Raw Data A-Z on Liquor ships smuggling to the New York City Market 1920-33
c.2014 Ellen Nickenzie Lawson Ph.D.
This raw data on 250 boats and ships seized near NYC during Prohibition was found at the National Archives and is the basis for chapters 1-3 of Smugglers, Bootleggers, and Scofflaws: Prohibition and New York City by Lawson, SUNY Press, 2013 available in paperback and as an e-book.
Acadian. Left Havana with liquor consigned to H. J. Levin in New York City. Seized.
Ada M. Involved in a case of possible bribing of the Coast Guard on south shore of Long Island. An officer at Coast Guard Headquarters in D.C. wrote of the ensuing legal action saying, “I am never surprised at anything a Grand Jury does, particularly a Brooklyn Grand Jury.”
Adriatic. This liner was in the White Star Line. Liquor was seized aboard it while it was in port in New York City and a writ was eventually issued for the liquor’s destruction.
Ainsley*. This ship carried both liquor and cocaine. Its supercargo was Murray, a “Jew” from New York City and the ship belonged to Ralph Bitters of the New Jersey Highlands.
Alanna. This scallop boat smuggled liquor to Long Island.
Albatross., Max Fox of Staten Island owned this tug as well as three other boats on Rum Row, namely Thorndyke, Lutzen and the Gaspe Fisherman. Fox used John (Bert) Crabbit as his manager in New York City. This tug boat was chased and fired on off Rum Row, seized, and hauled back to Battery Point in New York harbor. Attorney Louis Halle argued for its release.
Albert Ballin. This American boat was suspected of being the contact boat for the S.S.Thuringia sailing from Germany to New York. The German captain, musicians, ship’s butcher, second cook, etc. were suspected of being in on the smuggling.
Albertina*. Captain George Jeffries, 63, commanded this boat seized off Fire Island. He told the Coast Guard that patrol boat #8 was always “friendly
Alexander. This coal ship picked up liquor on Rum Row, then changed its name to Rose Murphy before entering New York harbor. Charles Levy, 245 West 51st, was supercargo on this coal ship.
Algie. Out of Nova Scotia, this boat ran aground on Shagwand Reef off Long Island as it was trying to slip into Fort Pond Bay. It had been trailed for a week by the Coast Guard. A rum sailor argued the Coast Guard should have rescued it, as it was in distress, and not have seized it.
Alice Jane. This speedboat evaded a Coast Guard picket boat one foggy December night off Bay Shore, Long Island. Before doing so, the smugglers dumped cases of liquor overboard onto an ice floe for later pickup. Later the boat was found in an Islip shipyard with ice cuts on its bow.
Alpaca. The boat on Rum Row was assumed to belong to Al Capone.
Al Smith. This ship, registered in Honduras, was named for Governor Al Smith of New York, the wet presidential candidate in 1928. The ship was seized near New Orleans but released because it was outside the legal twelve mile limit.
America. This was a British smuggler rescued in a winter storm off Montauk Point, Long Island.
Amoy. Named for the Amoy Corporation of New York City, this Chinese junk was stocked with “modern” electric appliances and it cruised the American South taking sales orders. William S. Rhoades, a former rum captain turned government witness, was captain of the Amoy. His attorney wrote a letter of introduction should he be stopped at sea by the Coast Guard. “As you know he [Rhoades] is a college graduate, a fraternity man, the son of a preacher, and quite different from any other rum captain that I have met, “ his attorney wrote, adding, “He claims, and I believe him, to be all through with anything resembling a law violation.”
Annie Louis. A Coast Guard captain at sea was short-handed and unable to search this two-masted cod fishing schooner. He cabled ahead for it to be searched in New York City when it docked at the foot of Fulton Street. When Custom’s arrived, the ship was deserted, but liquor was indeed found beneath the catch of codfish.
Ansonia. This was captured right in New York harbor.
Antonia. This scallop boat stocked with liquor was seized in Ambrose Channel at the entrance to New York’s upper bay.
Arabic. An informer in Antwerp telegrammed that this passenger ship of the Red Star Line, along with a freighter named the Delilian of the Leyland Line, would smuggle labeled as “carpet tacks” and “glass” and consigned to L. Schloss, 1125 Broadway, “an important combine” which regularly smuggled liquor with the assistance of corrupt Custom’s officers at the docks. When the Arabic docked at Pier 58 at the foot of 17th Street in the Hudson River, 125 cases of tacks were inspected and 115 contained rye. The informer had suggested the shipment be tracked, not seized, but his advice was not followed.
Arco Felice. This four-masted Italian schooner based in Naples carried a cargo insured by Lloyd’s of London and was commanded by Michaelangelo Romano, 27, of Castellamare del Golfo, Sicily with Antonio Gallo, 45, as first mate and Antonio Gallo, 25, second mate. The schooner was seized in Huntington Bay in December, no liquor aboard, but corks strewn everywhere and papers showed 8,000 cases of whiskey and champagne had been picked up earlier in Havana. The owner of the liquor was H. J. Levin in Havana, also involved in seizures of the Acadien and the J. Duffy. Boatswain Austin A. Troy, responsible for the seizure of the Arco Felice, believed the district attorney’s office in Brooklyn was “not at all interested in this case and doesn’t intend to do much about it” since neither Venza of Little Italy, whose name was mentioned in the letters seized aboard, nor an uncle of the captain were questioned when they visited Romano in jail. The captain and his two mates were found guilty and sentenced to prison in Atlanta but were free while the case was on appeal. The decision was reversed because no physical evidence of smuggling was seized, only inferences made from the corks and the seized letters. The appeals judge concluded, “It is not a crime to sell or deliver intoxicating liquor on the high seas.”
Arethusa, renamed Tomoka. Captain William McCoy owned this Gloucester-built schooner which was fired on by the Coast Guard on Rum Row in its early days when it was three miles off shore. Then the schooner was chased inside the legal limit, despite having a British flag, and boarded after it came under Coast Guard fire. But the guardsman placed aboard to steer it back to shore was forced, at gunpoint, to change directions, and there was another chase at sea. This time it was caught and McCoy warned his schooner would be fired and sunk if another escape was attempted. Again the Tomoka took off, was chased, fired upon, and surrendered. This time its sails were hauled down and armed guardsmen placed aboard to take it back to shore, arriving at Staten Island at midnight. The schooner was later sold at auction to an American, then illegally registered as British, and seized again with liquor at the entrance to New York harbor. Still later, under French registration, the ship was cleared by Customs to sail to Miquelon in the North Atlantic but headed for Bermuda once it cleared New York. Assistant U.S. Attorney General Mabel Walker Willebrandt said, “It is more difficult to handle rum running ships under foreign registry than under American.”
Arlyn. This sugar freighter in the Bull Insular Line traded between Florida and New York. The freighter met up with a Canadian ship, the John Manning, off the Carolinas and took on liquor. When the Canadian ship sank in a storm after that, the Americans returned to rescue the crew. The freighter docked at midnight at Pier 75 near the end of West 36th, the liquor was unloaded, and the Canadians disappeared into the city. Then the freighter returned to Staten Island and returned to Manhattan the next morning to unload the sugar. The Coast Guard had cracked the freighter’s radio code and Custom’s seized the freighter for importing liquor and illegal aliens.
Atalanta. This armored speedboat from Perth Amboy, N.J. had no legal papers and was owned by R. Bitters of the Highlands. Its captain was 26, 5 foot 10 inches, “well-proportioned, and spoke like a man of education and refinement, “ with teeth which were “noticeably white and regular.” When the Coast Guard stopped and boarded the speedboat, the captain “brutally assaulted” the guardsman and escaped. Angry at this assault, the Coast Guard searched the bays and inlets of Staten Island, the Atlantic Highlands, and Sandy Hook, and found the speedboat several months later. It no longer had armor on it so its owner could not be charged with piracy.
Athenia. This boat in the Dwyer rum syndicate was mentioned in Costello’s trial by Coast Guard officer Samuel Briggs of New London who admitted that he was bribed to make sure honest patrol boats were far away and corrupt ones assigned to greet and guide smuggling boats to shore.
Augusta. This coal steamer worked for the Dwyer syndicate and its capture in the Hudson in 1925 was a significant break in the case against Dwyer. Captain Snow, alias Charles Wilson, was in charge and the steamer was owned by John McCambridge and A.M. Eversole who were represented by attorney Louis Halle. Snow’s tally book mentioned the Sea Grill Restaurant or Chop House on West 45th which was where Larry Fay, Bill Dwyer, and other bootleggers met nightly with lawyers.
Beatrice. Captain Charles Lemarois, 48, committed suicide in a snowstorm on Rum Row and his crew returned to Nova Scotia without disbursing any liquor. The captain was believed to be despondent over a death in his family and financial reverses related to rum running.
Beatrice L. A rum radio station on or near Manhattan guided this boat to shore and the station was raided soon afterward.
Black Duck. Three smugglers on this New England boat were killed in a chase by the Coast Guard and there was a great public outcry afterward. Bootleggers in the Hamptons on Long Island were rumored to have a financial interest in the Black Duck and in the Flora del Mar, captured soon after off Montauk.
Brooklyn. Owned and operated by A&S Transportation Company of Newark, this barge was towed off Rockaway to dump sewage and then boarded by a swarm of men from the tug doing the towing. They forced the captain and engineer into the pump room and proceeded to unload liquor onto the barge from a nearby Canadian ship named the Josephine K. until stopped by the Coast Guard which began firing on the tug and ship, killing the Canadian captain.
Butetown. Ostensibly a British ship on Rum Row, its liquor was owned by anonymous American bootleggers headquartered in Newark, N.J.
Butterfly. A subchaser built in Buffalo for the Imperial Russian Navy, this boat was used as a fast pilot boat on New York’s Rum Row before it was returned to Buffalo where it was seized smuggling liquor across Lake Erie.
Caroline. A fishing boat seized at Fulton Fish Market on the East River.
Catherine Morris. Possibly one of the pirate ships which robbed the Mulhouse on Rum Row according to newspaper accounts.
Caucasier*. A ship in the Lloyd Royal Belgium Line out of Antwerp, it was anchored off Brooklyn when Customs raided it and found 600 bottles of liquor in one of the water tanks. Six months later, ten Customs agents battled 25 longshoremen with fists and gunfire when the same ship docked in Manhattan. One thousand bottles of wine were aboard it this time.
Charmain II. Pirates on this speedboat robbed the Jean-Louis on Rum Row. The Coast Guard came alongside the second day, not knowing of the piracy, and “had a parley with the pirates.” A week later the same speedboat was chased and fired on off Sea Girt, N.J. and its crew was rescued before it sank.
Cherrie. Captain Henri Ducos landed liquor bound for Manhattan off Louisiana. Sim Benoit made sure the liquor was put on freight cars for the North as “chicken feed.” The New Jersey syndicate which owned the Cherri also owned the I’m Alone, also operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
Cigarette. One of VInnie Higgins’ rum ships.
Clackemas. A rum ship sighted in New York harbor. Coast Guard Intelligence officer Charles S. Root then wrote a significant letter on how New York City was a great temptation to smugglers, that the harbor needed to be blockaded, and that corruption in the ranks was primarily among enlisted men with little skill dealing with “cunning smuggling rings.”
Clara Matthieu. Captain Browne-Willis was captured on this steam trawler in a collision off Cuttyhunk in the Elizabeth Islands west of Martha’s Vineyard. The steamer was on its way to New York City. Released on heavy bail, Browne-Willis then captained the Trader several times into New York harbor before he was captured again.
Clark A. Corkum. Supposedly, this New York boat robbed the Mulhouse at sea.
Coast Guard patrol boats #4,#103, #106, #126, and #203. The Dwyer syndicate’s Lynx II was disguised to look like patrol boat #4. The other patrol boats had been corrupted by the liquor syndicates.
Commodore. This rum yacht was owned by a Jewish syndicate in Patchogue, New York.
Consuelo II. Seized in Long Island Sound, this yacht’s liquor was hidden in two steel tanks under a floor covered by a heavy iron stove and a “concrete floor.”
Corone. Walter Cummins, Eighth Avenue, Manhattan, owned this coal steamer which was seized off Atlantic City, N.J. Its crew was drunk at the time. The sailors were released before they could be questioned.
Corsica. This coal ship delivered liquor to Oyster Bay.
Cote Nord*. Johnny “the Greek” Korontoni owned this ship seized off Rhode Island. It relied on signals from a corrupt Coast Guard boat off Block Island.
Cygnet. This New York sword fishing boat, suspected of rum running, went aground off Martha’s Vineyard.
Dauntless 6. This was a fast New York tug boat whose crew hijacked a returning sewage barge off Lightship Ambrose and loaded liquor onto it from a nearby
Canadian rum runner.
S.S. Delilian.* A Dutch freighter smuggling liquor to New York City in cases marked as containing glassware.
Del Ray II. Emerson B. Taber of Montauk owned this sloop which was seized off a South Hampton beach one wintry night.
Desiree. This boat landed liquor on Long Island near Ditch Plain Coast Guard station.
S.S.Deutschland.* Undercover Prohibition agents working for Bruce Bielaski boarded this German ship in the Hamburg American Line at Pier 42 in the Hudson River near W. 41nd Street. The agents purchased liquor on board and then paid off Customs agents supposed to be guarding the pier.
Dick. This Dwyer syndicate boat, with an armored engine room and pilot house, was licensed as a fishing boat and belonged to Bill Duffy, boxer Jack Dempsey’s former manager. The rum speedboat could go almost 40 m.p.h. and was used to decoy Coast Guard ships on Rum Row.
Donetta*. Seized on Rum Row, this ship supposedly worked for Emil Wormser’s Port Chester syndicate.
Dori. Michaelangelo Romano captained this Genoese Steamer before he captained the Arco Felice seized in Huntington Bay. The Dori planned to land 130-170 illegal aliens from Sicily in New York City but was forced to land them instead in Nova Scotia, most of them were caught and deported.
S.S. Dorin.* This Dwyer syndicate boat had Charles Smith in its crew. He perjured himself as the first witness in the conspiracy case against Dwyer in 1926. Files for the boat mention a man named Bernstein and how he would meet at night with others in the Dwyer syndicate at Dinty Moore’s Place, drinking Canadian ale in a back room.
Dorothy. This ex-submarine chaser turned rum runner, registered as Cuban, was lost at sea in August 1927. It crew was mainly from Brooklyn and its legal owner was Henry Williams of Hamden, Ct. and Brooklyn. See Winona.
Dorothy M. Smart. Owned by R. Wylk or Wilkie of Long Island, this boat held four sailors hostage who waved blankets from its deck on Rum Row and were rescued by the Coast Guard. Later Ernest Whitehead, 42nd Street, Manhattan, held a mortgage on it when it was fired on by the Coast Guard while on Rum Row.
E. A New York garbage scow smuggling liquor back from Rum Row.
Economy. A British steamer captured in the Narrows one night with half a million dollars’ worth of liquor aboard.
Edward Westerdeke. This steam trawler owned by Archie M. Glock of Bay Shore, Long Island, was captained by Bill Apsch of Islip, a known rum smuggler.
Eker. The ship from the Bahamas working for the Kinder syndicate in New Jersey and Chicago was seized off Yonkers with liquor aboard as well as a memorandum book containing payoffs to Prohibition agents, Customs agents, and local police and public officials in Edgewater, N.J.
Elizabeth S. This Massachusetts boat was seized in Long Island Sound.
Ellen Little. This boat was seized in New York harbor.
Ellice B. This was a Dwyer syndicate boat suspected in the piracy of Veronica on Rum Row.
Elma. Formerly a lighthouse tender owned by the government, this rum boat ran liquor in Long Island Sound and later was seized off the Carolinas with a regular crew and a pirate crew aboard, including top members of the Dwyer and Kinder syndicates.
Entrophy. This yacht was leased by Henry D. Walbridge of 654 Madison Avenue to Norman B. Woolworth and carried a party of 16 and a crew of 21 to Cuba. Coast Guard suspected its purpose was to bring liquor back to the states, possibly for use at the Hutton debutant party, Hutton being a niece of Woolworth.
Etta M. Burns. A New England fishing boat which smuggled liquor to Fulton Fish Market in New York City until it was wrecked off a beach on Martha’s Vineyard.
Fantasma. This yacht was seized off Port Jefferson, Long Island for smuggling liquor. It was then registered as Honduran and then as Cuban, with dummy owners.
Flora del Mar. Seized after it was found burned and abandoned off Shagwong Reef off Montauk Point.
Flying Dutchman. A seized rum runner re-sold at auction in Dead Man’s Basin for $1000.
Frances. Chased and fired on in Long Island Sound near Black Point, Connecticut.
Franconia. This ship was seized at dock in Manhattan because its captain failed to seal the ship’s bar while in port.
Fred B. This ship, whose contents were owned by an Anglo-American banker, had contact boats off the Rockaway and off Staten Island. Eventually the ship was seized off Monmouth Beach, N.J.
Gaspe Fisherman. A boat working for the Fox-Levine syndicate on Staten Island, the boat was trailed for three years on Rum Row but never seized. It eventually caught fire and sank off Nantucket.
Gemma. This ship was seized off Montauk Point.
George Cochran. This Newfoundland fishing boat also ran liquor to New York City.
Gray Goose. A wealthy New Yorker owned this yacht which was seized on Cape Cod with a few bottles of liquor aboard.
Grayhound. Rum runner owned by Charles R. “Vinnie” Higgins, 7901 4th Avenue, Brooklyn.
Hackensack Sun. An oil tanker reputed to move liquor up and down the East Coast.
Haleyou. This rumrunner was seized in New York harbor.
Harbour Trader. This boat was seized two miles from East Rockaway Inlet.
Helen G. McLean.This two-masted fishing boat was seized off East Hampton, Long Island.
Hattie T. This was seized off Long Island, possibly near the Benson Estate.
Henrietta. Belonging to the Wylk gang of Hempstead , this boat sank in a winter storm off Long Island and three crewmen died. Elias Garduci of the Dietz Estate was arrested for storing liquor for the gang.
Henry L. Marshall. Captain McCoy’s first boat, it was seized off New York and McCoy eventually served a nine month prison sentence related to this seizure.
Hercules. Philip Maresca of Freeport, Long Island owned this scallop boat which was seized on Rum Row and sank when it was towed back to shore.
Hiawatha. Benjamin Feldman of Lower Broadway owned this speedboat seized in the Chesapeake Bay. See Whipporwill.
Hohenlinden. The Kinder/ Gertner syndicate of Newark and Chicago owned this trawler which was found, abandoned, at a dock in northern New Jersey. A strong box found aboard had pistols, shells, cartridge boxes, and five liquor permits.
Holmewood. This rum ship from Nova Scotia changed its name outside New York harbor to the Texas Ranger and sailed right up the Hudson River before it was stopped near Haverstraw.
Ida C. Robinson. African-American John Gross captained this schooner with a crew of three, two of the sailors being white men. Gross took liquor from a rum runner in Chesapeake Bay and loaded it onto a barge going to New York through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
Idle Hour. This fast New York boat with maxim silencers was chased and fired on off Rhode Island and bullets entered a beach house at Sakonnet.
I’m Alone. A ship operated by the Kinder/Gertner syndicate. The ship traveled up and down the East Coast with liquor and was sunk by the Coast Guard in the Gulf of Mexico ten miles off Louisiana. For more on the ensuing international legal case, see University of Rochester Library Bulletin, XXIII, Spring 1968, No. 3, “A Tale from the Days of Prohibition.”
James B. This boat sank off Montauk Point after colliding with a Coast Guard patrol boat. Syndicate attorney Louis Halle, 152nd West 42nd, protested on behalf of the captain who said he was boxed in beyond the legal limit and couldn’t steer.
Java. Boat, captain, and crew were from Long Island. One sailor suffered a head wound during gunfire with the Coast Guard. The deckhouse on the boat was then armored, but still a sailor was injured in the next shooting when a bullet went through the window of the pilot house. The boat was stopped and/or seized in lower Delaware Bay, Gravesend Bay, Great South Bay, etc. over a two year interval.
J.B.Young. According to Captain McCoy, this ship’s crew became mutinous when the bootleggers unloading its cargo off the Ambrose and Fire Island lightships took too long e.g.several weeks.
John Manning. This Canadian liquor ship sank in a storm off the Carolinas after unloading liquor onto an American sugar freighter named the Arlyn. The Americans turned back and rescued the Canadian crew.
John W. Dwight. Owned by New Yorkers, this ship mysteriously sank between Cuttyhunk and Martha’s Vineyard and bodies drifted in Vineyard Sound.
Josephine K. A Canadian rum ship captained by [William ?] Cluett unloaded liquor onto the barge Brooklyn off Ambrose Lightship. He was shot by the Coast Guard and later rushed to Staten Island’s Marine Hospital where he died, conscious but unwilling to make a statement.
Julito. Captain Jack Duran of Havana managed the Spanish crew on this Honduran registered rum ship whose supercargo was Gus Smith, believed to be an alias for Ralph Bitter running a northern New Jersey syndicate. Personal film was seized when the ship was stopped and the photos saved in Coast Guard files. The boat was later seized, off Norfolk.[ Many of these photos are included on this web page.]
Kingfisher. The Atlantic Coast Towing and Transportation Company of New York City owned this tug captained by Alexander A. Tanos. The tug was searched in the Narrows, and later chased and seized on Rum Row. The tug had a double-bottom capable of hiding thousands of cases of liquor, but the captain insisted he didn’t know about the secret compartment. Eventually the tug caught fire and burned near the Cape Cod Canal, and it drunken crew was rescued.
Klip. Chased by the Coast Guard in New York’s Upper Bay, this speedboat dodged in and out of water traffic as passengers on the Staten Island Ferry watched, then dropped to the deck in the ensuing gunfire.
Lessgehn. This New Bedford tug boat was owned by John McCambridge of Brooklyn who was tried and acquitted four times for smuggling. The engineer aboard this tug used a smokescreen which “seriously gassed” one guardsman during a chase in which one rum sailor was killed.
Lily May. The Marine police found this boat abandoned at 4th Street and the East River. There were 195 bottles of whiskey still left on board.
Litchfield. This schooner as seized off Yonkers with liquor hidden below a load of lumber.
Lizzie D. This ship, also owned by John McCambridge, was lost at sea with sixteen aboard.
Lomergain. Built in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the late twenties, this was captained by Fred Himmelman and was the largest rum ship sailing from that port.
Loretta. The captain lived in Hell’s Kitchen and R .J. Foster of 11 Broadway owned this barge which smuggled on the Great Lakes and on the Hudson River
Lynx II. Captained by Antonio Pietro of Astoria, Long Island, this high-powered speed boat was chased between Sandy Hook and Sea Bright, New Jersey. The smugglers returned the gunfire of the Coast Guard, 150 shots were fired, and Pietro died. Its next captain was F. Heppner, 605 E.135th Street, who lived not far from where it was docked at 132nd Street in the East River. By this time, the boat had been repainted to resemble a Coast Guard patrol boat with a removable placard, reading “Coast Guard # 4” over its name.
Madeline D. A fishing boat primarily engaged in rum running which could be found at Fulton Fish Market.
Madeline E. Adams. Two sailors on this British schooner on Rum Row tried to bribe the crew of Coast Guard #3 to bring in liquor to New York City. Guardsmen went along, to collect evidence against the British ship, and then the ship was chased at sea for twelve hours before it was captured.
Mae K. this boat was seized near the Rockaway Inlet buoy, one mile from Long Beach.
Magdalene. Dr. Johnson of Greenport, Long Island, owned this rum boat.
Mantoue. This New York rum boat was owned by the same syndicate that owned the Dwight and the Gemma.
Margaret Witte*. A. four-masted German schooner from Hamburg transported liquor cases of “glass” consigned to A. C. M. Nebins and S. Witt Company Ltd. of New York City. Those cases actually carrying liquor were marked in the upper right-hand corner with a triangle enclosing three red dots. The ship also smuggled narcotics. Another time the ship was on Rum Row, supposedly in distress and danger from sinking, and the William A. Morse from Brooklyn happily “rescued” the liquor aboard. See William A. Morse.
Marion Phyllis. This British ship was seized near Shinnecock Light off Long Island. Its captain said he did not know the name of his American contact boat but that had a yellow flag with a black ball in its center and the transfer of liquor was done with matching torn bills or playing cards.
Mary. Chased and fired on in Sheepshead Bay, this rum runner was later chased and fired on for forty miles off Rum Row until it was rammed by the Coast Guard.
Mary E. Gully. The rum ship was owned by the same early New York City syndicate which owned the Dwight and Gemma.
Mary H. Diebold. A legitimate ship out of Norfolk with five masts was impersonated by a four-masted rum runner from Nova Scotia making deliveries in Chesapeake Bay, which were then unloaded and sent on to New York on freight cars belonging to the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Mary Mother Elizabeth. A two-masted fishing schooner owned by Charles Friedman, an alias for R. A. Wylk of Rockville Centre, Long Island, was seized off Jones Inlet. Wylk also owned the cargo and Sigvald Anderssen, 295 Carroll Street, Brooklyn, was the supercargo who pled guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison. Wylk named the ship after a Mother Superior at Mercy Hospital in Hempstead, an “intimate acquaintance,” possibly a family member? Eventually the schooner wrecked on the rocks in Nova Scotia, although a ship with the same name appeared in the records of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after Prohibition.
Mary of New Bedford. This fishing boat, with a secret compartment for liquor, was seized in Sheepshead Bay .
Mascot . Steaming with its light off on a moonlit night in a calm sea off Rockaway Point, this rum runner was seized but its captain escaped.
Maud S. II. R. W. Alcock owned this fishing trawler which smuggled liquor under a load of shrimp to Bay Shore, Long Island. Local bootleggers George and William Murdock, 31 Homan Avenue, were aboard at the time.
Maud Thornhill. John Campbell owned this British schooner. He was convicted of trying to corrupt guardsmen at Coast Guard Base One in New Jersey.
Maurice R. Shaw. This coal barge and the Lizzie D. Shaw, a tug, were seized just before New Year’s Eve off Barnegat Light in New Jersey.
Maurice Tracy. This Norfolk coal barge was seized at Quarantine in New York harbor based on a decoded message from a rum ship on Rum Row.
Mayflower. This rum runner used a smokescreen of “poison gas” to escape after a chase off Rockaway beach involving 120 rounds of Lewis M. machine gunfire and 220 rounds of Thompson machine gunfire.
Mazel Tov. Under surveillance on Rum Row for a year, this “foreign” ship, owned by the Bronfmans of Canada, was seized when it strayed within the 12 mile limit but released since it could only go ten m.p.h. and was actually 11.5 miles off Martha’s Vineyard. The court ruled the original treaty specific an hour not 12 miles as the limit.
Meliva. A New York-based rum runner seized off Barnegat Light in N.J.
Mercury. This tug, and accompanying barge with liquor in its oil tanks, was seized off Sea Girt, N.J.
Merrimac. The ship was seized off Lightship Ambrose and then released since its cargo was legitimate denatured alcohol for the American Solvent Company.
Metak.* Canadian W.L. Van Dyke owned this ship hauling liquor for the Dwyer syndicate in New York. The ship was escorted right to the dock in Manhattan at night by a corrupt Coast Guard patrol boat. George Ferguson was supercargo and unwisely confided to Engineer Stamper that Dwyer was the biggest smuggler in New York City.
Missoe. A rum New York yacht with supercargo Joe Romero aboard, this boat was seized on Rum Row and towed all the way back to Bedloes [Liberty] Island.
Mistinguette. A French ship bound for Nassau was seized three miles from Amagansett, Long Island, well off course. Louis Halle, lawyer for the Dwyer-Costello syndicate, argued for the defense
Modesty. A sub-chaser converted to a yacht, replete with wicker furniture, this boat was owned by James Murphy of New York City with his nephew Christopher Byrnes along with Jack Kennedy of 125 W. 45th, Manhattan. Supposedly the yacht picked up liquor in Maine and returned via Long Island Sound, the Harlem River, Spuyten Duyval Creek, and the up the Hudson, with the liquor being trucked back to Manhattan.
Mulhouse. This French liquor ship was robbed by pirates on Rum Row, three miles out, in 1924, by 40 armed pirates sailing from Sheepshead Bay. The captain was forced to relocate the ship off Fire Island where it was looted for ten days of $800,000 worth of liquor. Supercargo James Kimpton, an American who had served in World War I, said this piracy was a worse experience than the war. The boats reportedly involved in the pirating were; Patara, Catherine Marie, Clark Corkum, Maud Thornhill, M.M. Gardiner, Mary Conrad, Tess Aubrey, Quaco Queen, and Genevieve.
Nancy. This rum runner was pirated by a Dwyer syndicate boat on Rum Row, the pirates pretending to be guardsmen in a Coast Guard patrol boat. They were discovered when they entered New York harbor and failed to give a passing patrol boat the traditional Coast Guard wave.
Nantisco. This three-masted lumber vessel boat carrying pine from Maine to Manhattan was seized at the dock. It was stopped earlier in Vineyard Haven and cleared but then went to Rum Row and loaded up on liquor. Captain Hans Fuhrman commanded the Nantisco on a later voyage and was slated to give testimony against Waxey Gordon, his boss, but committed suicide in his guarded hotel room.
Nerissa. A fishing transport ship carrying herring barrels from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to Brooklyn. A Manhattan fish dealer reported finding whiskey at the bottom of five hundred barrels of herring.
Newton Bay. Possibly owned by a man named Simon from Long Island, this Nova Scotia boat had bullet-proofed windows and a pilot house encased by steel. It sailed to Rum Row for three years before it was seized nine miles off Long Island, probably on its way to New York harbor as it had made a “test run” delivering wood pulp a while before. Louis Halle, its attorney, insisted the ship was legitimately sailing from St. Pierre in the North Atlantic to Mexico but the Coast Guard argued, in that case, it would have been 300 miles off the coast and not nine.
Nomad. This ill-fated yacht smuggled liquor throughout Prohibition, despite going aground, fires, loss of a captain swept overboard in a storm, and piracy. At one point the yacht was owned by Leland H. Ross, 456 E. 57th Street. Later, it was owned by a Broadway producer named Wyman.
Notus. A trawler owned by a Brooklyn man which went aground neat Black Fish Rock off Montauk. Local residents went to salvage the liquor on the beach and came under fire from the Coast Guard according to an account in the New York Herald Tribune.
Nova V. This rum runner used radio contact with a station on the Leitches Estate in Patchogue, then with one at 51-53 Avenue, Brooklyn. The ship was seized near Shinnecock Light off Long Island.
Oblay. This boat was chased by the Coast Guard into Sheepshead Bay under fire, burned, then sank, and the crew aboard escaped.
Ocean Maid. Seized on Rum Row, this vessel supposedly smuggled to Oyster Bay, Long Island Sound.
Ohio. Owned by O’Boyle and Company, 11 Moore Street, Brooklyn, the vessel made a test run with no liquor into New York harbor. A week later it made a liquor run with 38 longshoremen aboard to handle the cargo. It was sighted and chased by the Coast Guard in the Narrows, near Clifton on Staten Island, but the liquor was successfully tossed overboard before capture. A mix-up among enforcement gave the smugglers twenty valuable minutes in which to dispose of the liquor because a Customs boat shone its light on the Coast Guard patrol boat, supposedly thinking the patrol boat was the smuggler! (The patrol boat was itself a converted smuggling vessel and all the action took place in the dark of night, so it was either a genuine mistake or Customs had been paid off by the smugglers.)
Orduna. This Royal Mail Steam Packet Company ship from Europe was seized in New York harbor and seven of its crew of 200 arrested for smuggling. Bond of a million dollars was required so the ship could continue to deliver mail back to Europe without waiting for resolution of the case. Eventually Judge A. N. Hand decided the captain’s innocence meant the liner could not be seized. The guilty crewmen served short jail terms.
Orziba. Passengers on this liner were seen to pass cases of liquor over its side as it steamed to the dock in Manhattan.
Over the Top. This British ship was well beyond the legal limit of 12 miles but it was seized soon after the new international treaty went into effect in 1924 by 24 guardsmen with rifles under Lieut. Commander von Paulsen. The Coast Guard argued the “one hour” distance in the treaty referred to the American speedboats which could reach the British ship in an hour, but the judge ruled otherwise.
Passaic Sun. A Sun Oil tanker which travelled up and down the East Coast was suspected of picking up liquor at sea.
Patricia. Daniel Grimshaw, an oysterman of East Hampton, owned this speedboat which smuggled liquor.
Paul Jones. This boat was seized off Jones Inlet, Long Island.
Petara. This Nova Scotia rum runner was chased twenty miles to sea, captured, and Captain Tanner and crew manacled and confined below deck, held without bail on Christmas Eve. The ship was rumored to have pirated the Mulhouse and had been sighted unloading liquor onto a Dwyer syndicate boat named the Dick.
Pictonian. This ship from Nova Scotia was 14 miles off shore, beyond the new legal limit in 1924, but it was seized as part of a testing of the wording of the treaty regarding distance as one hour for the supplier, or one hour for the contact boat, or simply 12 miles. After three years of litigation with Louis Halle and Nathan April arguing for the defense, the Pictonian was freed. This testing of the treaty also included seizures of the Norwegian Sagatind and the British Over the Top, also beyond the 12 mile limit.
Pilot. A chartered fishing boat with crew from New York City was seized with liquor in Bear Inlet, North Carolina.
Pinta. Daniel Grimshaw of East Hampton also owned this sloop seized off East Hampton when the Helen W. McLean was seized.
Play Boy. Halted off Rockaway Inlet during a Coast Guard inspection of small yachts and fishing boats one summer, this yacht burned to the water’s edge and its crew escaped before it could be seized.
Pocomoke. Owned by Charles Larsen of the Fourth Avenue Hotel in Manhattan, this boat was seized off Block Island, Nomansland near Martha’s Vineyard, and Long Island Sound.
Quaco Queen*. This lumber boat fetched lumber from Canada and liquor from Rum Row. Cook Joseph Laline, housed at the Seaman’s Church Institute in Manhattan when not at sea, gave testimony against the captain. Another time an agent from Customs seized the boat at 155th Street and the Harlem River.
Raritan Sun. This Sun Oil tanker, which picked liquor up from Rum Row, was seized at the foot of Court Street in Brooklyn. The corporation was unaware of this smuggling activity.
Rask. A Bermuda ship on Rum Row, its captain was questioned by Customs when the ship, with a doctor aboard, came to Jamaica Bay with a badly-burned crewman from the Elice B. , an American contact boat on the Row. The injured man was taken by speedboat to Rockaway Beach Hospital.
Reliance. Seized on the Delaware River, this boat’s crew and captain, Charles Newton, were from New York.
Rescue. This tug was altered at the Staten Island Shipbuilding Company works in Mariners’ Harbor to make it faster. It operated within New York harbor, darting between ferry boats and other harbor traffic. It had a race horse painted on its smoke stack. Once it was chased by the Coast Guard and Marine Police, with accompanying gunfire, up the East River to Jefferson Street pier and scuttled, and most of its crew escaped. Louis Gertner, 701 West. 175th, came to the Barge office to post bail for those captured but left when he was told whoever posted bail would also receive a grand jury subpoena. Eventually Dwyer syndicate lawyer Louis Halle posted bail.
Roamer. This Montauk-based boat was seized with liquor while at anchor in Nepeague Bay.
Robert C. Lowry. Owned by Charles Ferstner, 351 West 11th Street, this former cable-laying ship reeked of liquor in New York harbor and zigzagged in an irregular fashion. Upon investigation, its crew of 15 was found to be intoxicated and surrounded by 5,000 cases of whiskey. The ship was seized and hauled to the Battery where its crew was given coffee and bread to sober up.
Rosemary. This boat was seized with liquor on the Hudson near 15th Street, Hoboken, New Jersey. Defense lawyer Halle argued that New Jersey had no jurisdiction as New York owned the entire river but only half of the river bottom
Rosie M.B. A British ship seized ten miles from Montauk Point, the ship had aboard twenty torpedoes capable of carrying 50 gallons of liquor each to shore submerged behind speedboats. The crew claimed to have smuggled liquor to shore 74 times before being caught.
Ruth Mildred. This New York fishing vessel, loaded up with supplies at Fulton Market to resell to ships on Rum Row, was seized on its return. It was tried under the Tariff Act of 1922 and Louis Halle successfully argued for the defense saying that was the wrong Act. The United States Supreme Court in 1931 reversed this decision as fishing licenses do not specify liquor as an acceptable import.
Sagitta. J.L. Delamar, a millionaire from Glen Cove, Long Island, owned this high-powered speedboat before Prohibition and Ben McCoy, brother to the famed rum runner Bill McCoy, would pilot Delamar each day to the landing on the East River belonging to the New Y0ork Yacht Club. During Prohibition, this speedboat fell into the hands of rum runners.
S. C. 217. The Coast Guard chased this former sub-chaser and riddled it with gunfire. It sank off Sandy Hook, one crewman lost overboard and 16 crewmen rescued. The Coast Guard insisted the rum runner was deliberately scuttled with 1800 cases of champagne aboard. The same boat was later seized again for smuggling, indicating it was raised to the surface, with accompanying champagne, at some point?
Sagatind. A Norwegian liquor ship seized 22 miles at sea in the early days of the new international limit of 12 miles, as a test case. The ship was taken to New York harbor and anchored near the Statue of Liberty. The American contact boat seen near the ship could do 40 m.p.h. and the Coast Guard insisted the treaty’s “one hour” distance, as the legal limit, referred to the contact boat, not the supply one. The Norwegian crew was imprisoned on Ellis Island for 30 days and then voluntarily returned home. The officers remained free on bail in Manhattan for 18 months. After two years, the ship was released as the court’s decision was that the “one hour” referred to the supply ships. Fourteen years later, during the presidency of Roosevelt, the U. S. Congress made reparations to the crew. See House of Representatives, 75th Congress, 3rd session, Report #2093. See also Over the Top and Pictonian for similar testing of the new treaty.
Saint Pierraise. This rumrunner was seized in Gravesend Bay.
San Jose. This fishing boat belonged to John Anderson, 169 Gordon Place, Freeport on long Island. He insisted it was stolen and used by smugglers against his will. The seized boat was returned to him although the Coast Guard thought his story sounded “fishy.”
Santorsia. Seizure of this rum runner led to the trial of New York underworld figures who knew Captain Miles of the Winona.
Sanugentci. The Coast Guard believed it was firing on this New York rum runner one night when it was running without lights on Rum Row. In fact the gunfire hit the Shawnee, a British ship, which then began to leak. The United States formally apologized for the incident.
Scipio. This Bridgeport, Connecticut, boat was chased and seized off Fisher’s Island. The engineer aboard, Charles Samuelson, was critically wounded with gunshot to his skull and rushed to the hospital by the Coast Guard. An unidentified New Yorker hired a local attorney in the town where the hospital was located, and the attorney told the hospital to spare no expense to save the smuggler’s life. The Scipio was a sister boat to the Zip and to Whispering Winds.
Seafoam. An Italian syndicate from New York used this speedboat to unload liquor from an Azorean ship located off Lightship Ambrose.
Sea Gull. This New York fishing trawler was seized off Long Island and towed to Greenport. It was seized in New York’s lower bay later and no liquor found. The company’s owner said he would fire any captain found guilty of smuggling liquor.
Sebastapol. This British ship was seized at three in the morning in the Narrows. Someone on the ship had changed its name to Westmoreland before it entered the Narrows as the Coast Guard knew the Sebastopol was a rum runner. Extensive testimony was taken from the captain, crew, and supercargo.
Service. Joseph Stiman, 153 Brighton Avenue, Perth Amboy, N.J., owned this former subchaser which was captured off Staten Island with a thousand liquor cases aboard. On the tow to New York harbor, all but one of the crew escaped in dories off Quarantine and Tomkinsville.
S .F. Burns. Anthony Sczerbinsh, injured on Rum Row, was abandoned in this motor boat ( belonging to William Ryan) at Maple Avenue dock in Bay Shore, Long Island. A passerby heard his moans and notified authorities who moved him to the hospital where he died.
Shooter’s Island. This rum tug, with three machine guns mounted on its deck, traveled up and down the East Coast and operated out of Newark.
Sparrow. This speedboat removed liquor from a ship off Lightship Ambrose. See Seafoam.
Spindrift. This suspected rum runner was boarded by the F. B. I. and Customs at the dock at 96th Street on the Hudson River.
Standard. This tugboat, formerly used by Standard Oil Company, was seized in the East River.
Standard Coaster. This modern trawler, with its own electric light power, was seized off Staten Island and taken to the Barge office on Battery Point. Its captain escaped by jumping onto a wharf in the Narrows when the trawler scraped against the dock.
Storm Petrell. Arch Publicover of Staten Island and Henry Wilkey of Snug Harbor had financial interests in this rum runner and in another rum runner named the Dustan G. Creesey. The Storm Petrell was chased in Long Island Sound and seized near Greenwich, Connecticut, based on information that it had 20,000 cases of liquor aboard. But no liquor was found on it.
Strandhill. This ship from the Azores hovered off Lightship Ambrose for six weeks in the early days of Prohibition when the legal limit was only three miles. The Portuguese cook was later interviewed by the F. B. I. and gave the first names of the four Italian-Americans who unloaded the liquor onto speedboats.
Sumatra. Seized off Montauk Light after 25 rounds of gunfire, no liquor was found aboard after its capture. The liquor had been destroyed or, more likely, tossed overboard.
Sunoco. This Sun Oil tanker traveled up and down the East Coast and was suspected of delivering liquor picked up on Rum Row.
Surf. Used as a hospital ship in the recent World War by the American Red Cross, this yacht was captained by John Hayes of Montauk and owned by Arthur Deery, 527 Fifth Avenue. It was trailed over 70 miles and carefully watched by the Coast Guard for the last 27 miles because a recent decision by Judge John C. Knox in the U.S. District Court required searches of pleasure yachts only if evidence was later presented in court justifying such a search. The yacht was seized two miles off Montauk Point and taken back to New York City. The Coast Guard carefully documented the event with photographs as it hoped to commandeer the impressive yacht for its own use.
Sylvester. Robert Clark of Greenport, Long Island, owned this rum runner which was seized off Montauk Point with 500 cases aboard.
Spindrift. Seized at anchor off 96th Street in the Hudson River, no liquor was found although there were concealed spaces for carrying it.
Syzygy. Built at Wheeler’s Shipyard on Coney Island Creek in the final days of Prohibition, this fast yacht was built to look like a pleasure yacht at a time when the Coast Guard was taking more care in stopping and searching such yachts. This yacht was searched off Rockaway, Sheepshead Bay, and New York Lower Bay.
T. A. D. Jones. Named for a Yale football player, this coal ship was captained by William J. Keating and traveled between New Haven and Norfolk. The ship was suspected of picking up liquor as it passed Rum Row and once came under Coast Guard gunfire. The captain insisted the first mate was almost killed.
Tanawanda. Owned by a syndicate with three other suspected rum runners (Faithful, Sanugentci, and W. H. Eastwood), this boat was seized off New York and hauled to Red Hook in Brooklyn.
Temiscouda. Owned by Marie Amy Deveau, head of Meteghan shipbuilding in Nova Scotia, this fast boat with 800 m.p.h. engines, was seized off Culloden Point, Long Island. Later it was used for smuggling on the West Coast out of Vancouver, B.C.
Thorndyke. Sam Simon, of the Fox-Levine syndicate of Staten Island, owned this two-masted schooner which was one of the oldest rum runners in the business. It began smuggling the first year of Prohibition.
Three Links. Seized on Rum Row, the crew of this boat were from Long Island, including Peter Blohm of Brooklyn.
Thuringa. This German ship smuggled to the Manhattan docks.
Tilli. Ostensibly John Moore of New York City owned this Canadian square-rigger which was often on Rum Row and never seized.
Timothy. This boat was seized off Sandy Hook and then off Sea Girt, N.J. The mother of a crewman from New York City wrote Attorney General Stone in 1924 that its owner was John McCambridge of Kent Street in Brooklyn who also owner the Lorraine Rita, Underwriter, and the William Maloney, lost at sea with all hands aboard. She wrote that the Timothy had been caught many times, re-sold to the same people at auction, and resumed smuggling. “Such open defiance of the law is nothing short of rebellious.”
Toxaway. Fired on 300 times off Staten Island, the boat escaped in dark, hazy weather.
Trader. Owned by Max Bernstein, 217 Broadway, and Ben Gordon, Savoy Hotel (London?), this rum runner was captained by Browne-Willis, 2 Fulton Street. Max Gordon and Lefty Clayton were its supercargoes. The ship was seized in New York harbor near the Statue of Liberty. A U.S. Treasury official was pleased with the seizure which was based on an accurate description of the ship. He wrote such descriptions were essential “now that they appear to be running it in by the ship load.”
Underwriter. Owned by Arthur Maul, 552 W. 188th Street, Manhattan, and then by McCallister Towing, 17 State Street, this tug was captured four time in four months on Rum Row. Syndicate lawyer Louis Halle argued that the Coast Guard had no authority beyond the legal limit, and Judge Thomas, U.S. District Court in Connecticut, a state that never ratified the 18th Amendment, agreed with Halle. The Court of Appeals disagreed. Eventually the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals, Justices Brandeis and Holmes writing the majority opinion.
Vereign. John Stack, 899 Jefferson Avenue, Brooklyn, owned this yacht originally built for Gale Borden of Borden’s Milk Company at a cost of $200,000, named the Sovereign, and considered the fastest yacht in New York. The Vereign was seized after gunfire off Block Island. Three crewmen were injured. The fingerprints of Captain John Wilson, 36th and Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn, proved identical to those of Eugene Edgar Merrell, 1598 Richmond Avenue, Port Richmond, Staten Island, who was in the Naval Reserves as a Lieut. Commander in the recent World War.
Veronica. This British ship was robbed at sea of $700,000 in liquor off Montauk. The Schooners Association in London eventually concluded the piracy of the German liquor cargo was an insurance scam. The Chelsea Trading Company, 42nd and Broadway, was suspected of engineering the “piracy” and a Dwyer syndicate boat named the Ellys B. used to remove the liquor.
Victor. Seized in Gravesend Bay, the ship was release due to insufficient documentation of liquor smuggling.
Viola. This boat was abandoned on Eaton’s Neck, Long Island.
Vinces. Seized at the entrance to Long Island Sound, this ship belonged to the Wylk syndicate of Rockville, Long Island. The syndicate also owned the Mary Mother Elizabeth, Litchfield, and Henrietta. Most of its ships operated within a 15-mile radius off Fire Island Lightship and landed liquor in Jones inlet, Debs Inlet, and Fire Island, using ship to shore radio. The first station was in a Long Beach hotel until management insisted it be removed. Then the radio station was in a home in Freeport. Robert W. Lacey was a radio operator for the syndicate.
Virginia. This rumrunner was seized off Orient Point, Long Island Sound.
Walter Holken. Two crewmen on this German ship sought asylum in the United States and offered to testify that their ship unloaded liquor to two Coast Guard patrol boats near Fire Island lightship. They were returned to their ship but a closer eye kept on the suspected patrol boats.
Walter Thomas. This cabin cruiser with 150 cases of whiskey was seized off the Army Base in South Brooklyn. Jack Dalton, 109 W. 93rd, and Ralph Brewer, 529 West 135th, were arrested.
Wanderlust. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Green of new York City owned this yacht which was first sighted by the Coast Guard stranded on a Provincetown beach on Cape Cod, its crew and engineer seeming more like smugglers than respectable yachtsmen. A week later the yacht was sighted in New York harbor. Police at Rockaway Point Inlet seized 800 cases of liquor reputedly brought in by the yacht.
Warbug. A. C. Drew of New York owned this “yacht” which was later sold to a Marine Garage on 132nd and Locust in the Bronx where the Dwyer-Costello syndicate maintained a fleet. The pilot house was encased in metal sheeting and its interior gutted to permit large cargoes. The yacht was seized once near little Gull Light in Long Island Sound, later caught fire in Sheepshead Bay, then was repaired and seized again off East Rockaway Inlet in full view of a crowd at a beauty pageant parade. Eventually the yacht was stranded on a bar in Rockaway Inlet.
Western. D. Holden of New York owned this tug which wrecked on Budget Rock, Nova Scotia, in good weather with no fog. The tug carried liquor bound for the U.S. for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Whatzis. Barney Kaufman, 4702 15th Avenue, Brooklyn, owned this 65-foot motorboat, “the pride of the rumrunners.” It was pursued by the Coast Guard off Martha’s Vineyard Lightship in the final summer of Prohibition. Two smugglers were wounded before the rum runner was stopped and boarded.
W. H. Eastwood. This four-masted British schooner was trailed for six years on Rum Row but never caught inside the legal limit. Once its captain complained when a destroyer fired on it, saying it was being used for target. The Coast Guard did not deny the shooting but said it was accidental.
Whichone. Captain Fritz Keeping and his crew of nine were arrested when his mackerel fishing boat was seized off Asbury Park, N.J. and Brooklyn bootlegger Charles Higgins was arrested idling in a small boat near the fishing boat.
Whipporwill. This boat and the Hiawatha were captured in Chesapeake Bay. Benjamin Feldman (alias Benny Frye), president of Bango Shipping and Chartering, 305 Broadway, Manhattan, owned the boat. He and 14 others, most of them New Yorkers, including the two captains, crew, and radio man. They were sentenced to 6-18 months in prison after a five day trial in Maryland. Mug shots taken at the time offer a rare glimpse of an entire smuggling gang.
William A. Morse. This two-masted mackerel schooner was seized at Diamond shoal in the East River. The Coast Guard said U.S. Commissioner S. M. Hitchcock, who released the crew on bail at two in the morning without their being questioned, made the arresting officers feel like they were the accused, challenging the right of the Coast Guard in inland waters. A year later the boat, owned by Marcus Menella, 763 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, was sighted smuggling in Long Island Sound. Still later, the boat was seized on Rum Row near the Margaret Witte. Its liquor was stored at the Norfolk Naval Base for future use as a cleaning liquor for the post office and other federal departments and as medicine for hospitals. Its supercargo was James A. Pond who insisted he was Assistant Circulation Manager of the New York Press, 145 W. 45th Street, in Manhattan, but this was actually a gambling site giving out racing tips. Louis Phillips, a “notorious bootlegger,” and Max Schaefer, a well-dressed man who did not look like a working man, and lawyer Louis Halle, “the fixer”, were also associated with the Morse.
William H. Aubrey. This boat was abandoned, loaded with liquor, in a canal in Freeport, Long Island, in the final month of Prohibition. A blanket had been tossed over its stern covering up its name and port.
William H. Landry. Captain Peter Blohm, “notorious rum runner and lone survivor of the Henrietta,” was aboard when this boat was seized off Montauk and, later, off Fire Island.
William H. Moody. The ship transported stone slabs from Maine to Connecticut for the Stamford Mason Supply Company. Forty New Yorkers, including longshoremen and bootleggers, were arrested at the dock based on a tip from Annie Hill, the widowed caretaker of the company’s pier. The four arrested bootleggers, sitting in a parked car near the pier, were Louis Pope, “almost a legendary figure in Westchester County,” Isadore Skulky, Port Chester; Jack Saunders, 123 Herzel Street, Brooklyn, and Harry Gordon, Hotel Forrest, New York City.
William P. Maloney. Former New York policeman Roscoe Jenkins, 11o Lexington Avenue, captained this smuggling tug which was lost at sea with eleven aboard. The same syndicate lost the Llizzie D. two years earlier. Kinfolk of the men lost on the Maloney reported the loss to the Coast Guard which had not known about the sinking.
Williams 18. This yacht was seized near Corn Field Lightship in Long Island Sound.
Winnie. Samuel Gottlieb, 1478 Walton Avenue, Bronx, owned this yacht which was seized in the East River hiding in the wake of an oil tanker headed for Astoria, Long Island. Later the yacht was seized off the Delaware Capes. The judge ruled it was not a rumrunner, in the legal sense, even though everyone, including the judge, knew it was “designed, built, rigged, and fully maintained and equipped” to smuggle liquor.
Winfred H. This trawler was seized off Montauk, and later off Bay Shore.
Winona. William S. Rhoades owned this steam yacht. Its captain Arthur G. Stone (alias George H. Miles) was a Lieut. Commander in the Navy in the recent war. The yacht was boarded outside Gravesend Bay at the request of the captain to have second engineer Owen Kearns removed as “insane and a menace.” After this, the Coast Guard learned from Kearns that he had refused to go along with the captain’s plan to steam to Cuba to smuggle back aliens and liquor, and that the captain had knocked him out with powerful drinks. The yacht was then seized in Charleston, S.C. Its captain had served prison time for murdering a crewman on another boat, its chief engineer was an ex-convict, and another member of the crew was a narcotics dealer in Europe. The American contacts were New Yorkers with rooms at the Ritz Hotel where they kept Winchester rifles. James Regno, 34, once operated a still in Yonkers which was destroyed by fire, before operating out of Havana his passport gave his occupation as chauffeur based at 152 W. 42nd. The other American contact in Havana was Charles Levy, 33, well-dressed with a fondness for “obscene poetry.” Both Regno and Levy were arrested by the Cuban Secret Service as a favor to the American Coast Guard, ostensibly for possessing a pack of Camel cigarettes for which they had not paid duty and for having counterfeit dollar bills. The case against the Winona was successful, and the Coast Guard was pleased because the same syndicate also owned the Dorothy, lost at sea, and kinfolk of the drowned sailors had asked the agency to find and punish its owners.
Woodgod. This armored boat, with sophisticated smokescreen apparatus, went aground in Jamaica Bay and its rum crew escaped.
W. Talbott Dodge. Captain Hadley operated this “British” fishing schooner with no fishing gear on its deck when the Marine Police stopped it near midnight in the Narrows. There was liquor aboard but the captain maintained it was intended for delivery in Canada and that he only came to New York City to buy needed supplies at East 24th Street. But authorities knew Larry Fay, Manhattan bootlegger and now night club owner, had owned this same vessel earlier and had smuggled liquor to West 30th Street. They suspected the new “British” owner was a dummy for Fay.
W.T. Bell. This schooner, using lathes to cover the liquor, went aground in a storm off Bayville, Long Island Sound. Local police and the Coast Guard had to keep a crowd of locals, anxious to salvage the liquor, away from the beach and the ship, and raked the wreck and beach at night with searchlights.
Wydability. Anthony Crawford, 407 W. 153rd Street, “colored” owner and captain of this 100 foot long ship based in New York City, had a crew of European immigrants. The ship was stopped off the Carolinas outward bound for the West Indies as it appeared to be a rum runner. No liquor was aboard and it proceeded on its way.
Wykes-Regis. This British ship sank in Halifax harbor, Nova Scotia, with 10,000 cases of brandy and champagne aboard. Daniel F. Ritchey, a former New York City hotel proprietor, successfully sued for non-delivery in New York, despite Prohibition, as he had signed a note for $175,000 for the liquor and then re-sold the note to another New Yorker for $290,000.
Yankton. After pirates robbed this steamship of liquor on Rum Row, the starved crew gutted its wood interior and raised up steam and headed for New York City to turn the ship over to authorities.
Zeehond. This Dutch schooner was seized with champagne off Fire Island when the legal limit was three miles. American courts ordered the schooner returned as there was no evidence any liquor was intended for or had been delivered to the United States. The case was retried in Brooklyn once authorities felt they could prove liquor was landed on Cholera Banks near Rockaway, that Goyens, the supercargo, was in New York City taking orders for the liquor from a Mr. Leveque of 121 W. 123rd Street, Manhattan, and that both men visited the ship from Freeport, Long Island.
Zelda*. This steamer, captained by Henri Ducos of Bordeaux, France, was owned by a bootlegger based in the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon in the North Atlantic. The bootlegger was rumored to make a net profit of $100,000 with each successful trip to New York City despite the high cost of protection. A Bostonian named Snow, who used the aliases O’Reilley and Matieros, also had a financial interest in the Zelda as well as in two other rum runners, Beatrice and Clackemas. ( Ducos also captained the rumrunner Beatrice.) When the Coast Guard first went on the lookout for the Zelda, Ducos disguised its name as the Susquehana, but the ship was recognized anyway and seized by the Coast Guard off Lightship Ambrose.
Zip. This rum runner, a sister ship to the Scipio of Bridgeport, Ct., and to the Whispering Wind, was seized near Mattituck Inlet.
[For more information, consult the file with the same name as the vessel in Record Group 26, Coast Guard Seized Vessels 1920-33, National Archives, Washington D.C. If there is an astericks ( *) next to the name, consult R.G. 58 or R.G.56. Also forgive mistakes made in compiling this A-Z list as it was originally created over a span of years and required going through 90 archival boxes of files looking for a New York area connection. In addition, it is incomplete as undoubtedly some were missed.]