A Families Choice
My husbands Grandmother Rose, who was born in 1920, told us many stories about her Italian American childhood and memories. One story was that her father, Anthony Finazzo, was jailed around the time of prohibition. She recounted that he was found guilty of selling alcohol and was sent to a jail near Wentzville, MO. He served 5 months for selling alcohol out of their home for much needed money.
a family member sold liquor from his house to an unknown under cover enforcement officer.
As I began to research this story I found proof that Anthony ‘Tony’ Finazzo was arrested twice for the sale of alcohol during prohibition. These arrests were paid out with fines and Tony was released. Rose may never have known about these arrests. After prohibition, Tony was arrested a third time for the sale of untaxed alcohol.
During prohibition Tonys Bar and Restaurant took a massive blow with the loss of alcohol sales income. He had several children to feed and family to care for.
Missouri Statute 311.580:
Possession of illegal or untaxed liquor prohibited — manufacturers, blenders and wholesalers excepted, when. — 1. No person shall possess intoxicating liquor in any quantity for any purpose in the state of Missouri which has not been lawfully manufactured.
2. No person shall possess intoxicating liquor within the state of Missouri for sale in any quantity, or for any other purpose in any quantity, in excess of five gallons, unless the required inspection, labeling or gauging fee or license has been paid…https://revisor.mo.gov/
Tony owned one of thousands of bars in St. Louis, MO that was struggling to survive during the time of prohibition. Most closed. He wanted to keep his business and his family secure and he made a choice to keep selling alcohol – even if it was homemade. Not only did prohibition bankrupt families it bankrupted the nation paving the road into the great depression.
Tony Finazzo’s family didn’t loose property or personal effects during the depression after prohibition. Maybe he was onto something.
Rose remembers that the local police were good to her father and happily left them alone with a small cut in the profits. He was a good person and always ran a solid business. The alcohol enforcement officers were underpaid and would gladly line their pockets with some extra hush cash.
Do you have any bootleggers in your family tree? I want to learn all about it!
Coming to St. Louis, MO this summer? Check out Jefferson Barracks while you’re in town!