could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:


The law

In 1916, Nebraskans voted to pass an amendment to outlaw the manufacturing, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors.

Prohibition went into effect in Nebraska on May 1, 1917.  Nearly two years later Congress ratified the 18th Amendment in 1919.  Not long after the law passed in Nebraska, illegal stills began popping up across the state.

Prohibition ended in Nebraska in 1933 when voters repealed the state’s constitutional prohibition by a 60 to 40 percent margin.

General Observations About Buffalo County

County Court records 1928-1931, now part of the Archives collection, show warrants issued for illegal production of alcoholic beverages.

Eleven warrants were issued in this 18-month period

Locations: one each in Shelton and Odessa; three in Kearney.
Five in country near Ravenna, Shelton, Elm Creek & two near Gibbon (but in different directions)

There were no illegal liquor cases all winter, 1929-1930 – waiting for next crop of grain to grow and ripen??

Fine was usually $100 + costs

Specifics About the Warrents

Warrants issued, no stills found:

1. (A warrant for a place but unknown residents) Search warrant for farm home 1½ mile northwest of Elm Creek, home of _____ Smith, John Doe, Mary Doe for intoxicating liquor, hootch, beer, alcohol, wine, whiskey

[No report of any findings]

2. (Quite specific) Roy was accused of keeping a still and other equipment, mash, and other materials used to manufacture intoxicating beverages on the second floor of a building a block south of the Union Pacific railroad track in Shelton.
        The warrant was returned several days later with the report of “No goods found.”

3. Phillip was believed to have stills and other equipment, mash and materials for manufacturing of intoxicating liquors in a private dwelling house west of Kearney.
        Warrant issued, no goods found

4. Jake, east of Gibbon, believed to have a still, equipment, & ingredients for manufacture intoxicating beverages
        In last month he was believed to be manufacturing and selling liquor
        Concealing liquor, mash, and stills in barrels, bottles, casks, and cases in rooms, walls, or beneath the floor.

        A search warrant was issued. Sixty-six bottles of beer were found.

        Charged with possession of more than 70 bottles of beer
        Arrested, plead guilty, and was fined $100 plus costs of $4.80.

        [Apparently the still was not found]

Warrants issued, stills found

1. A search warrant was issued for a place near Shelton turned up 6 bushels of mash and other material and equipment for manufacture of intoxicating liquors.

2. Joe in Kearney, arrested for having a still and 3-4 gallons of liquor
        Bound over to district court for trial

3. Walter and John were charged with having a still at Walter’s home southwest of Gibbon
        During the search they were found to have two still equipment, mash, and liquor in their possession
        Charges were filed

4. Search warrant for residence of a man living in Odessa in a house described as a “place for the manufacture of and a resort for drinking intoxicating liquors”
        His supplies were found in rooms, in wells and beneath floors.

5. John of Kearney was arrested for possession of 3 gallon jugs of whiskey and 20 pints of beer which he had manufactured.
        Arrested, plead guilty to possession, but not to manufacturing it; fined $100
        Bond was set at $500.
        He could not pay either the fine or the bond so he went to jail with credit for 7 days time served

        6 ½ years later – News Headline: Cab Driver Not to Blame for Death
            About 10:30 on a dark December night, John was walking along the side of the road near the Burlington
            tracks. He walked directly in front of the cab when the driver sounded his horn. John was survived by his
            wife and a number of children.

6. A search warrant for a place halfway between Shelton and Ravenna found 45 gallons of whiskey, 10 barrels of mash, 1 “red hot” still, and bodies of Robert, 23, and Karl, 45 [the bodies were live]

        Charged; bond set at $1000 for each which neither could pay so they were jailed
        [Case went on to District Court]

        Further research show both men were from Shelton

        Robert: went on to live in Shelton, raise a family, employed shearing sheep
                    Buried in the Shelton Cemetery

        Karl: Born in Germany, immigrated in 1909 at age 25
                The still was probably found on his farm
                When he was 33 he married Mabel, 14
                When he died, he was buried in Shelton Cemetery
                Mabel remarried; died 1 day short of her 99th birthday; buried beside Karl

7. Search warrant for Ray in Kearney; arrested, charged, and bound over for district court.

        (Hub report) Make A Big Haul Of Beer

        Still Apparently Operated in a U. P. Box Car
            Finding a small amount of hootch and a few bottles of beer in the bushes on east 27th street led police to the
            largest haul of beer ever credited to the department.

            Miniature brewery in a box car on a siding near Optic
                (where a string of grain cars had been set aside for harvest)

            Nearly 600 quart bottles of beer and brew in various stages, bottles, caps & cappers.

            20 cases were brought to city as evidence, car padlocked.
            about 32 cases were left for railroad special agent to decide what action to take.


Copyright ©   All rights reserved


You may use content from this web site for your personal, not-for-profit purposes only. 


 Search Our Site

Please send Mardi Anderson your comments/feedback

Revised: 02/04/2018