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Rumrunners get creative to beat Prohibition

by DrewLUD
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“I don’t believe whisky is being run to either the Jersey or Delaware coasts,” W. J. Burbage, a Lewes shipping agent, told the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger in July 1921, the second year of nationwide Prohibition.

“What would be the object of skippers bringing it so far north, with all the attendant risk, when they can find as ready a market nearer the Bahamas, on our Southern coast?”

The Philadelphia newspaper added, “The Lewes Methodist minister, the Rev. Mr. Davis, says that after an investigation extending over two years, he is convinced likewise that there is no rum running in Delaware.” Burbage and Davis were wrong.

Law enforcement officials pour whiskey down the drain during prohibition.

Before the start of Prohibition, southern Delaware residents had years of experience in evading anti-alcohol laws. In the early 20th century, Delaware allowed a local option to ban alcohol; and in 1907, Sussex County went officially “Dry.”

Residents of southern Delaware, however, quickly learned to evade the local prohibition on alcohol. In 1913, The Oakland Tribune reported that New England fishermen anchored behind the breakwater, and they were selling mackerel stuffed with small bottles of liquor, pints and half pints, with the slogan, “Buy a mackerel and get a big drink.”

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service