Wets and Drys

I continue to search through old issues of The Celina Democrat, looking for articles and information about our area of Mercer County. Sometimes I find news pieces about Liberty and Blackcreek Townships, and even some news about the village of Willshire, in Van Wert County. Issues of The Celina Democrat for the years 1910-1918 are online, so I am limited to that time period.

One thing I noticed is that this newspaper, during this time period, often featured articles about liquor and drinking. It was a hot topic back then. This was just a few years before Prohibition. They featured articles about the Wet/Dry debate and they made their stance known. The Celina Democrat was anti-liquor. They were Dry.  

Of course, Chatt had a saloon. Actually I believe there were two saloons in town at one time, and because of that the village occasionally made the news. And that news was not all good news, but it is rather interesting to read now.

These articles were related mostly to local news, but there was some news from other areas. It went like this in 1910:

The Celina Democrat, 20 May 1910 [Celina news]

The Celina Democrat, 27 May 1910

The Celina Democrat, 27 May 1910

The Celina Democrat, 24 Jun 1910 [Cincinnati news]

The Celina Democrat, 23 Dec 1910

The Celina Democrat, 2 Sep 1910

The Celina Democrat, 28 Oct 1910 [Cincinnati news]

Then, in June 1910, Liberty Township, where the village of Chattanooga is located, had a vote on whether the township would be wet or dry.

The Celina Democrat, 20 May 1910

The Celina Democrat, 10 Jun 1910

The people spoke and their votes were counted:

The Celina Democrat, 17 Jun 1910

The following piece was also in that 17 June 1910 newspaper, right near the voting results:

The Celina Democrat, 17 Jun 1910

And so it went. Things in Chatt were pretty quiet until October, when there were a couple incidents, one at the saloon, the other at a church east of town.

The Celina Democrat, 21 Oct 1910 

I am not sure if that article will be legible, so here is the transcription:

REIGN OF BOOZE AND TERROR Still Has Chattanooga and Vicinity Guessing-Conditions Grow Worse.
Chattanooga continues to bask in the sunshine of booze and is making arrangements to contribute its share of degenerates to society de bum.

Last Saturday night they cut loose and had the most important session yet announced. It was attended by a couple of stars of doubtful pedigree from across the State Line-one Oliver Everett, of Pleasant Mills, and one Hattie Burkhart, of Decatur. Making a specialty of jags at Chattanooga, they invested in a couple and the fun was on. The young bucks began to see around the corners and smacked their lips. Hattie led the procession. As an artist in vulgarity and profanity she made the welkin ring. When she was interfered with she grew obstreperous and handed out a few short-arm jabs that had ginger in them and concluded by handling the arresting officer a few, who finally got in a swipe on the jaw and she went down for the count. Squire Leininger’s court then began to grind. Hattie was found to have painted the village to the extent of $10 and costs, which was duly assessed, and the young bloods fell over each other to contribute to the fund for her liberation. She was then ordered to get out of town.

Young Everett, who admitted to furnishing liquor to the girl, was bound over to court in the sum of $500 and brought here and lodged in jail. He claims to be under age. It is said he got the liquor from the Chattanooga joints, one of which is run by the officer who arrested Everett.

Liberty township voters evidently got all they voted for when they entered into partnership with these saloons.

The lawlessness and debauchery will probably continue until a murder or two occurs.

The Celina Democrat, 21 Oct 1910

Ah, the good old days. I see every generation had their problems.


    • Mike Holloway on January 22, 2023 at 11:02 am
    • Reply

    Hi Karen,

    It so happens that my great grandmother was an Everett, so I had to look to see if I could find Oliver Everett. It looks like this Oliver was her 1st cousin. He was actually married to a Hattie Burkhead (not Burkhart) in 1910, and they moved to Fort Wayne. They were later divorced in 1920 and both apparently remarried. She was born in 1889 and died in 1929. He was born in 1888 and died in 1944. He would have been 22 and she 21 when the incident described in the article above occurred. There is more information that I found about them on Ancestry, particularly about their divorce that is not surprising considering this incident.

    Mike Holloway, Willshire

    1. They got married! Well, that is sure an interesting continuation of the story. Thanks for that good bit of research and information. What a story, but probably not one your family shared at the holidays. 🙂 Thanks for writing.

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