Monday, September 2, 2013

Tiger Laws and the Wade Family

One of the things I have learned doing genealogy is the concept of "Blind Tiger" Laws, which were state or local laws governing the production and sale of alcohol.  "Blind Tigers" or "Blind Pigs" were terms for illegal alcohol (moonshine) or the places where they were sold.   As a result of these, prohibition in Georgia ran from 1908 to 1935.

Two family members managed to get caught up in these cases.  John Henderson Wade (1876-1956) got hit twice in October 1914.  He was first charged with selling alcohol in Crawford County.  Since he was living at the time in Bibb county, the warrant was sent there.  The police went to his grocery store, at 557 Telfair street, to serve the warrant, but discovered whiskey in the back of the store.  As a result, he was charged under Macon City laws as well.  There was no report on the final result of the case, but it was noted that the Macon case would have to be resolved before he could be sent back to Crawford county for the case there.

John's sister Anne Elizabeth Wade Fryer (Van Evera) (Cowherd) apparently turned to selling whiskey for a short while as well.  In December 1913, the police reported that they had found 45 bottles of "all different sizes and brands" of alcohol hidden in her attic.  This was actually on the second search of her house; nothing was found the first time.  She was not arrested since she was a "widow" with 6 children, mostly girls, at home.  Later press was closer to the truth, stating that she was divorced.  In fact, she was separated from her husband - they divorced in 1915 - but she was supporting 6 children.

In October 1914, Annie was arrested in Macon under both the city and state tiger laws.   The detectives asserted that 3 bottles of whiskey had been found in her home and that they had evidence of a sale.  After she was arrested, one of her neighbors informed the police that she had threatened to kill herself if arrested.  The police searched her and found a bottle of carbolic acid, whereupon she admitted that she would rather kill herself than be separated from her 6 young children.   After a night in jail, she was fined $50 for the city charge, which was dismissed when she was able to prove that she could not pay it.  She still had to respond to the State charge however and was kept in jail when she could not pay the bond.  The following Tuesday, four days later, one of her relatives paid her bond to get her out.

Both cases were "nol prossed" in March 1915, indicating that the prosecutor chose to not proceed with them.  No reason was given in the paper.  Annie had received her first verdict on her divorce petition in February, claiming desertion and non-support.  She got her final decree in late April, whereupon she remarried and apparently stayed out of trouble. 

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