When you think of “Prohibition”, bootleggers and moonshine may come to mind. You rarely imagine angry mobs in the streets of Eatonville.
From January 1919 to December 1933, people were prohibited from selling, manufacturing and transporting alcohol. This story takes place in August 1935, making it even more bizarre.
A Round for Everyone
It was a Sunday and the town’s baseball team had just won. Ed Skewis, owner of the pool hall (which we now call The Pour House), decided to serve a low-alcohol beer to celebrate the victory. The prohibition repeal was so recent that many weren’t sure if beer sales were legal or not on Sundays. Mr. Skewis didn’t take time to deliberate and served up beverages to the happy fans and players.
While folks were celebrating, two officers from the county prosecutor’s office showed up to discuss beer sales with Mr. Skewis. During their discussion “Tacoma Constable John Davis strode belligerently into the pool hall and ordered beer sales to stop. According to witnesses he was loud and officious.”
Things get Ugly
Walter Richmond, known as Muck around town, demanded to see Davis’s credentials. Things got a little physical, and Muck tore the back of Davis’ coat to see if he was wearing a badge, whereupon Davis reached for his gun.
Before Davis could draw, the crowd hustled him outside. People started gathering and soon the Constable was surrounded by folks “shouting jeers and catcalls”.
Davis responded by turning to a random bystander, who wasn’t even taking part in event, and demanding to know if he wanted to fight. When the man said “no” David shouted, “A good thing for you, you s.o.b.!” then punched the man in the face.
The crowd turned ugly and Davis ran into a nearby restaurant and asked if he could use the telephone to get help. Whoever was running the restaurant that day refused.
Davis then ran to elderly George Steel’s home — Eatonville’s town marshal and night watchman. Davis led Mr. Steel to the pool hall and demanded that he arrest the man Davis had punched in the face.
Marshal Parker steps in
Joe Parker, the “on call” marshal, stepped up. He flashed his badge and wouldn’t allow the arrest. The crowd cheered.
Davis, with few options remaining, threatened to arrest Marshal Parker. Parker didn’t back down. He said he would arrest Constable Davis on the spot and throw him in the town jail. Another cheer from the crowd.
Luckily for Mr. Davis, an officer from the county prosecutor’s office arrived on the scene and ordered Davis to leave. Davis did just that.
Information came from 1964 Dispatch, and thanks to Pat Van Eaton for suggesting this story.
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