100 Years Ago in Suffield

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Selected from the pages of the Windsor Locks Journal and lightly annotated by Wendy Taylor, Kent Memorial Library.

December 1

George Bush of West Suffield and Joseph Caplett and Tony Novak of River boulevard, near the [old] Thompsonville bridge, were… charged with owning and operating stills and offering liquor for sale… In the West Suffield place the officers found the still in the cellar, where a wall had been taken out and a cupboard built in front of it… It has been estimated that there are about 350 illicit stills in this town… It is said by people who should know that one resident of this town shipped a truckload of moonshine to Boston every week for nearly a year and made money enough to retire without getting a court record.

All the dogs in the northern part of the town for a radius of one mile in all directions from the John Hierl place have been placed in strict quarantine, owing to the fact that Mr. Hierl’s dog severely bit a young boy last week, and that the reports from the state laboratories in New Haven showed the dog to have been mad. Suffield is getting a wide reputation for the quality of the moonshine liquor manufactured here.

Recently in a western New York city a bootlegger approached a man, who is closely related to people in this town, and offered some liquor for sale. He praised the product very highly, saying “It was made in Suffield, where they make the best moonshine in this section of the United States.”

Elsie Oquist, a young Polish girl living near the Thomsponville bridge, had a nerve-racking experience Monday evening. She was walking along the road in that part of the town when an automobile ran up beside her and a man jumped out of the car and cut off her braid of hair which was hanging down her back… The girl screamed and the man jumped back into the car and drove on…

December 22

A good many of our farms are being improved this winter by the cutting off of the trees and brush along the fences in the fields. In this way considerable fuel is obtained, to say nothing of the needed exercise.

The mystery surrounding the cutting of the braid of hair from the head of the fourteen years old girl on East Street has been solved, the girl finally confessing that she cut the braid off herself, as she wanted to have bobbed hair.

January 5

An appeal has been made to the local branch of the American Red Cross for sweaters for the Veterans’ Bureau Hospital at New Haven. Wool and directions for knitting may be obtained.

Dr. W. E. Caldwell was confined to his home two or three days as a result of falling down a flight of stairs…

The annual meeting of the Village of Suffield [a local borough] was held at Union Hall.

January 12

The farmers and ice men have had considerable trouble this year in keeping the ponds uncovered so that the ice will form to sufficient thickness for the summer’s supply.

January 19

The annual meeting of the Suffield Society for the Detection of Thieves was held in Union hall… Voted – That inasmuch as the conditions under which the Suffield Society for the Detection of Thieves and Robbers was organized in 1865 no longer exist and the funds of the society are no longer needed to pursue horse thieves, said society hereby gives and bequeaths all funds to the Kent Library, to be used for the finishing and furnishing of a room in the basement…The funds transferred to the library amount to about $775…

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