Page 13 - Remembering Rum-Running Days
ISSUE : Issue 11
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1975/6/1
now. Strong. So I was anxious to get right to work • to lift those 10-gallon kegs out of the dory. The big boat of course couldn't come that close to shore. We'd go into the water to our knees and above our knees • you had on rubber boots. One would take a 10-gallon keg, put it on his shoulder and walk with it. The next would take a 10- gallon keg, put it on his shoulder, walk ashore with it. I took a 10-gallon keg, put it on my shoulder, and I tipped over. Right in the water. They had a great laugh over that. Must have been 8 or 10 of us. Most of thera would carry it right in front, against their chest. This is after midnight. And we'd stay at this, finally get the boat unloaded • and we had to cross a sort of sand bar and a lagoon. We had to take the kegs across the sandbar to the lagoon and load it into another rowboat and take it up onto the farra and hide it into a cache. We had a horse to put thera in the cache, right in the raiddle of the woods • an about 8 by 10 by 6 feet deep hole. This would be filled with kegs of rum then covered with tree branches. This was an ar? rangement they'd raade with a farraer in Irish Cove. And any tirae any of this would be Alex Goldraan Sol Green Duncan Carapbeil sold • say soraeone, one of the bootleggers, whoever around to m wanted 2 or 3 or 5 kegs of rum we'd go out there and pick up the order and deliver. The cache is the warehouse, as it were. (Were you ever followed at this?). No, as far as I know.we were never bothered. In fact, I reraeraber one particular night, on the way to Main-a- Dieu • there were 7 cars going alon'. We had preventive officers then and sorae of thera were in it too. I reraeraber raeeting one on the way to Main-a-Dieu, stopping us and telling us the coast was clear. (You never had any trouble?) No, although one raorning coraing in frora a successful landing, we met soraeone out here at Perry Lewis' corner • where the Red and White is now • this is 6 o'clock in the raorning • he told us another group had raade a landing and one of the fellows got shot dead. He was pretty cocky, and the preventive officer was equally cocky. They were on their way in, were stopped near Birch Grove. He shot hira and killed him, right there# Sol Green: I was a so-called bootlegger. That's what they called thera in those days. As far as I was concerned I had a respectable business. I had a hotel here in Sydney, The Victoria. I went down there in 1921 or '22. I started bootlegging in '22. I could get it through a vendor. He could get it frora Halifax. But he could only get a half a case at a time. Half a case of rum or whiskey. And that wasn't daily. That was a quota. It wasn't enough but it was a help in putting out, if you had a reputa? tion for having good liquor. Then in '23 the rum runner started coraing. We were buy? ing from people who'd bring it in. We'd buy rura in 10-gallon kegs and scotch was in 12 bottles to a case. I'd just serve it by the drink or serve it by the bottle. No bar there. Bring it to you. You'd sit at a table. Oh, yes, it was open enough. The law didn't want to stop it no raore than we did. They'd come up and every now and a- gain you'd pay a fine • and that was it. They never cleaned you out. If you were coii- victed a Second Offence, well it raeant a 30-day jail terra. It was up to the inspec? tor hiraself whether he wanted to put a Second on you. They didn't want to jail us. (Alex Goldman: They could keep on getting you and calling it a First Offence?) Oh, yes. To put a Second on you • very very rarely. They'd have to hate you. (You had more than one First Offence?) Oh, yes. (How many?) Who can remember? It was practic- Cape Breton's Magazine/l3
Cape Breton's Magazine