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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Deputies sought to ‘hunt booze’ as Prohibition becomes law

This “new federal force” under Rogers was given the task to “clean up the stills and moonshiners in as quick time as possible.” (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
This “new federal force” under Rogers was given the task to “clean up the stills and moonshiners in as quick time as possible.” (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

Now that Prohibition was the law of the land, Spokane was acquiring four new deputies to enforce it. They would be under the direction of John M. Rogers, Prohibition agent for Washington, as part of the Internal Revenue department.

This “new federal force” under Rogers was given the task to “clean up the stills and moonshiners in as quick time as possible,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported.

Statewide prohibition had been in effect for years, but state officials had been hard-pressed to enforce the law.

From the missing persons beat: Godfrey Kempf had been missing for almost two months, and his friends had feared foul play.

Those fears dissipated when Kempf walked out of a Spokane doctor’s office where he was being treated for “continual and violent headaches,” the Chronicle said.

However, the mystery of his long disappearance was still not solved.

At first, Kempf sarcastically told reporters that he had not been away from Spokane at all, but had been “down here in a boarding house, sick in bed.”

“I don’t remember the name of the place, for I was delirious,” he told the gathered reporters. “I don’t know how I got there nor whether it was a man or a woman who took care of me.”

Then Kempf dropped the sarcasm and said, “You ought to know what I have been telling you can’t be true, for if I had been in Spokane, someone would have found it out. No, I was away, I am not going to tell you where, for if I did, you would know as much as I do. I had not been well all summer and I went away just for a little rest.”

He avoided all other questions, saying that the tale of his supposed disappearance had already been aired too much.

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