Due to its proximity to both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, this region saw a great deal of rum coming across the Great Lakes from Canada. It seems that dry agents were not able to do much to stop this rum from coming ashore, and that attempts to stop this kind of traffic sometimes had deadly consequences.

  • In July of 1925 it was reported that a large (17 ship) fleet of rum ships had left Ontario in an attempt to make deliveries in New York. “Capt. Crowley, superintendent of coast guard headquarters” in Buffalo, pledged to patrol the lake in an attempt to stop the 17 ships with “the only two boats available” to the coast guard.

  • A few days later, five boats tried to land at Buffalo. While one of them was caught, and “400 cases of alleged whiskey valued at $30,000 were seized”, the other four boats seem to have made their deliveries without a problem. Clearly, two coast guard boats weren't able to do much.

  • As time went on, dries became more desperate, and their attempts to stop liquor coming across the lakes occasionally had unintended consequences. In November of 1928, prohibition officers shot and killed a 34 year old man by the name of Carl Anderson, believing him to be a bootlegger. Anderson and another man, Edmund Sahr (who was wounded in the incident), were working on the motor of their boat, the Bug, out on Lake Ontario when a coast guard boat (which had been informed that they were carrying ale), fired upon them. A search of the boat turned up no alcoholic beverages of any kind. Such killings were unfortunate, unintended results of Prohibition.


BIG ONTARIO RUM FLEET MENACES DRY U. S. SHORES, Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963); Jul 8, 1925; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849 – 1986), pg. 17

Coast Guards Kill Boatman; Find No Rum, The Atlanta Constitution (1881-2001); Nov 30, 1928; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Atlanta Constitution (1868 – 1939), pg. 1

Rum Boat Caught at Buffalo, The Hartford Courant (1923-present); Jul 13, 1925; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Hartford Courant (1764 – 1984), pg. 4