hell broke loose.
Mrs. Tison jumped for the man’s gun. As they wrestled, the gun discharged six times. At the same time, Julian tried to get off a shot without injuring his wife, but thug two showed up and shot Julian twice more in the stomach.
Despite his mortal wounds, Julian realized the first man was out of bullets and shot him above the heart. The man staggered through the house, onto the porch and dropped dead in the driveway. Julian died at the Eatonville Hospital hours later, but not before he told his story.
On the Run
The murderer took off and walked five miles to Ohop Bob. He told the owner, Mr. Josselyn, how he’d been robbed near the Triangle. Josselyn called it into the Sheriff (busy with a murder), then gave the man a nice room and loaned him stage fare to Tacoma, where he was dropped at the police station to make a report.
The Pierce County Sherriff never apprehended the murderer. The police did determine, however, that the criminals had planned on kidnapping the previous owner for ransom and didn’t realize they had the wrong woman.
NOTE: Another version of this story by Pat Hamilton can be found by Clicking here.
3 responses to “Murder at Friendly Inn”
Thank you for this story, I just found out about this story from my 93 year old grandmother. Julian was her uncle. Her dad, Clarence was Julian’s brother. Do you have an exact location of the Friendly Inn?
Yes, there is home there now. Are you familiar with the area? If you are on Highway 7 going toward Mt. Rainier. You go past the turn off toward Eatonville, you head down a hill and there is a hard right swing in the road before the bridge. The home(s) on the left are where it was located. If you get up to Pack Forest you’ve gone too far.
Thank you for the story. My grandfather was one of the sons, Julian, I didn’t know him well when I was a kid. I don’t remember my family talking about this growing up.