This column ran in the July 27 edition of the Prairie Post
Prohibition was the law of North Dakota in 1912. It had been since statehood in 1989. The nation didn’t try what was called the “Noble Experiment” until 1920.
Gov. Hanna told reporters the state was happy with prohibition. He also said he felt North Dakota would leave the law in place permanently and that after a few problems with enforcement were worked out all would be well.
That didn’t seem to be the case on a day in May of 1912 in Jamestown.
Three men, we’ll leave the names out of it even after 98 years, were arrested for public drunkenness.
“Saturday night celebrations at Jamestown nearly proved the downfall of three enthusiasts who indulged too freely in a certain brand of red eye that mysteriously made an appearance,” the Jamestown Alert wrote. “Three disturbers of the peace were taken up as drunken and disorderly and placed in the city Bastille to cool off.”
Mr. C pleaded for leniency saying he hadn’t been arrested for drunkenness since April and, after all, it was already May. His April incident seems to have made news as well.
It appears while drinking and fishing on the James River Mr. C had fallen off the dock and into the “drink.”
I guess this proves you actually can be too drunk to fish.
Mr. C was given until the end of the week to find a job, earn $10 and turn it over to the city as a fine or serve 10 days in Jail on bread and water. The other defendants were fined $5 and court costs.
But the parole didn’t work out so well for Mr. C. On Monday night he and three others were arrested again for, you guessed it, public drunkenness. However, the quartet had an excuse.
They said they had been met by a stranger with a bottle of whiskey who took a sip to prove it was good and then handed it to the group. The stranger then left and the four good citizens felt they had to destroy the contraband.
The judge wasn’t impressed with the argument. Police Magistrate Murphy gave the four a choice. They could work off a $5 fine with manual labor on the Jamestown Street Department or spend 10 days in the city jail on a bread and water diet.
It appears from the newspaper reports the quartet took the high carbohydrate, low fat option.