The newspaper archives at The Stevens Museum in Salem Indiana are full of still busts from the eve of prohibition up and through the 1970’s. I’ve not begun to do the research I need to on all of these and I can thank my good friend and Washington County Historian Jeremy Elliott for this small handful presented here. My goal is to eventually compile them and publish them to this blog as they were a huge part of our heritage. If the folks in Southern Indiana knew how much whiskey, brandy, and alcohol in general was distilled in these hills and hollows legally and illicitly they would demand that the state of Kentucky issue an apology for taking all the credit.
Missing from this tiny sample is a story I am currently pursuing about a local Dr. during prohibition who was brought up on charges for distilling and bootlegging with a partner, the product these men made was strictly for medicinal purposes and I have been told that the base material was strawberry. The product was apparently of superb quality and was spoken of fondly by old timers for decades after it disappeared from the market. You like what you like even if it is illicit, damn the man!
Anyways, hope you enjoy these little snippets!
Still Taken In Posey Township
Local Officials Capture Still, Destroy Mash and Take Small Quantity Liqour.
Sheriff Milt Trinkle, Accompanied by Marshal Art Huff and Night Policeman, Wm. Mclemore journeyed down in Posey township last Wednesday, armed with a search warrant from Justice F.P. Houk’s court and found a large still on the farm formerly owned by John Elliott, but now occupied by Guy Smith, of New Albany. We are informed that Mr. Elliott had contracted the sale of the farm to Mr. Smith and had given possession.
No one was about the premises when the officers arrived. Besides a still of 100 gallon capacity, which was brought to Salem, 300 gallons of mash was destroyed and about two gallons of “Moonshine Whisky” was taken.
The still and mash were found in the residence. Milt said it was a little embarrassing to go back to his home township to capture a still but he expects to do his duty wherever it takes him.
Seven Arrested On Liqour Charges.
One Still and Quantity of Home Brew Taken Near Pekin.
Armed with a search warrant, police officers of Salem visited the home of Heck Wagoner near Old Pekin last Saturday night and found a still of 50 gallon capacity, about 200 gallons of mash and 38 bottles of home brew. Wagoner was arrested and brought to Salem where he was placed in jail, He was taken before F.P. Hourk, J.p. Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of sale and possession and is to have a preliminary hearing Saturday.
Officers who made the raid were town marshal, Elmer Geralde, Nigh police, Wm. L. Mclemore, Sheriff Milt Trinkle and prosecuting attorney, W.G. Mead.
Others arrested near Pekin were Ralph Callam, Ed Stewart and Sherman Stewart.
Affidavits sworn to by Gerald Vest and Glenn Martin alleging the purchasing of liquor was the cause of the arrest of Mrs. Chloe Trueblood Grover Hinds, and Gu Little of Salem. A preliminary hearing is set for Little in Justice Houks court Saturday.
Liqour Found In Three Raids
Large Still and Twenty eight Gallons of “mule” Destroyed
Last Thursday a raid was made on a farm in Jackson township by Harry Upchurch, Federal prohibition officer of New Albany, assisted by Sheriff Trinkle, Marshal Geralde and night police Wm. Mclemore, where a complete still in operation and twenty-eight gallons of “white mule” were found. A man, who said his name was Benjamin Myers and that he lived in New Albany, was arrested. He was brought to Salem and place in jail but was released on 1500 bond yesterday.
The outfit was said to be the most complete ever found in the county and was located in an abandoned house in the woods about one and one-halfmiles west of the State Road 35. A rampart had been installed to force water from a spring which was piped to the coil Mr. Myers was working with the apparatus when the officers walked in and offered no resistance.
The still and all other apparatus together with the finished products was destroyed except a small quantity of the liquor which was brought in for evidence. Mr. Myers is charged with manufacturing intoxicating liquor.
The home of Hary Knoy in Howard township was raided by officers Trinkle, Geralde, and McLemore Saturday where about a half gallon of liquor and eight gallons of home brew were found in his house. Knoy was arrested, charged with possession of intoxicating liquor. He gave bond in the sum of 1500 for his appearance
Saturday night the officers armed themselves with a search warrant and went to the home of Arch Girder on the Millport Knobs where the house was searched and five pints of Liqour found. Alva Reynolds was at the home and was arrested and brought to jail. Sunday Mr. Grider came in and surrendered to the officers. Both men gave bond and were released
The officers making this raid were Upchurch and Lavely of the prohibition department and Sheriff Trinkle Marshal Geralde and Wm McLemore
Stills Taken in Posey Township
Prohibition Officers Accompanied by Marshal Brown Raid Farm in Southwest part of County
1,000 Gallons Mash Destroyed
A moonshine still on the farm of Walter F. Zink in Posey township
Near the Crawford county line was raided last Wendnesday by prohibition agents Negley and Lebert of New Albany and Marshal Brown of Salem. Two stills were taken, one of 100 gallon and the other of 65 gallon capacity. A quantity of whiskey was taken and 10000 gallons of mash destroyed.
Zink was arrested and taken to New Albany where he was arraigned before D. Kirke Hedden, United States Commissioner, where he denied ownership of the still and claimed he had rented building on the farm. He was released under 2000 bond for appearance in Federal Court.
This is the largest moonshine outfit ever capture in the county.
Mr. Zink was reared in Howard township and is well known in this section. His friends were surprised to learn of his arrest on a charge of this nature.