Clinton County author plans talk on prohibition in the North Country

WILMINGTON — Author Lawrence P. Gooley is teaming up with the Wilmington Historical Society for a presentation titled “Bullets, Booze, Bootleggers, and Beer: The Story of Prohibition in Northern New York” on Monday, Aug. 28.

The talk is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the craft bar of NewVida Preserve, located at 6394 state Route 86. Gooley will present a complete look at prohibition in northern New York: The shootings, killings, wild pursuits, gunplay at levels never seen before or since, corrupt lawmen, scofflaws, stills, bootleg kings, border runners, humorous incidents, smuggling techniques, hundreds of speakeasies, thousands of arrest stories and more. Free spirits tastings will be offered by Murray’s Fools Distillery. The program is free to attend.

“I actually grew up in Champlain, which is within a mile of the border. I heard a lot of stories when I was younger,” Gooley said. “Many of the people who ran alcohol in all of its different forms back and forth across the border did it at Champlain and Rouses Point in the Clinton County area, and Mooers, too.”

Many locals in the borderlands were runners. As a kid, he called them the old bootleggers.

“I knew a few of them,” Gooley said. “The difficulty in that is if you were really good then you weren’t caught and because it was criminal you didn’t take pictures of it or advertise it.”

Gooley collected tens of thousands of newspaper articles, read books by people involved in smuggling, and books by officials running the U.S. Prohibition Office and New York State Office to provide material for his writing.

Gooley, of Clinton County, is an award-winning author who has hiked, bushwhacked, climbed, bicycled, explored and canoed in the Adirondack Mountains for 45 years. With a lifetime love of research, writing and history, he has authored 22 books and more than 200 articles on the region’s past.

For more information, contact the Wilmington Historical Society at whs12997@hotmail.com or 518-420-8370.


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