This story is from two articles in the Waterville Empire-Press. The main story is from the Oct. 27, 1921 edition and the follow-up story is from the Nov. 3, 1921 edition. This series of events caught my attention for a few reasons. First, the main story is the second consecutive week the paper wrote about a shooting with ties in the story to Mansfield. I will share the prior week’s story next week. Also, this story is related to prohibition, which ran from 1920 until 1933. This period in the history of the United States of America has always fascinated me as an era with noble intentions that caused many negative effects, especially the rise of organized crime. This is the first local story that I have seen related directly to prohibition. The last thing that wowed me is how quickly one of the people involved went through the justice system and was sent to the state penitentiary in Walla Walla. This is seen in the follow-up article that was published just one week later. Even with a guilty plea, I doubt that we would see such a quick hearing and sentencing today.
Unrelated to the articles, I also found an advertisement for new homes in the Oct. 27 issue. The cost of the brand-new homes were $1 down and $1 a day for 799 days with 8% interest on any deferred payments. Using an inflation calculator, I found online, the $800 in 1921 would be equivalent to $12,505.92 today. Considering the current housing prices in our area, I would say that the new homes in 1921 were a good deal.
Moonshine causes shooting affair; Sheriff finds still
About a week ago Joe Wilson, of Cold Spring Basin country, went to Mansfield with a bullet hole through his shoulder, to have Dr. Bridgham treat the wound. When questioned as to how it happened, he stated that they were scuffling with the gun in hand, and it accidentally was discharged. It was a 38 and the bullet went through his shoulder blade and out his back.
Sheriff Davis became suspicious of the matter when he heard it and started an investigation, with the result that he not only discovered that Wilson had been shot my Tom Murray, who gave his home as on the coast, after Wilson had whipped him, but also discovered a still on the Wilson place.
According to the evidence of the sheriff, the men had been drinking some of the stuff they were making and got into a fight. It seems Wilson gave Murray quite a beating and he became angry and got the gun and shot him. When they became sober both tried to keep the matter from being known.
The sheriff and deputy went to the Wilson ranch and there discovered a first class still in working order. Also 85 gallons of mash in two large barrels, made of corn and peaches. The keg, where the finished product had been kept, was empty.
Murray is now in jail, awaiting trial, and Wilson is out under bond.
The still was located in the barn, part of it in the loft and part down below. They had purchased the material to make it at Withrow.
Mr. Wilson is an old-timer in the section of the country, but Murray had only been there about a month.
Murray gets Walla Walla sentence
Tom Murray, who was arrested in company with Joe Wilson of the Cold Springs Basin country, on a charge of bootlegging, and to which charge he pleaded guilty, was arraigned before Judge Hill Monday and given a sentence of from one to five years at Walla Walla.
Mr. Wilson’s hearing will be held later.