Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Good Old Days....

The people who know me really well -my friends and neighbors and a few other local folks -all know I love to learn about the history of the village where I was born, raised and still reside as well as the history of the Township here too.

One of the ways I use to learn various things about the area is via a subscription I have to which I use for some family tree research but mainly, my bigger interest in that subscription comes from searching and reading the archived pages from the local newspaper -The Clearfield Progress.

I had bunches and bunches of clips I transcribed from The Progress over a couple of years -all saved to floppy discs (because my other computer didn't have a read/write capacity for CDs, you see) and now, the A drive on this computer -for the floppies -won't work, so I can't access any of those many, many files until I get a new disc drive for this computer!

So, I started researching again on recently but using a different search term than I had previously used and right now, for the time being, I'm transcribing clips and articles I find over to Notepad files and will then later save all of them to cds.

I love to read these old articles -mainly for the way the reporters wrote way back when!

Here's an example of a piece I came across tonight. This was a front-page article in the newspaper here back in February of 1923 about a bootlegging operation that was "busted." I can't imagine a report like this being published today although I do think if more pieces were written like this, it might just stimulate a lot more people into returning to reading newspapers again!

Read this and tell me your thoughts about this piece. I saw a whole lot of humor in it when I read it and transcribed it, for sure!

This is all taken from the February 23, 1923 issue of The Clearfield Progress as found on's old newspaper records and files.

February 23, 1923 - page 1
Drifting Distiller and Grassflat and Winburne Retailers Caught by State

Police Squad
Officer Buys WHisky at Adamitz Hotel at Grassflat; Distiller's Wife a

Match for Dempsey.
During the European war the Germans always declared that Metz could not

be taken. Something of that spirit and belief was held by a lot fo

people with regard to the moonshining and illegal liquor selling in and

about Grassflat and other points in Cooper Township. But both Metz and

Grassflat have fallen and the banner of Mr. Volstead, the victor, has

been unfurled to the breeze on Knox Run Heights.

State Police officers, Working incognito, have been in the Cooper

territory for several days, during which time they secured evidence

sufficient to secure warrants for at least three malefactors. The first

crafty tactician to fall in the defense of personal liberty was Dan

FOlmar of Drifting whom the officers found presiding over a steaming ten

gallon still in his kitchen. In spite of Dan's protests that he was

"just makin' his own" the officers cruelly took the position that he was

manufacturing hard stuff and must make amends. They reasoned that Dan's

personal capacity must have known no bounds since the barrel the stuff

was flowing into was a forty gallon capacity and his cellar was full of

flasks ready for use.

The second font to fall was the Grass Flat Hotel, owned by Otto Adamitz,

now sojourning in Florida, while his son Russel, a youth under age,

operates the hotel. Young Adamitz sold the officers a quart of liquor

reported to be the real stuff at $12 per quart.

Then coming over to Winburne they made the acquaintance of Sandy Black

who slaked their thirst for a cash consideration.

After securing the evidence on the men complained of in numerous

complaints with the prohibition officials, the officers left the

territory. On Wednesday they returned to the field of their labors and

gathered in the violators. State Troopers H. W. Rodney and P. L. Boyer,

accompanied by County Detective Snyder and Constable Lee Sunderlin, went

first to the Folmer home but could neither find Dan nor get any

information as to his wherabouts. Later in the day they found the object

of their search in a mine hiding, after which they took him to his home

for a change of clothing in order that he might doll up as becomes a

prosperous moonshiner. His wife, however, was an unair obstacle in the

path of the officers. She bitterly attacked the officers and later

resorted to the use of her fists to prevent the arrest of her husband.

While she was planting a few stiff elbow hooks to the trooper's jaw, Dan

coached her with an "atta boy, good work, keep it up." It was **** Dan

was hustled in the waiting car that the round ended and the poor trooper

was able to massage his jowl and cheek. He was taken to Philipsburg for

a hearing after which he was remanded to jail in default of $1,000 bail.

Young Adamitz was the next man arrested but in his case was easily

procurable and he will have his liberty until the next term of court.

The arrest of Black was made in Philipsburg as he was about to board a

street car for Winburne and he too will have his mail directed to Fort

Lowell for some time to come.

These arrests are about the first relief that the Cooper Township

section has had under the prohibition law and this section was vieing

for first honors with Bigler Township. Mandy accepted the belief that

prohibition could not be enforced simply because no effort was being

made to enforce it and the men arrested all expressed themselves as very

much surprised at how easily they were taken across by the capable

officers sent to "get the goods"on them.

Many places in Grassflat particularly were under suspicion and it was

expected that the haul there would be much greater. There must be some

truth in the statement of one Grassflat citizen made some time ago when

he was directly accused by an officer of dealng in wet goods. He at

first denied that he ever sold any liquor but later told the officer

that in the early days he sold moonshine, as did others in the village,

but that there was one place where the thirsty traveler could get the

real stuff and he had to depend on home brew and the place selling the

real stuff put them all out of business.

Young Adamitz is under age and in charge of the hotel of his father Otto

Adamitz, who is spending the winter in the south.


Mary said...

Jeni, You're definitely right. I wish this kind of local news was still reported, but alas, these stories have faded into history.

We do get a 100 Years Ago feature in our newspaper on Saturdays, along with a 25 Years and 50 Years. It's scary that I remember some of the things from the 50 years features. Not good. LOL

Glad to know all is well at your house.


pomsand said...

Hi Jeni!
I love to read your stuff every morning. I love to read old newspaper articles also especially when they are about our area. Keep posting them. Sherri from up the street.

Linda said...

This reminds me of some old newspaper clippings that my grandmother used to have about local town happenings. I remember there was one about a baby shower of all things and they even mentioned what the women were wearing!

That would be so much more preferable than the type of news we get these days which is usually depressing!

terri said...

The article has such a dramatic effect and the reporter's attitude comes across clearly. No neutrality there, that's for sure. Love it! Now I'm curious to see if I can find archived editions of St. Paul's old newspapers. I'm sure they'r out there.

... Paige said...

there is a lot of story in old stories and your post does tend to make one courious about this big little train town

Suldog said...

I love the headlines: "... A Match For Dempsey" etc. - hilarious stuff. And I love old-time newspaper writing. It had so much more verve and life to it than most of today's. Some was truly witty, while most of what passes for wit these days is just snark.

Suzanne Lieurance said...

What a fun read!

It's interesting to see the word choices from back then as well as how the "news" was presented.

The sensory images in this piece definitely added some humor to the writing! I can just "picture" the guy trying to convince them he was just making his own moonshine when "the barrel the stuff was flowing into was a forty gallon capacity." Yikes!