The license system was not put in operation in this county without a vigorous opposition on the part of the temperance people. So far as I can ascertain, the first attempt to obtain license to sell liquor in this county was in the summer or fall of 1867, when J. Q. Cowell, who was running a small drug store in Oswego, got a sufficiently signed petition to authorize the issuance of a license; but before it was presented to the board, H. C. Bridgman, who was conducting a general store next to his, in some way got possession of the petition and destroyed it. This seems to have been the last attempt made by Cowell to get a license, but probably not the last attempt to sell liquor. The sales, however, if made, were without any authority of law.
Some time after this transaction John R. Clover got a petition containing sufficient signatures to authorize a license to be issued to him, but Mrs. Augusta Herbaugh managed to get possession of it, and it suffered a fate similar to Mr. Cowell's.
In the county was kept at the northwest corner of block 39, in Oswego, by Jones & Stewart, who on January 11, 1868, presented to the, board of county commissioners a petition said to contain the names of a majority of the residents of Oswego township, asking that a license to sell liquor be granted to them. The board granted this petition, and directed the clerk to issue license for one year, upon the payment by said Jones & Stewart of the sum of $50. This firm soon sold out to H. E. Porter and A. J. DeCou, the latter of whom in a few weeks sold his interest to his partner, and thereafter Mr. Porter ran the business alone. This saloon had been running less than seven months, when, on the night of August 6th, J. C. Wheeler and Charles Van Alstine, with several more persons, spent the evening there in drinking and carousing until after midnight. Van Alstine and Wheeler got into a dispute over the question of indebtedness of the latter to the former, and after leaving the saloon, under the influence of liquor, remained by the side of the building disputing for some time, until all the other parties had gone away, and H. E. Porter, the bar-keeper, had closed the door. The next morning Wheeler was found by the saloon unconscious, his bead bruised by blows from a club, from which he soon thereafter died. Van Alstine was arrested, and at the next term of court was convicted of murder in the second degree and sentenced to the penitentiary for ten years. I am informed that his family was left to be provided for by the public, as was also the family of Wheeler. Subsequently the commissioners paid the expense of sending Wheeler's children back to their friends in Ohio. The cost to the county of convicting and sending Van Alstine to the penitentiary, and caring for the destitute families of the murderer and his victim, is said to have been over $2,000. Comparing this sum paid out of the public treasury, for a matter which may fairly be said to be traceable directly to the saloon as its cause, with the paltry sum of $50 paid into the county treasury for the saloon license, the transaction would not look like a very profitable one for the public to engage in.
The next party authorized by the board to make drunkards according to law was William B. Gregory, who on May 16, 1868, presented to the board a petition signed by 182 citizens of Richland township, asking that he be granted a dramshop license for said township. Whereupon the board ordered that, upon the payment of $100 into the county treasury, license be granted him for one year from that date. The last action of the board preceding their granting Gregory license to keep a saloon was their appointment of him to the office of constable of said township.
The practical workings of this licensed saloon do not seem to have been altogether satisfactory to the people of Chetopa. On February 9, 1869, a large temperance meeting was held at Spaulding's hall, at which stirring temperance speeches were made by a number of citizens, and also by Rev. C. R. Rice, who had remained over a day or two after his quarterly meeting. Strong resolutions were passed denouncing those who were disgracing the town with their drunkenness, and calling upon the officers to see that the law was enforced. Temperance meetings were frequently held subsequently to this, and a temperance organization was effected. About the same time attempts were made by other parties to obtain license, but with less success.
On July 21, 1868, a petition dated July 6, 1868, was presented to the board, asking them "to grant Charles Sipes a license to keep a grocery and first-class billiard saloon" in Oswego; whereupon, "the board having considered said petition, and being satisfied that said petition is not made by a majority of the residents in said township as the law requires, and that the masses of the citizens are opposed to the granting of dramshop license in said township, as evidenced by the remonstrance presented to this board, therefore said petition is not granted." On the same day the record shows that W. S. Newlon presented to the board the following petition:
"To the County Board of Labette County, Kansas: The undersigned, residents of Oswego township, over the age of 21 years, respectfully ask you not to grant license to establish a dramshop at Oswego at your next meeting.
And then follows their action thereon:
"And the board having duly considered the same, do and it is hereby ordered that the board will not bind or circumscribe its powers, but will endeavor to act at all times and upon all subjects according to law and justice. Wherefore, said petition is not granted."
There seems to have been no other saloon license granted until January 7, 1869, when John R. Clover and H. H. Stanley were granted a license on a petition said to contain the names of a majority of the citizens of Oswego township. The record shows that Commissioner Molesworth voted to fix the amount charged for the license at $500, but that Commissioners Logan and Butterworth agreed to charge but $100 therefor. A year thereafter these parties had their license renewed by the commissioners, at the same price.
After 1870, Oswego and Chetopa being organized under city government, the manner of regulating the sale of liquor in these places passed from the board of county commissioners to that of the city council. The jurisdiction of the commissioners was confined to the rest of the county.
The first record which I have found of a license being applied for outside of Richland and Oswego townships was that of Thomas Phillips to keep a saloon in Montana; this was at the meeting of the board in January, 1872. A remonstrance was also presented, and the license was refused. However, at their meeting in July of the same year the board granted a license to William T. Trapp, for a fee of $150. This was not the first saloon, however, that was kept in Montana. Several parties at different times were engaged in the saloon business who conducted it in defiance of law.
At the January, 1874, meeting of the board, two saloons were authorized to be licensed in Montana, at a fee of $100 each - one to be kept by Edward Wilcox, and the other by William T. Trapp and Andrew Dixon.
On February 2, 1875, J. S. Waters presented the petition of himself and 168 others, asking that license be granted to Andrew Dixon, and on the same day the petition was granted, the fee to be charged therefor to be $300; but soon thereafter Mr. Waters appeared before the commissioners and recommended that the fee be but $100. On consideration, the board finally fixed the fee at $200. In 1876 Dixon's license was again renewed, the fee charged this time being but $100. It was not long after its renewal until Mrs. Waters appeared before the board and showed that some of the names on the petition for license were not legal petitioners, and she succeeded in getting the board to make an order revoking the license. At the next meeting, however, Mr. Dixon appeared with his attorney before the board, and by making them believe that they had no authority to revoke a license once granted, induced them to rescind their former action and leave his license in force.
It was not long after the town of Labette was started until saloons were opened and run without the sanction of law, and yet without receiving any great amount of molestation from the law officers.
During 1872 and 1873 there was little organized effort at any place in the county to prevent the obtaining of license, or for the purpose of seeing that the law against illegal sales was practically enforced. Some temperance meetings were held, and some protests were made by the temperance people, but nothing very effective was done.
The spring and summer of 1874 was one of the most exciting times upon the temperance question that had ever been known in the county. The spirit of the "crusaders," which in many places in the East had led the women to make raids on the saloons and pour liquor into the gutter, manifested itself in this county in a milder but scarcely less determined form. No saloons were raided, but in Oswego the women held prayer meetings in the churches, and visited the saloons and requested the proprietors to give up their business. Of course these requests were not complied with. But the ladies' organization was kept up, the entire city was thoroughly canvassed, immense petitions were secured praying the council to issue no license at all, and demanding that the law, requiring a petition of a majority of the residents of the ward to be presented before a license should be issued, should be enforced. At that time the law of the State required a petition of a majority of the residents of the township or ward, male and female, to be presented requesting such action before any dramshop license could be granted, but provided that the mayor and council of cities of the first and second class might, by ordinance, dispense with such petition. At the request of the ladies the mayor called a special meeting of the council, which was held on May 4, 1874, at which time a large delegation of ladies appeared before the council and presented their petitions, and had several arguments made in favor of carrying out the spirit expressed therein. Prior to this no ordinance had been passed dispensing with the necessity of a petition, but the council had entirely disregarded the law requiring a petition, and had uniformly granted license on the simple petition of the applicant himself. It now being apparent that such action would not be tolerated, at the close of the argument in favor of granting the ladies' petition, a motion was made instructing the committee to prepare and present an ordinance to dispense with the necessity of a petition by a majority of the residents of the ward, as they were authorized to do by statute. The vote on the passage of this motion resulted in a tie of the council, and the mayor gave the casting vote in opposition thereto, thus establishing the rule that licensed saloons could not exist in any ward until a majority of the adult residents, thereof, male and female, should petition therefor. For this action the mayor received a vote of thanks from the ladies' association,
Less than a week later another meeting of the council was called, at which an ordinance dispensing with the necessity for a petition containing the names of a majority of the residents of the ward before a license could be granted was introduced, and on motion to adopt the same the vote of the council, as at the previous meeting, stood a tie, and the mayor gave the casting vote in favor of its passage, and thereby inaugurated the policy in the form of law, which since the incorporation of the city had been practiced in defiance of law, of allowing the mayor and council to grant license without an express wish of the people therefor. This action on the part of the mayor and council created great excitement. A public meeting was immediately called, and strong resolutions of disapprobation of this action were unanimously passed. Temperance meetings continued to be held and public sentiment aroused.
At the time Oswego was having this earnest action, rousing temperance meetings were held weekly at Parsons, and were addressed by leading and influential citizens, as well as by the clergy. A little later, similar steps were taken at Chetopa. Public meetings were held and speeches made disapproving the licensing of saloons, and petitions were circulated and largely signed asking the council to grant no license until petitioned far by a majority of the residents of the ward as required by law. These petitions, however, were unavailing, and at the close of the month a large number of saloons were licensed over the earnest protest of the temperance people.
The temperance people were now intent on preventing the issuance of license in the cities unless the same were petitioned for by a majority of the residents of the ward; and at the county temperance convention held on October 6, 1874, on motion of Nelson Case it was unanimously -
"Resolved, That we are in favor of the immediate repeal of the Proviso of section 1 of the dramshop act, and request our entire delegation in the Legislature to use their utmost exertions to secure such result."
Early in 1874 a party decided it would be a profitable thing to open a saloon in Mound Valley, and set about obtaining a petition asking the commissioners to grant him a license for that purpose. As soon as this was known a public meeting was called and held at the school-house, on February 2d, and rousing temperance speeches were made, and a determination expressed that no saloon should be opened in that place. A remonstrance was circulated, and a large majority of the people signed the same. During the winter of 1873-74 the temperance sentiment in Chetopa was sustained by the maintenance of the weekly temperance literary society, in which a temperance paper was read, temperance debates were had, and all phases of the question were discussed. Nearly all of the temperance workers in the place took part in this society.
On July 8, 1877, quite a number of the men of Oswego who were in the habit of indulging somewhat freely in intoxicating liquors organized themselves into a reform club, with William Wells as president and L. C. Howard as secretary. The purpose of the club was to assist its members either in abstaining altogether from the use of liquor, or to abstain therefrom excepting under certain conditions.
As early as 1870 Max Muehlschuster started a brewery on the Neosho river at Chetopa, and soon opened in connection therewith a beer garden on the east side of the river. These were conducted by him until his death, in July, 1871.
In 1870 a building for a brewery was erected in the north edge of Oswego by John Seiber and Edward Eckle, but on account of financial embarrassment on the part of the proprietors it was never put in operation.
Early in 1873 John Apperger commenced the construction of a brewery just on the brow of the hill in the east part of Oswego, south of the section-line road running to Columbus, which was dedicated by a free-beer frolic on Sunday, April 21, 1873. Apperger ran the brewery for some four years, but finally, in November, 1877, it was closed by the collector of internal revenue for illicit transactions, and soon thereafter Apperger moved away.
Murphy meetings in the county commenced in Oswego, where, about the 1st of October, 1877, a series of meetings was begun in the Methodist church, under the general direction of the pastor, which were kept up nightly for quite a length of time, and at which nearly all of the citizens who at any time spoke in public, as well as persons from abroad, made speeches. Miss Amanda Way was present on one or two occasions. The meetings resulted in securing the signatures of over 500 of the citizens to the Murphy pledge. At its close steps were taken for opening a library and reading-room.
Soon after the opening of the meetings in Oswego a series of meetings was held at Chetopa, conducted by Mrs. S. A. Williams, which resulted in securing something like 600 signatures to the Murphy pledge.
About the same time similar meetings were conducted at Parsons by Miss Amanda Way, at which about 800 parties took the Murphy pledge. Steps were taken at the close of these meetings looking to the opening of a free reading-room.
During that winter Murphy meetings were held in a large number of the school-houses throughout the county, especially in the southern part. T. J. Calvin took a leading part in getting them started, and provided for their being frequently conducted. From these temperance meetings organizations were secured in the Baylor school-house, with W. G. Baylor as president, and in the Lockard school-house, with A. B. Hammer as president. At Montana during the same period, Murphy meetings were scarcely less successful than at either of the other points in the county. The whole neighborhood was thoroughly aroused, and a very large proportion of the people took the pledge.
On May 28, 1877, the city council of Parsons by unanimous vote passed an ordinance requiring the presentation of a petition of a majority of the residents of a ward in order to obtain a license. The mayor, however, vetoed this ordinance, and the council declined to pass it over his veto. The strong argument against the passage of the ordinance seemed to be that thereby some of the nine saloons then running in the city would not be able to procure the necessary petition; and the city would thereby be deprived of the $200 fee charged therefor. A public meeting was had, at which a vote of thanks was tendered the three councilmen who voted for the passage of the ordinance notwithstanding the mayor's veto.
Following up the Murphy movement in Oswego, petitions were presented to the council requesting the repeal of the ordinance dispensing with the necessity of petition, in compliance with which the council did, on November 2, 1877, repeal the ordinance on that subject, and thereby made it practically certain that licensed saloons must cease with the last of the year, for with the sentiment as it then existed, there was no probability of anyone obtaining a sufficient petition to entitle the council to grant license, were they so disposed. On the 1st of January, 1878, Oswego for the first time since the granting of the first license ten years before, was without a licensed saloon; nor did she have one running during the next three months. In February, 1878, C. B. Woodford presented a petition sufficiently signed to authorize the council to issue a license, provided they had chosen to issue it, for the purpose of selling "spirituous, vinous, and malt liquors in this city for medical, culinary, sacramental and mechanical purposes." Signatures to this petition were obtained on the theory that it was not for the purpose of securing license to open a saloon, but only for the sale of liquor for the purposes therein named. However, the council refused to grant the petition, and passed a preamble and a resolution that no license would be issued until after the people had had an opportunity to express themselves at the polls whether they desired license to be restored. At the city election the only question was whether or not a mayor and council should be elected in favor of granting license, and the people decided in favor of license by a majority of more than 100. Of course with such a verdict in favor of a change of policy from that which had been pursued for the three months past, the council was not long in granting licenses to those who had been anxiously waiting for an opportunity to open saloons, and from this time on until the State prohibitory law went into effect Oswego was able to furnish those who wished to buy, all the liquor they needed, not only for "culinary and medicinal," but also for intoxicating purposes.
On January 1, 1878, in compliance with request of a petition very largely signed by the citizens of Chetopa, the mayor and council of that city unanimously passed an ordinance repealing the ordinance then in force dispensing With petition, thereby making it incumbent on the applicant for license to get a majority of the ward, male and female, to petition therefor before he could obtain license to sell liquor. It was supposed that this would be sufficient to do away with saloons in that town. However, just one week thereafter a petition of the residents of the First Ward was presented to the council, containing the requisite number of signatures, and a saloon was duly licensed. From that time the temperance war was carried on in earnest. Public meetings were frequently held, and every step possible taken to consolidate the sentiment in favor of no-license. This Was the direct issue at the city election in April, 1878, and by a small majority the temperance people succeeded in electing officers opposed to the issuance of any license. At the expiration of the licenses then in existence, on June 30, legalized saloons ceased in Chetopa, and were not again introduced. In the spring of 1879 little interest was taken in the election, and the result was that one license councilman was elected, which made the council stand a tie. Soon thereafter, petitions were circulated to secure signatures asking that license again be granted. A vacancy soon occurred in the city council; a special election resulted in the election of a temperance man, which again gave a clear majority of the council opposed to license, and thereby. as was supposed, determined the matter of saloons for another year. But later in the season further efforts were made by the liquor men to obtain license, and by direction of the council the mayor called a special election, to be held on September 23, 1879, of all persons of lawful age, both male and female, to determine by ballot whether or not the council should grant dramshop license. The vote was taken, resulting in 66 men and 113 women voting against the license, and not one vote in favor thereof. Prior to the election in April,, 1880, a vigorous effort was made to arouse the temperance sentiment both in the town and surrounding country. Petitions were sent out to secure the signatures of farmers who preferred to trade in a temperance town, and of course a vast majority of them signed it. The election, however, resulted in the choice of one councilman opposed to license and one in favor, thereby making the council a tie upon that question.
OSWEGO. - The first lodge of this order established in the county was organized at Oswego on November 14, 1869. Several temperance workers, feeling the necessity for something being done to save young men from drunkenness, applied to the officers of the grand lodge for a charter. J. J. Browne was appointed deputy to institute the lodge; Nelson Case was elected W. C. T., and A. B. Close, W. S. After some years this lodge became somewhat disorganized. On May 10, 1876, a district Good Templars' meeting was held at the Congregational church in Oswego, at which steps were taken to reorganize a lodge at this place. A number of persons signified their willingness to go into such an organization, and a lodge was soon thereafter instituted, which, with more or less regularity, maintained its existence until June, 1882, when, prohibition having been adopted, its members deemed it unwise longer to continue its operation, and it was suspended. The money in the treasury, amounting to $30, was donated to the library association.
CHETOPA. - The second lodge formed in the county was organized at Chetopa, where. by the aid of the members from the Oswego lodge, one was instituted on January 24, 1870, with G. L. Courtney as W. C. T., and S. T. Beck, W. S. With some interruptions a lodge was maintained at Chetopa as late as 1877. Lodges were had at one time at Montana, the Lockard school-house, the Breese school-house, and probably at other points in the county. None of these were of very long duration.
MOUND VALLEY. - 0n October 10, 1877, under the leadership of Mrs. Williams, a grand lodge deputy, a lodge was instituted at Mound Valley. and was maintained, for some eight years, when it became disorganized. Robert R. Coleman was its first W. C. T., and lie and his family were active workers during the history of the lodge. November 2, 1885, a reorganization was had, and the lodge from this time was maintained regularly till May 9, 1887, when it was again discontinued. Very much of the temperance sentiment of Mound Valley may be ascribed to the principles instilled into the minds of the young, and to the correct temperance education given in this lodge.
PARSONS. - On November 12, 1874, through the instrumentality of Rev. J. P. Hight, a lodge was organized with M. G. Brown as W. C. T.; Mrs. M. M. Hill, W. V. T.; Jas. Grimes, W. S.; M. Johnson, W. T. With slight interruptions the lodge maintained its organization until the adoption of the prohibitory amendment, after which time it was allowed to die. Mr. Grimes, who was the first secretary of this lodge, afterward, became quite prominent in the order, being at one time secretary and afterward G. W. C. T. of the grand lodge of the State, and several times represented the State in the R. W. G. lodge.
In 1877 local organizations of the Christian Temperance Union were formed at two or three places in the county. On October 25th one was formed at Chetopa, with T. J. Calvin, president, and J. M. Cavaness, secretary. Sometime that fall or winter one was formed at Oswego, and one also existed at Montana. On March 20, 1878, a county union was formed, with H. G. Webb, president; Mary A. Higby, secretary; Robert L. Curl, treasurer; and J. S. Waters, organizer.
LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS. - The illegal sale of liquor in Altamont, resulting in the repeated and continued intoxication of several men, became so unbearable that in July. 1884, there was organized the Ladies' Temperance Alliance, with Mrs. Lizzie Hughes as president. This organization did much good in creating a public sentiment in favor of putting a stop to the illegal sale of liquor, and inducing those who were drinking to refrain therefrom.
In 1883 the ladies of Mound Valley maintained a local union which rendered efficient aid to the cause in the way of encouraging and aiding those who were engaged in securing the enforcement of the law.
The Oswego Temperance Union was formed in January, 1880, and under its management the entire city was canvassed for signers to a pledge against the use of liquor and also against aiding in securing a license for a saloon.
On November 16, 1883, a union was organized in Chetopa by Mrs. Drusilla Wilson. Mrs. Julia R. Knight was elected president; Miss Agnes Baty, recording secretary; Mrs. Nancy Anderson, corresponding secretary; and Mrs. Isabel Cavaness, treasurer. About July 28, 1880, a union was formed at Parsons, wih[sic] Mrs. A. Nealy, secretary. On March 5, 188S, Mrs. M. E. Griffith, State organizer, held a week's meeting at Mound Valley, and at its close organized a union. After contin uing its operation for a few months this organization became disbanded, but on August 10, 1886, it was reorganized, with Mrs. E. A. West, president, and Mrs. H. Beggs, secretary. This union still maintains a vigorous organization.
On March 2, 1885, a union was formed at Oswego, with Mrs. E. Elliott, president and Mrs. Lydia A. Baldwin, secretary. Among the other ladies who were associated with them in this work were Mrs. Augusta Herbaugh, Mrs. Mary E. Case, Mrs. Sallie J. Stonecipher and Mrs. M. L. Newlon.
In March, 1886, delegates from the several unions in the county met and organized a county union, electing Mrs. Z. L. Janes, of Parsons, president, and Mrs. E. A. West, of Mound Valley, secretary. Mrs. West was re-elected secretary in 1887 and 1888. In 1887 Mrs. E. W. Ross was elected president, and Miss M. E. Scott, in 1888. Mrs. Hattie A. Coleman was first elected secretary in 1889.
Early in 1880 steps were taken by the temperance people of the county to thoroughly present the claims of the pending constitutional amendment, to prohibit the sale and manufacture of intoxicating liquors, to the intelligent and conscientious consideration of the, electors of the county. In August, 1880, Mrs. Lang lectured at Chetopa, at the close of which a prohibition society was formed, which soon hereafter adopted a constitution, and elected C. H. McCreery, president, and F. D. Allen, secretary. In Elm Grove township a healthy prohibition club was organized early in September, with the avowed intention of thoroughly canvassing the township. In the same month a series of meetings lasting over a week was held at Oswego, at which E. B. Reynolds, of Indiana, and Col. C. N. Golding were the principal speakers. During that fall nearly all of the prominent workers in the county were engaged more or less in canvassing for the amendment. The cause was aided very materially by prominent workers from abroad, among whom in addition to those above named, may be mentioned Gov. St. John, Judge Layton, Frank J. Sibley, and George W. Bain. The result of the effort was, that at the election in November 2,082 votes were polled for the amendment and 2,123 against it. While the friends of temperance had hoped to have a majority in favor of prohibition, they felt quite well satisfied that the result was so small a majority against it. The constitutional amendment having been adopted in the State, and the law for its enforcement having gone into effect on May 1, 1881, it was not long until most of the saloons were closed. A few held out with the idea that the law would not beenforced, but the majority in that business preferred to transfer their operations to more favorable fields.
On May 1, 1882, the temperance people of the county celebrated the first anniversary of prohibition by a public meeting held at Oswego. Gov. St. John was present, and made the principal address. The day was unfavorable, a heavy rain falling almost continually from 9 o'clock until after the proceedings had closed; yet notwithstanding this, an immense crowd assembled, coming from nearly all parts of the county. Even the enemies of prohibition had to concede that the celebration was a success, and its friends were strengthened in their determination to see the saloon permanently driven out.
It was not long after this, however, until the friends of prohibition in the county who were gifted with any measure of discernment were satisfied that its enforcement meant a long and hard struggle. Those who had been accustomed to reap the enormous profits which are incident to the sale of liquor, and whose disposition was to furnish all means possible for man's downfall, were not disposed to surrender the privilege they had for such a length of time enjoyed, so long as they could find any means by which they could successfully defy the law. The number of those engaged in the traffic being so much larger at Parsons than at any other point in the county, they, having more capital invested in the undertaking made that the headquarters for the liquor-men of the county.
E. R. Marvin, the proprietor of the Belmont House, was the leader of this law-defying class. As good attorneys as could be found in the county were employed in the defense of Marvin, and those arrested with him, for the violation of the law. A protracted legal contest ensued, in which for a time it seemed as though the defyers of the law were to be triumphant because of the inability to secure a jury who would render a verdict of conviction even when the most positive and convincing testimony was presented to them. Occasionally, however, a jury of honest men could be secured, and witnesses who knew something of the obligations of an oath could be put upon the stand, in which case verdicts of guilt were found. To aid the officers in the enforcement of this law, various local organizations were formed from time to time as necessity seemed to require, and the wisdom of the temperance people judged advisable. The first of these which was at all prominent and effective was the Labette County Law Enforcement Society, which was organized in the court-house in Oswego January 27, 1883; Rev. John Elliott was elected president; W. L. Simons, vice-president; A. A. Osgood, secretary; and J. M. Bowman, treasurer. This meeting was largely attended by delegates from all parts of the county. Prior to this, however, local organizations had been formed in Oswego, Chetopa, and Parsons. In July, 1882, a prohibition association was formed at Oswego. The Law Enforcement Society continued in force for some two years, during which it raised quite large sums of money with which to employ counsel to assist the county attorney and to meet the expenses necessary to a protracted litigation. It was thought best to raise this money by private subscription, so that the public expenses attendant on the enforcement of the law would not make it obnoxious to those tax-payers who might not have any particular interest in seeing it made a success.
On May 9, 1885, Hon. Albert Griffin lectured in Oswego, and at the close of the lecture a committee consisting of Nelson Case, of Oswego, T. J. Calvin, of Chetopa, and Rev. H. A. Tucker, of Parsons, was appointed to effect a county organization. Thereafter, on October 20, 1885, the Labette County Temperance Union was organized, at the office of Nelson Case, in Oswego, a public meeting having been called at said office for that purpose. Rev. H. A. Tucker was elected president; several parties in different parts of the county, vice-presidents; Nelson Case, secretary; and C. U. Dorman, treasurer. This organization proved more effective than any that had hitherto been formed for the purpose of enforcing the prohibitory law. Mr. Tucker devoted a large amount of time canvassing the county, forming local associations, creating public sentiment in favor of the law, and uniting the earnest temperance workers into a solid organization for active duty. The result was that every saloon in the county was closed; scarcely a "boot-legger" or "jointist" was foolhardy enough to risk his liberty for the amount of profits to be realized from the sales he could hope to make. Not a very large amount of money was raised or expended by this organization, but a very large amount of earnest work was done by a few who were determined to see that the law was enforced, and it was practically demonstrated that prohibition could be made to prohibit when the officers, backed by a healthy public sentiment, were determined that it should be.
There has never been a time when the prohibitory liquor law could not be enforced in this county. Much of the time it has been fairly well enforced. But some of the time there has been a good deal of illegal selling, both by those running joints with no pretense of law to justify them, and by so called druggists who had obtained permits. Other movements, similar to the one started in 1885, followed in subsequent years. Law enforcement organizations have been formed that have done much toward strengthening, and in some cases Compelling, the officers to enforce the law. Experience has practically demonstrated that when the public officers were as much in sympathy with the enforcement of this law, as they were with that of other criminal laws, they had really no more difficulty in enforcing this law than they had in enforcing any other; but, oil the other hand, When they were bent on giving the liquor seller protection, or were indifferent as to the result, it has been hard work for private citizens to secure a closing up of joints, and a punishment of those engaged in the illegal traffic.
It was thought by some that the druggists who bad been licensed to sell liquor tinder the law during 1882 had sold a larger quantity than was really needed for "medicinal, scientific. and mechanical purposes." With the opening of 1883 the probate judge, while yet there was no law requiring reports to be made by those licensed to sell liquor, prepared blanks which he distributed to all of the druggists to whom license had been granted, requesting them to make monthly reports, verified by their affidavit to be true and correct, showing under the following heads what they had done in the way of making sales, viz.: "No. of sale," "Date," "Name of physician making prescription," "Person for whom liquor was prescribed," "Person to whom liquor was delivered," "Kind of liquor sold." "Amount of liquor sold." Most of the druggists complied with this request without objection, and made their reports. Some of the reports showed a very large amount of liquor sold., and whether or not it was sold illegally seemed to depend principally upon whether or not the druggist had a right to fill all prescriptions made by practicing physicians, or whether he was bound to know that a prescription for liquor every day or oftener was in fact a subterfuge in order to enable the party to procure liquor to use as a beverage and not as a medicine. It became evident that the great bulk of prescriptions were made by a few physicians, and that they were made regularly to parties who thus obtained liquor almost as frequently as was desired.
Some druggists refused to make reports as I requested; to all such the probate judge refused to renew their license when those that had already been given had expired. This caused a little friction, but in the end the plan adopted very largely secured the end sought, viz., to license only the druggists who were found not to abuse the privilege of the permit and under cover of the druggists' license carry on a real saloon. Two years after the adoption of this policy by the probate judge, the Legislature enacted a law substantially requring what he had been doing without any law on the subject. It was found that very few responsible druggists cared to have the files of a public office contain the evidence of their carrying on a saloon business. In many ways the practice of requiring reports to be made, and thus giving publicity to all sales of liquor, was found to be conducive to the cause of temperance and to tend to lessen the amount of liquor sold and consumed. Still, as time went on, the druggists very generally became indifferent to the kind of a showing their reports made, and many of them, for considerable periods of time, did what would seem to be an extensive saloon business. In passing upon their applications for permits, the probate judge did not always look to the evidence their reports furnished as to whether or not the applicant was doing a legitimate druggist's business or was using his permit as a cover for running a saloon. The weakness of a system is best tested by its results in actual practice. Evidently some better remedy must be found than has yet been put in practice for reaching those who deliberately and persistently violate the Spirit, if not the letter, of their permits.
In April, 1890, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a cause brought there by writ of error from the Supreme Court of Iowa, decided that a liquor-seller in one State might send his liquors into another, there to be sold in the original packages as they were shipped, notwithstanding the laws of the latter State absolutely prohibited the sale of liquor within its, boundaries. This decision announced a rule entirely opposed to the opinion which was generally entertained by the legal profession respecting the clause of the Federal Constitution. giving to Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce; and by virtue of it a century's practice of police regulation was upset, and a new system instituted as contrary thereto as could have been effected by a legislative enactment. Seldom has anything transpired which has been hailed by the saloon-men with a greater degree of delight than was manifested by them on the announcement of this decision. They were not long in making their arrangements to open saloons under the designation of original-package houses" in nearly every town where public sentiment would at all tolerate them. In many places the temperance people made such a bold resistance to their. introduction that the proprietors deemed it unwise to, force them upon the people.
This state of things was not left to be continued for a great length of time under the sanction of law. On August 8, 1890, the Congressional enactment known as the Wilson bill was approved, whereby the old rule of allowing the States under their power of police regulation to prescribe such rules as they desired, governing or prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors within their respective jurisdictions, was revived. Very soon thereafter the original-package saloon, like its predecessor of some other name, took its departure from our county.
A party brought a lot of liquors to Oswego, and attempted to rent a room in which to open out an originalpackage saloon. He found trouble in securing a room. Finally some one, to see what effect it would have, got a sign painted and put it up over the door of a vacant room belonging to John Clover. The town was soon astir with excitement. Mrs. Clover came up town, and, learning of the sign being on their building, at once proceeded to have it torn down. The determined opposition to the opening of such a saloon deterred any farther attempt in that direction.
In both Parsons and Chetopa these original-package houses were opened, several in both places running until after the passage of the Wilson bill. As is often done by saloonmen, those opening these houses were not content to sell under the law as it had been interpreted by the court granting them the authority so to do, but, disregarding the legal restrictions which the law had thrown around the sale, they carried on an open saloon. Prosecutions were soon commenced against them, and probably had the Wilson bill not been passed most of these houses could have been closed and their proprietors confined in the county jail; but the passage of the law and the criminal prosecutions instituted by our officials effectively removed from our boundaries the last originalpackage house.
Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901
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