September 6th, 2016

Prohibition

ProhibitionOver 80 years after Prohibition ended it’s hard for us to imagine a world where bootleggers (the illegal production and sale of liquor) and speakeasies (illegal drinking spots) became a part of the ever-more inventive ways to obtain and consume alcohol. Still, Cecil County has its share of thrilling stories of moonshine and moonlit raids.

In the 1820s and ‘30s, the temperance movement attempted to get Americans to cut back (be temperate) with alcohol consumption. As the movement continued, the emphasis had shifted from moderation of alcohol to calling for outright government bans on all alcohol being made, transported, sold or consumed. At first, separate states started passing prohibition laws and Maine was the first state to pass one in 1846 and a number of other states had followed suit by the time the Civil War began in 1861.

In Cecil County, prohibition laws were on the books years before Congress started the process of enacting the 18th Amendment. The first arrest under the prohibition laws in Cecil County happened on September 1, 1903 when an Alfred Bender of Port Deposit was arrested for selling beer and whiskey.

In 1917, after the US entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson instituted a temporary wartime ration prohibition in order to save grain for producing food. That same year, Congress submitted the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors, for state ratification. The amendment received the support of the necessary three-quarters of US states in just 11 months.

The three Delmarva state legislatures were early adopters. Virginia was the second state to ratify, followed by Maryland coming in sixth and Delaware being the ninth. The amendment was ratified on January 29, 1919 and the 18th Amendment went into effect a year later. In October 1919, Congress passed the National Prohibition Act, which provided guidelines for the enforcement of Prohibition. This is commonly called the Volstead Act, after Representative Andrew Volstead who championed it.

Displaying Eastern Shore independence, many coastal residents more or less ignored the new law. State’s Attorney Henry L. Constable stated that the prohibition situation in Cecil County was “worse than the average citizen dreamed of,” and he estimated there were, “600 rumrunners and bootleggers in the county,” in 1927. Cecil County’s Sheriff Logan in 1927 said, “The motto of this office is, ‘Let no moonshine on Cecil’s plains,” adding, “Even in the eight district where there ain’t no Ten Commandments.” (The Eight District was the general area of Conowingo and the Conowingo Dam project.)

During 1927, a number of large raids were made in Cecil County and among the largest of these was in the woods belonging to the Whitaker Iron Company at Principio Furnace. A total of six raids were made in Whitaker Woods with a still found in each raid, netting a total of 10,000 gallons of mash!

With the country mired in the Great Depression by 1932, creating jobs and revenue by legalizing the liquor industry was very appealing. FDR ran for president that year on a platform calling for Prohibition’s repeal and after his victory the 21st Amendment to the Constitution repealing Prohibition went into effect in 1933.

Want to know more? Join us for Pass the Rum: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition on Tuesday, September 13 at the Chesapeake City Branch Library. Call (410) 996-1134 to guarantee your spot.


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August 29th, 2016

So Much to Read, So Little Time!

mobile-605422_640The other day, I found myself in the rare situation of having a day off work with absolutely zero plans and believe me, I took advantage of it! I ran errands, weeded my garden, gave the house a thorough cleaning, put the finishing touches on a quilt, and read an entire book! How on earth could I do it? I’ll tell you my secret: audiobooks!

I listen to audiobooks basically anytime my ears are free. They are a great way to pass the time when you’re doing chores, driving, or anytime your hands are occupied, but your mind isn’t. You can get done whatever you need to get done while also reading a book. Talk about multi-tasking!

Audiobooks have all of the same benefits of more traditional reading, no comprehension or quality is lost by listening to the words rather than reading them.  They are especially great for all of us who feel we’re just too busy to read. If you’re listening to an average-length audiobook (about 11 hours) only on your 15 minute drive to and from work each day, you’ll still have your book done in only about 3 weeks.

The library has several different ways to access audiobooks and I use them all regularly:

1.       You can borrow CD books from any branch. We have both fiction and non-fiction audiobooks for children, teen, and adults! All you have to do is check them out as you would a print book and just pop them into any device that plays CDs and let the narrator simply read the book to you.

2.       We also have 3 different ways to check out audiobooks digitally: through OverDrive, Hoopla, and OneClickDigital. It has been many a time that I’ve been about to leave on a long drive and I’ve quickly pulled up OverDrive on my phone, searched the available audiobooks, downloaded it to my phone, and I had a nice fresh book to listen to for my drive. All from the comfort of my home!

Hoopla has the added benefit that there are no holds, so any book that it carries is available for download immediately.

Our website has how-to guides on how to setup an account and access these books, or you can come to any branch to have a librarian show you in person. It’s easy!

Did you know that the average audiobook is 11 hours of listening? So as you’re gearing up for your next family vacation and looking to keep everyone happy and occupied on that long car drive, consider an audiobook!

Who is your favorite narrator?


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