EARLY WENATCHEE STORIES
Chelan County Sheriff Pete Wheeler (left) and confiscated still from Blewett area, late 1920’s
WVMCC Board Member and Collections Volunteer
A newspaper article written many years ago about the Sheriff of Douglas County, Art Boddy, between 1923 and 1931 told many moonshiner stories. But, the one story written below was most interesting to the then Sheriff of Douglas County.
Sheriff Boddy quoted, “We had some very rough times in those early days between 1923 and 1931. One time I laid out seven days and nights to catch rumrunners”. It was reported that the Sheriff of Okanogan County was allegedly letting the rumrunners haul and store their moonshine in his County from Canada, then run the moonshine to other Counties south. Since the local Douglas County residents were accusing Sheriff Boddy of doing the same, he decided to follow a truck filled with moonshine as it made its way through Okanogan and Chelan Counties towards Douglas County.
After days of patient waiting, Sheriff Boddy said he and a deputy caught one of the rumrunners as he crossed the Columbia River from Chelan County. The man was brought to trial and fined $1,000. Shortly thereafter, this same rumrunner offered Sheriff Boddy $500 per month to let him run the moonshine through his county, since the rumrunner was allegedly paying the Okanogan Sheriff $1,500 a month to store and run rum from Canada through his County. Sheriff Boddy declined his offer.
During this period of time between 1923 and 1931, Art Boddy recalled being shot at many times by moonshiners but “they always missed. I think they were just trying to scare us off” He went on to say, “I was only hit by a bullet once in the hand during his 40 year law enforcement career”.
Ken Cramer is a Wenatchee Valley Museum Board Member and regular volunteer in the museum Collections Department. As Ken and his wife, Bev, work through the reference files that have been collected over the past several decades, they come across many interesting stories. Ken is writing these blog posts to share some of these stories with others.