SPEAKEASYS (BLINDPIGS)

Survey number:      Owner:      Date of discovery:

EDITOR’S NOTE–What Hollywood has led us to  belive is that illegal bars selling liquor were called  “Speakeasy’s”  and the individuals doing this were “Bootleggers” this may have been  the case iin other parts of the country but  here on west coast these establishment were known as “Blindpigs” and those involved  in the budsiness were “Blindpiggers>” J.B.P

The station book for the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway Co. -Coast Lines for Johannesburg Ca.  in the collection of the Searles Valley Museum, has a number of entries for individuals for whom large quantities of liquor were being shipped in 1915.  As San Bernardino County became a dry county as of —————, it is assumed that these shipments were for resale and the recipients were therefore engaged in the Speakeasy business.  A list of these shipments is as follows:

C. ADDONE 1/2 Barrel of wine   17 December 1915

G. DIARO 2 Cases of brandy     17 December 1915

1/2 Barrel of wine               21 December 1915

P. HYOS 4 Cases of whiskey   18 December 1915

A. ORTASEN 1 Barrel of wine                    18 December 1915

G. PRUNETTO 3 Barrels of wine                 21 December 1915

P. RASSITER 5 Barrels of wine                  21 December 1915

E. A. ROBERTS 2 Cases distilled spirits       21 December 1915

D. W. WILLIFORD 2 Casks of 20 doz. Small beers,

2 Cases whiskey                  17 December 1915

The Atolia News reported in May of 1916 that a committee of three would be going to the county seat to meet with the Board of Supervisors with the intent of trying to incorporate Atolia as a city of the 6th class.  It was stated that as Atolia has always voted “Wet” that if they were unable to incorporate it was hoped that they could persuade the Board of Supervisors to grant licenses for several liquor distributors.

March 14, 1916:  “A BUCKET OF BLOOD YIELDS BARRELS OF BOOZE –Operating in full swing, three blind pigs were raided by Sheriff J. I. McMinn and a posse of officers, including Deputies F. G. McLain, J. H. Berry, Ed Harris and Fred Weaver of Atolia and five prisoners on charges of selling liquor without a license and conducting gambling.

‘The Bucket of Blood” was raided and Tim O’Conner, the proprietor, arrested for conducting it.  Two barrels of ice cold beer and two cases of whisky were found.  Mr. and Mrs. Del Puppa were taken in another place and two barrels of beer and two of wine were confiscated.  John Gents was conducting a very prosperous shop, where a barrel of bottle wine, barrel of brandy, two case of whisky and two smaller barrels of wine were found.

Sam Head is accused of conduction a gambling joint, where a quantity of poker chips and cards and money on the tables were found, it is alleged.” –San Bernardino County Sun

March 23, 1916:  “TIM O’CONNER FINED $150 FOR SELLING LIQUOR, ATOLIA –Tim O’Conner, proprietor of one of the establishments raided two weeks ago by the sheriff and deputies at Atolia, for the illegal sale of liquors, yesterday plead guilty before the superior court and was fined $150 by Judge J. W. Curtis.  Large amounts of liquors and beer were confiscated by the officers and O’Conner’s place had its quota.” –San Bernardino County Sun

June 3, 1916:  “S.VIGNAROLI AND U. COMBS, were each fined $150 on   charges of “blind pigging” in the Atolia district.  Sentences of three months were suspended.” –San Bernardino News

August 1, 1916:  “GUILTY:  GIVEN $100 FINE—Clarence Zubita, Jos Amon, S. T. Finney and M. E. Gustave alleged  blind  piggers, were brought in  from Atolia by Under Sheriff F. G. McLain.  Amon pleaded guilty before judge Dewhirst and was fined $100.” –San Bernardino News

August 9, 1916: “JAIL SENTENCES FOR ATOLIA “PIGGERS” –“Prohibition Does Prohibit” Is the Declaration of Superior Judge. —As a warning that “prohibition does prohibit” Judge J. W. Curtis yesterday imposed jail sentences on two Atolia confessed “blind-piggers” and second offenders.

“I want people at Atolia to know that prohibition does prohibit, “said Judge Curtis.  He told officers to make it known at Atolia that a continuation of the illegal sale of liquor meant jail cells for the offenders.

Jean Gustave was fined $150 and sentenced to jail for three months.  Sam Finney was fined $150 and sentenced to jail for one month.

The sentence are the most drastic from the local court since the prohibition ordinance went into effect.

A number of persons who have been drinking water at Atolia have been stricken with typhoid fever.  Health authorities are now regulating the water and general health conditions.” –San Bernardino County Sun

August 17, 1916:  “FACE HIGH COURT ON BOOZE CHARGE –Judge Kunzman Binds Over Atolia Man to the Superior Court –HIGHLAND, Aug. 16. – C.  Zubieta, charged with conducting a blind pig at Atolia,   had his preliminary   hearing here today in Justice Kunzman’s court.  He was bound over to the superior court in the sum of $500.

The people were represented by  Deputy District Attorney M. O. Hart,  of San Bernardino,  and the  defendant  by Willett of  Los Angeles.” –San Bernardino County Sun

August 17, 1916:  “FACE HIGH COURT ON BOOZE CHARGE –Judge Kunzman Binds Over Atolia Man to the Superior Court –HIGHLAND, Aug. 16. – C.  Zubieta, charged with conducting a blind pig at Atolia,   had his preliminary   hearing here today in Justice Kunzman’s court.  He was bound over to the superior court in the sum of $500.

The people were represented by  Deputy District Attorney M. O. Hart,  of San Bernardino,  and the  defendant  by Willett of  Los Angeles.” –San Bernardino County Sun

September 28, 1916:  “NOT GUILTY PLEA GIVEN—Expecting to show that on the day   two men, “stool pigeons” swore that they purchased liquor from him in Atolia, but some miles away. Clarence Zuibeta today faced the superior court, Superior Judge H.  T. Dewhirst presiding, on a charge of selling liquor in non-license territory.  The jury hearing the case is composed of J. W. Beckert, M. B. Gimmell, D. V. Roberts, H. C. Lash, Charles Longmire, H. W. Farmer, W. M. Toll, H. P. Kingman, Charles Fisher, L. H.  Newcomb, A. H. Harnes and J.  W. Smith.” –San Bernardino News

September 30, 1916: “JURY SPLITS EVEN –The jury in the  Clarence Zubieta alleged blind pig case of Atolia stood six to six  and dismissed by Judge H. T. Dewhirst.—San Bernardino County Sun

July 27, 1917:  “U. COMBS, ALLEGED BLIND-PIGGER, demanded that he have  time to secure an attorney, and his preliminary hearing  was  set  for August 7 at Atolia.” –San Bernardino Sun

October 12, 1917: “GOING AFTER THE BUSINESS—Booze believes in applying modern methods to the development of new business, according to the latest information from Atolia.  The tungsten camp is in San Bernardino County, reputed to be “some dry,”

But six or eight miles away, and –supposed to be –across the line in Kern County, is the mining camp of Randsburg, which hasn’t a suggestion of a drought (sic).  To boom business in Randsburg, the saloons are running jitneys to bring in the Atolia customers, and while they go away sober, they return “speechless.

Nobody has found a solution to the problem.  The jitneys should not be permitted to haul the booze back to Atolia in bottle and we submit to the authorities that it might not be a stretch of imagination or the law to hold that neither may they haul back booze in humanity. What’s the matter with that construction?”—San Bernardino County Sun

June 11, 1918: “ANTON GAETT, Italian blindpigger from Atolia, had $408.25 sewed up in his clothes, when he was searched at the county jail.” –San Bernardino County Sun

June 18, 1918: “ANTONE GOETTE, Atolia blind pigger whose thirst amounted to 36 quarts of beer a day, was granted a suspended sentence for three years yesterday by Judge H. T. Dewhirst, who, from the bench said the evidence did not warrant the jury bringing in a verdict of conviction.  Atty.  A. S. Maloney, represented the prisoner.” –San Bernardino County Sun

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