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Tales of our Beginnings

Tales of our Beginnings Tales of our Beginnings

Cadott • Cornell • Lake Holcombe areas

Fill ’Er Up

Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages, from 1920-33. Such beverages included beer, gin, run, whiskey and wine. The population of Cadott, was highly represented by people from Germany, Ireland, Scotland and Eastern Europe. Most of these groups did not object to a drink now and again. They were also enterprising people, so securing a drink during prohibition was not unknown.

One custom in the Cadott area during prohibition, was to remove some soil and rock from a hillside, making a cave-type area to cook home brew, which was whiskey. Another strategy, was to use a posthole digger to dig holes in the land large enough to immerse jugs of whiskey or other home brew into the hole, and replace the top layer of sod. This method was very useful especially when it was known the revenuers would be around.

The revenuers were agents of the United States Treasury Department. Their responsibility was to enforce laws against illegal distilling or bootlegging of alcoholic beverages. It was common knowledge that the revenuer bringing a person into court and the judge were, many times, customers of the “sinner.”

It was well known in the Cadott area, that a local gentleman procured a local fuel oil truck, cleaned out the large tank, filled it with moonshine and traveled to customers in the Twin Cities to sell his brew. The hose on the tank was inserted in a basement window, and filled a large barrel or container with “home brew.” The homeowner just had the “oil man” fill his “oil barrel,” as if he were delivering fuel to the household. (Courtesy of the Cadott Area Historical Society)