100 Years Ago in Bienville Parish – Sheriff, Deputies Kept Busy with Moonshiners

During the first week of August, 1922, Sheriff J.E. Currie and his deputies were kept busy with moonshiners.  The Eighteenth Amendment, which illegalized the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol, was in effect from 1920 until 1933.  Fighting moonshiners was a constant battle because moonshine stills were easy to conceal in rural Bienville parish.  Law enforcement officers knew that moonshine stills required water, a necessary ingredient for whiskey, and so they knew to look around creeks and springs. 

Sometimes moonshiners were clever.   Oftentimes a customer would pay a moonshiner for a jar of the hooch.  In exchange for the money, the moonshiner would instruct the customer as to which log to look under, which tree stump to look behind, or which hollow tree to look into to retrieve the liquor.    

Moonshiners, however, had to have luck on their side all of the time, while law enforcement officers only had to be lucky once to catch an offender.  In the first week of August, 1922, sheriff’s deputies took four stills and arrested five still operators.  Those arrested were Roy Wiggins and Frank Meyers of Alberta, M. Theus and Jim Fisher of Ward 4, and Andrew Underwood of Ward 6.

In the same week, Sheriff Currie and Deputy Henderson Jordan (who succeeded Sheriff Currie and who is forever associated with ending the crime spree of Bonnie and Clyde) arrested Johnnie Wilson of Gibsland on an illegal whiskey charge. 

Sheriff Currie and Deputy Jordan also located a whiskey still across the line in Claiborne parish and assisted deputies from that parish in the arrests of Eugene Sanders and Amos Moore, operators of the still.  Bienville parish deputies had been on the trail of Sanders and Moore for some time as the moonshiners regularly sold their illegal booze in this parish.

Despite the high penalties inflicted on producers of illegal alcohol, the moonshiners kept distilling.  Undeterred, deputies with the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office continued to thwart moonshiners until the repeal of national prohibition in 1933.

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