Bootlegging During the Depression Era

Kansan recalls living next door to a bootlegging operation during the depression era

| Good Old Days

During the depression era, Grandma said that "Hard times make hard people." I believe that is true to a great extent. I think I must have been one of the dumbest brides ever in existence. When I saw our neighbor boy going up the road with a sack on his back many evenings, I wondered. But never once did I think he was "boot-legging." Down the road the other way people moved into a rented place where no one seemed to stay long. I mentioned numerous times as to what a lot of company they had for newcomers, yet I never saw a car there in the daytime. They were from Kentucky and we were amused at some of their customs. But never once did dumb old me ever dream that he made right good liquor! When they moved away I finally learned why the good road into their place, and how they lived so well without working like we did.

In those days there also were chicken thieves. Our brooder house was too close to the road, but it was a seldom used road, and gave the chickens more range. One night I wakened to hear a chicken squawk, and I could see in the moonlight the back end of a car beside the brooder house. I wakened my husband and quicker than I could stop him he was out the door and down the road after that car, yes, in Mother's suit. He was just about a yard from the car when it took off in a spurt of smoke and dust. Boy, was I ever glad to see that car go, and that was one time I was glad he didn't catch the thief.

Flora E. Hay
Onaga, Kansas

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 


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