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Boom and Bust, 1909-1918

  • The boll weevil enters Alabama.
  • Prohibitionists gain control of the Alabama legislature.
  • Law is passed in Alabama prohibiting all alcohol manufacture and sales (two years before US congress passes national prohibition laws).
  • Many families reliant on the liquor trade loose huge incomes and their homes.
  • Economic stress causes many to continue with the illegal manufacture of whiskey, in open defiance of the law...
  • Interference with liquor production is not tolerated and the crime rate increases through murder, arson, maimed horses and smashed newspaper presses.
1916 May, "The First Clean-up"
  • William Logan Morgan, attorney general for Alabama sends 40 deputies to destroy a million dollars of illegal whiskey...
  • Russell County courts are disqualified.
  • Judge A.H. Alston sets up a blue ribbon grand jury and assigns Hugo Black as chief prosecutor.
  • City marshal is convicted for accepting bribes from liquor dealers.
  • Russell Co. Sheriff Pal M. Daniel is impeached.
  • The mayor and board of aldermen resign by popular demand.
  • All involved have been convicted and sentenced.


  • Operations resume... a rumor circulates that bootleggers have dug a tunnel into riverbank under warehouse to float supplies down river.
  • U.S. becomes involved in WWI, which begins to distract attention away from the liquor laws.
  • World War I ends.




1798-1833 | 1909-18 | 1923-31 | 1937-53 | 1954-55

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