Event Place

Sheriff Swoops Down on Still; Four Moonshiners Caught

“Four men giving their names as Thurman Thompson, Charles Odle, Charles Clifford, and Harry Beekman were arrested, and two others, said by officers to be Luther Odle and his son, Dallas Odle, aged 17 years, escaped early Monday morning when Sheriff EE Rickey and a squad of officers swooped down on a moonshine liquor plant in a hollow on the Labold land in the wilds of Turkey Creek, West Side.”

“The raid also resulted in the capture of an immense copper still of 90 gallons capacity, in addition to 12 large barrels containing more than 600 gallons of mash and about six gallons of high proof distilled liquor. The mash was destroyed and the still and liquor seized, together with a Buick touring car belonging to Luther Odle and brought to the city along with the quartet of prisoners, who were landed in the county jail, where they are held to meet charges of unlawfully manufacturing intoxicating liquor.”

“The still was in operations and the six men huddled around a fire in the furnace under the cooker when the officers arrived on the scene about two o’clock and took the whiskey-makers by surprise. When Sheriff Rickey suddenly slid down a hillside landing right in the midst of the distillers, there was a wild scramble of members of the gang trying to escape, but officers had been stationed at various points in an effort to cut off all avenue of escape and four of the men were caught.”

“When searched it developed none of the prisoners were armed except Charles Odle, on whose person a 38 caliber revolver, fully loaded, was found, but in a search of the premises a rifle and a discarded pistol holster were discovered.”

“From information received by the sheriff, the still had been in operation a short time, as he visited the place only a few days ago, and from all indications then it had been used little if any at that time. No one was about at the time and the officer did not disturb the outfit, but waited for a more opportune time, which came this morning. It is by far the most complete arrest for the making of liquor which has been taken by local officers since the prohibition law went into effect. The still was equipped with a 30-foot copper coil and a perfect cooling system, fed from a small stream of water.”

“Thompson, Charles, and Luther Odle are the reputed owners of the still, Clifford and Beekman, who are Dry Run young men, claiming they have no interest in the outfit and just changed to accompany the others to the came Sunday night.”

“Besides Sheriff Rickey and Deputy Harry Dunham, railroad detectives Leo Einspanier, Andy Leslie, Robert Reno and Elmer Pratt participated in the raid.1

  1. Sheriff Swoops Down On Still; Four Moonshiners Caught. (1921, January 24). Portsmouth Daily Times, p. 7.