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More in Crime
Not-so-good old days
Back in 1931, the state and federal prohibition of alcoholic beverage sales led to many of the criminal cases that were heard in the Superior Court of Oxford County. The pleas and punishment of Joseph and Agnes Littlehale of Woodstock, and the trial of Donald Kilbreth of Norway, are typical cases. Note that no mention of “g-men,” gangsters, “tommy guns,” or even “molls,” was reported in the November 13, 1931 Norway (Oxford County, Me.) Advertiser:
Joseph Littlehale and Agnes Littlehale, of Woodstock, pleaded guilty to indictments charging illegal sale of intoxicating liquor. Agnes Littlehale was sentenced to pay a fine of $300 and three months in the county jail with six months additional in default of payment. She was placed on probation for one year, to report to Sheriff W. O. Frothingham. Joseph Littlehale received a fine of $300 with four months in jail and six months additional if fine is not paid.
A verdict of guilty was returned by the jury shortly after noon, Wednesday, in the case of State vs. Donald Kilbreth of Norway, charged with the sale of one gallon of alcohol. He was sentenced to pay a fine of $400 and to serve five months in jail with six months additional in default of payment. Kilbreth through his counsel, Hutchins and Henry of Rumford, appealed and was ordered to furnish $1,000 bail.
Testimony of the state’s witnesses, Clifton Smith of Auburn and Deputy Sheriff Harry Eastman of Fryeburg was to the effect that they met Kilbreth in South Paris, Oct. 31, and arranged for him to get them a gallon of alcohol. Eight dollars was raised and given to Kilbreth. Some hours after this transaction, Smith and Eastman called at the Kilbreth place in Norway and secured the fluid, but only three quarts were in the gallon can.
Don Kilbreth took the stand in his own behalf and testified to facts about meeting the witnesses and arranging for the transaction as their agent. The respondent told about accepting $8 and purchasing a gallon of alcohol. When asked by Justice Emery where he bought it, he said, “at Mechanic Falls of a man called ‘Frank’, other name not known.” Kilbreth charged Smith and Eastman, who had been introduced to him as “Jack Hartley,” as being intoxicated at a dance in Buckfield a few hours before they called for the alcohol, which had been delivered at his home by the unknown “Frank.”
He further testified that Smith and Eastman called for the alcohol at 3 o’clock that morning. The can was behind a chair within three feet of the outside door. Smith, he said, poured one quart into a bottle as payment for the favor. This was left in the Kilbreth house.
Mrs. Kilbreth corroborated her husband’s story so far as she had personal knowledge of the money transaction and condition of Smith at the dance. Miss Alice Perry of Norway, one of the dance party said Smith had been drinking at Buckfield and very unsteady.
On the stand Smith had no recollection of giving any alcohol for the accommodation and Eastman, who as alleged was also intoxicated at the dance, didn’t remember anything said about the transaction in the kitchen that morning.
Lucian LePlante of Rumford pleaded guilty to the illegal possessions of intoxicating liquors and was sentenced to pay a fine of $200 and to serve two months in jail, with six months additional in default of payment of fine. Sentence was suspended and he was put upon probation for one year.
And so the wheels of justice turned on — in the Oxford Hills of 80 years ago.
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