Grand River Local
Grand River, Decatur County, Iowa
June 17, 1926 [Centennial Edition]

Clarke County Officers nab well-known character
With Still and Jugs of "Hootch"

Walter Case, of `moonshine fame' who lives in the corner of Union, Decatur, Clarke and Ringgold, was found over the Clarke County line Thursday morning with enough evidence to warrant his arrest and being brought to Osceola. The "Bootleg King" of the Grand River Bottoms is now reposing in the city jail waiting for the court to do its will.

Wednesday, Walt appeared at Hopeville after hibernating in his house across the line for some time. He purchased a hundred pounds of sugar and a dozen cakes of yeast. In the back of his wagon was a still and coil. The conclusion was that he was getting ready to run off a batch of his famous concoction that will make a 'wren spit in the face of a chick hawk'.

The word got to Sheriff LeHuquet and he staged one of his dawn raids to Doyle Township. County Attorney Stansell and night watchman George Lowman made up the rest of the party. Walt was found asleep at the Doss home a mile and a quarter southwest of Hopeville. Doss does some soldering and repairing, and evidence pointed that Walt was having his 'still' repaired. Fresh solder was to be seen about the joints. The complete 'still', a one gallon jug and a two gallon jug each partly filled, were all brought to Osceola. The prisoner was hauled before Justice Funston and waived to the Grand Jury. Being unable to furnish the necessary bonds, he is patiently in the city bastille until the wheels of justice shall grind out the deserved punishment or finding him innocent, set him free.

This is not the first time that Walt has been in touch with the officers of the law. On a number of occasions, he has been raided and punishments of various kinds have been meted out to him. Last summer, state agents in company with local and Union County officers raided him and found considerable 'hootch' , some mash and a 'still'. All were taken to Creston and since the prisoner was, and is, suffering from malignant disease, he was allowed to go home.

Editors Note: The above article was torn from an early newspaper. The name of the paper was not noted and unfortunately, the last part of the article was lost.

It was noted by some of Walt Case's neighbors that on a summer Sunday afternoon, the old dirt road leading to Case's home was never quiet. Cars of various descriptions, including the richer inhabitants, made numerous trips up and down the dirt road during those days of 'prohibition'.

The letter following shows he must have been given a prison term from this arrest, as it is written from him in prison.

From the Centennial Edition

Getting Well, Writes To His Attorney..

Osceola Sentinel
Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa

No comment is needed on the following letter written by Walter Case to his attorney. The writer is well known in Clarke and surrounding counties. He was finally convicted on charge of bootlegging and sent to Ft. Madison. He was so diseased that it was presumed that he might not live to serve his sentence. His letter says an operation saved him. He expects to be home in another year. The letter written with pen and ink in a good hand is as follows:

Mr. Jack Banker, Osceola, Iowa June 5, 1926

Dear Friend Mr. Banker: Your letter just received, and many thanks for writing and the kind interest taken in my behalf.

At the present time I am confined in the hospital. I have had an operation two weeks ago. However, I am getting along fine, and hope to be well in the near future, so I shall be in a position to accept a parole, that is if I shall be lucky to get it. I had a letter from Fred Bone several weeks ago, he wrote about both of the ? farms and mortgage, which are still there and waiting for my return. He also stated that all the household furniture and other moveable property have been removed and taken away. It rather seems to me that some action could be taken to obtain these. The person in possession should be charged of securing stolen property. I know the man would be glad to settle if such proceedings or action should be taken. I would appreciate very much Mr. Banker, if you shall look into this matter, and of course would pay for the charges for such action. However, I hope to hear from you, and especially your opinion upon this matter.

Wise friend, there is an old saying. "God loves a cheerful giver." I gave up everything, and came here for the of a poor and heartbroken woman, to save her home from being broken up. No doubt, I have made a bad mistake. But mistakes are made since the creation of mankind, and even animals are apt to the same as men. John the Baptist was beheaded for the sake of a young "damsel", and he has never been restored to life among our women folks. Is this reward?

No doubt, there are some people who honestly believe that I made liquor, or as it is called "Moonshine''. Well, we read in our Holy Bible of our Savior smoting the rock and turned water into wine. This was neither a sin nor a crime, but it seems that things have been changed quite during the time, so one hardly knows just where he is any more. I am sure our Lord Jesus Christ would live today, he undoubtedly would be serving a term of three years, and would be known as Christ the "Bootlegger".

Yes, Mr. Banker, they sent me here to die, but the Lord is going to let me live, so I can see the outside world once more, for He knows that I have committed no crime.

You know Daniel was cast into the lion's den, but the lions did not harm him, because God was there to stop the beasts from harm, so I am imagining it will be with me. Well, I do not want to write much more, as you will be tired of reading this letter, but I feel very much of writing, as I know I am writing to a friend.

If there is anything that you can do in my behalf so I should be able to come home and take care of my little belongings, I would much appreciate.

I have about one year to serve, and if I can get a parole now, I surely would like one. But should it forthcome when I have six months to do, then I would rather serve it out and be done.

Well, hoping to hear at your early convenience.

Your sincere friend,

Walter Case
R. 13021, Box 316
Ft. Madison, Iowa
Walter Case

One of Walt Case's more legitimate professions was walking throughout the countryside with his black satchel, peddling 'Spectacles'. He used to camp in a tent down on the Grand River, and the area is still known to "old-timers" as Caseyville.

NOTE: Walter Case, the son of Othaneil and Barbara (Huff) Case, was born in 1867. He married Alta May (Yetts) Case and the couple divorced by 1925 after approximately 5 years. He died in 1935 and was interred at Westerville Cemetery. He was buried near the west fence line of the Cemetery. At one time a stone marked his gravestone but it no longer is there.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2015
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