In the May 4, 1938, edition of the Bulloch Herald, it was reported that on the coming Saturday, May 6, the first legal whiskey would be sold in Bulloch County since Dec. 19, 1879.
Gov. and Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, Georgia's founding father, wanted to create a sober colony from the very beginning, but the colonists had other ideas.
Even when King George flatly banned the sale of rum in Georgia in 1735, the colonists continued to party on. The trustees of Georgia finally gave up in 1742 and began licensing taverns and public houses to sell alcohol.
In 1880, a Georgia state statute was passed that allowed individual counties to ban the sale of alcohol. Partly because of the Atlanta Riots of 1906, the Georgia state legislature voted to ban the sale of alcohol statewide in 1907.
Prohibition was instituted nationwide in the U.S. after the passage of the 19th Amendment by the U.S. Congress in 1919, which forbade the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol.
The U.S. government finally repealed this prohibition with the passage of the 21st Amendment on Feb. 20, 1933.
As this was the only amendment that repealed an earlier amendment, it required special state ratifying conventions. Of the nation's 48 states — Hawaii and Alaska were not yet included — 38 ratified the amendment.
However, two states' conventions openly rejected the 21st Amendment (North and South Carolina), while another eight states had refused to hold conventions at all (Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota).
In April 1938, the Bulloch Herald announced the results of a special election held to decide the legalization of the sale of alcohol in the county. Of the 5,000 voters qualified to participate in the special election, 425 voted for legalization, while 103 voted against.
Many citizens of Brooklet (District 1523) opposed the new legislation, with 26 voting in favor and 24 against. However, over in the Club House (District 44), all 23 voters were in favor, making the district's vote unanimous. So, Bulloch County became one of 22 of Georgia's 159 counties to approve the sale of liquor within its borders.
The first three businesses to be approved as licensed purveyors of alcoholic beverages under the new legislation were licensee No. 1 Lem Gould, No. 2 W.W. Mallard and No. 3 Paul Johnson.
Not surprisingly, the United Brewers Industrial Foundation flooded the newspaper with advertisements that stated, “Beer is an honest drink ... mild, wholesome, and refreshing. There is nothing more promising to combat the evil of drinking too much alcohol than the opportunity of drinking good beer.”
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. He provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.