Rumrunners

Liquor Smugglers on America’s Coasts, 1920–1933

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About the Book

In 1920, the 18th Amendment made the production, transportation and sale of alcohol not merely illegal—it was unconstitutional. Yet no legislation could end the demand for alcohol. Enterprising rumrunners worked to meet that demand with cunning, courage, machineguns and speedboats powered by aircraft engines. They out-maneuvered the U.S. Coast Guard and risked their lives to deliver illicit liquor.
Smugglers like Bill McCoy, the Bahama Queen, and the Gulf Stream Pirate, along with many others, ran operations along the U.S. coastline until Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Drawing on legal records, newspaper articles and Coast Guard files, this history describes how rumrunners battled the Dry Navy and corrupted U.S. law enforcement, in order to keep America wet.

About the Author(s)

J. Anne Funderburg has long focussed her research interests on the Roaring Twenties and the Volstead Era, relying on sources published during Prohibition to capture the flavor of the era. She lives in Appoquinimink Hundred, Delaware.

Bibliographic Details

J. Anne Funderburg
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6757-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2670-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Rum Row: Mother Ships and Mosquito Boats 3
2. Island Oases: St. Pierre and the Bahamas 12
3. The Coast Guard: A New Mission 19
4. Cut to the Chase: Speed Plus Agility 29
5. Coast Guards: The Good, the Bad and the Drunk 40
6. Volstead Enforcement: Tragedy and Controversy 48
7. Bill McCoy: Rumrunning Pioneer 61
8. Gertrude Lythgoe: The Bahama Queen 71
9. Edith Stevens: Love and “Reckless Courage” 77
10. Long Island: The Rumrunners Next Door 86
11. “Big Bill” Dwyer: The Czar of Rum Row 101
12. The Radio Rum Ring 113
13. Pirates, Hijackers and ­Go-Thru Guys 121
14. Right Off the Boat: Rumrunning in Florida 128
15. The Gulf Stream Pirate: Two Different Men 137
16. The West Coast Connection: Canada to California 142
17. Malahat: The Phantom of the Pacific 155
18. Golden Gate Rumrunners: The Tailor and the Mayor 163
19. Repealing Prohibition: The End of the Great Drought 175
Glossary 179
Chapter Notes 181
Bibliography 197
Index 199