The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.
Jan. 24, 1919
TWO TRUNKS OF BOOZE SIZED AT RAILROAD DEPOTS
A trunk full of fine whiskey, twenty-eight quarts, which arrived in Medford a week ago yesterday from Oakland, Cal., and which most of the time since has laid at the Southern Pacific passenger depot baggage room awaiting a claimant, is now resting in Sheriff Terrell’s office at Jacksonville. The sheriff and Prosecutor Roberts will willingly turn the booze over to the man who calls and says he checked the trunk to Medford.
Evidently the bootlegging owner, who is thought to be a resident of this city, has been troubled with a severe case of cold feet since the trunk arrived here. The same party also checked another trunk full of booze from Oakland to Grants Pass at the same time, and has failed to call for it. That trunk and contents are now in possession of Sheriff Lewis of Josephine county.
Warned in Advance
Before the trunks arrived at their destinations the sheriffs of the two counties and the police of Grants Pass and Medford knew of their coming and were on the lookout ready to arrest whoever claimed either trunk. A constant watch was kept until a few days ago when the authorities becoming firmly convinced that “the beans were spilled,” removed the trunks form the depots.
This is how the news leaked out that the trunks were en route and the bootleggers concerned were tipped off:
How Beans Were Spilled
The day before Shorty Barber returned from Hornbrook with his historic suitcase full of apples with which to feed the goats of Prosecutor Roberts and Chief of Police Timothy, a Southern Pacific detective jumped off a northbound train, called for Sheriff Terrell at the depot and related to him about the two trunks coming from Oakland. Neither noticed that a jitney driver was near and overheard the conversation, but suffice it to say that soon word flew about town in inner circles, and every Medford man who had a drinking or bootlegging friend who was known to be in San Francisco or Oakland soon was sending a telegram to that friend to look out.
Prosecutor Roberts and Sheriff Terrell are now firmly convinced of the identity of the sender of the trunks of booze and believe that the man who was to claim them is under arrest in Grants Pass in the person of W. E. Young who was arrested in that city several days ago on an old bootlegging charge, after he had been in hiding at the home of a friend in Medford since last Christmas. They say they think Young could clear up the trunk mysteries if he would only talk.
For more stories like this, check out “The Archive,” a podcast series at mailtribune.com/podcasts