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The Beaver Dam saloon fight of 1895


No sooner did the authorities enter the saloon than a combat was entered into without taking time to sign articles of agreement. The floor was smeared with blood, window glasses were broken, guns were drawn and billies were brought into play by the officers who had about all they could handle.


It was 128 springs ago, when Beaverdam then known as Beaver Dam, voted out saloons. That action split the village into two groups: you may guess each group’s opinion.

The following story from the March 7, 1895, Bluffton News, reports on a most unusual response in Beaver Dam (Beaverdam), which resulted from this vote. It is posted word by word.


March 7, 1895, Bluffton News

Monday afternoon was an exciting time for the inhabitants of Beaver Dam. As stated in local papers, the town council voted out saloons not long since and they must be closed by Saturday evening of this week in accordance with the action of that body.


Ever since the prohibitory ordinance was passed the tough element of town have been acting very obstreperous, so much so that they have defied the local authorities to make an attempt to interfere and cause their arrest.


Monday morning began with the usual revelry and continued until a few minutes of 1 o’clock, when the officers and their deputies were notified by several women, who live near the saloon in the old Boone property on Main Street opposite the town hall where the fighting and swearing was being carried on.


No sooner did the authorities enter the saloon than a combat was entered into without taking time to sign articles of agreement. The floor was smeared with blood, window glasses were broken, guns were drawn and billies were brought into play by the officers who had about all they could handle.


The first arrest made was that of Ed Hatfield, who was found near the Methodist church completely exhausted from loss of blood. He was living in a pool of blood and his physician stated that he narrowly escaped death, having had a number of teeth knocked out and several ribs broken with an iron stove poker; his face frightfully mangled.


After his arrest the officers returned to the saloon to arrest the other fellows, who fought desperately, and had to be rendered senseless before they landed in the lock-up.


More blood was spilled in Beaver Dam than ever before; the life giving element could be found anywhere on the pavement. The entire town was out from the oldest to the youngest, while your correspondent was not far distant.


Old citizens, who know very little of the outside world, stood back and whispered to one another, “Beaver Dam against the world.” W.H. House was fined $40 and costs and Jay Criblez got $40 and thirty days.



THE REST OF THE STORY

1896 – The Beaverdam council are considering whether they will have the saloon law repealed. A petition was sent in by the Prohibition and also one by the other parties and each have about the same number of signatures.


1896 – The people of Beaverdam will vote on Friday of this week on a proposition to repeal the local option ordinance, which has been in force since March, 1895.


Note – The Bluffton News issue providing the results of the local option, sadly, does not exist, and the official vote is therefore unknown.



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Obstreperous; old "new" word of the day.

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