HomeFinding AidsProhibition Records

Prohibition Records

Collection Summary

View contents here

Title Rockingham County Prohibition records 
Collection Reference Code Pro
Inclusive Dates 1913-1934
Extent 15 Hollinger boxes; 6.25 linear feet
Document Creator Rockingham County Circuit Court 
Bio/Historical Note This collection consists of 6,379 documents from criminal cases regarding the enforcement of the state and national prohibition laws by the Rockingham County Circuit Court. On March 10, 1916, Virginia enacted statewide prohibition with an act of the General Assembly--commonly known as the “Mapp Act.” This act made it "unlawful to manufacture, transport, sell, keep or store for sale, offer, advertise, or expose for sale, give away, or dispense, or solicit in any way, or receive orders for or aid in procuring ardent spirits." This act was not written to prevent manufacture for consumption; it was intended to stimulate Virginia's temperance movement. After national prohibition went into effect in January 1920, with the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution , the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act), was enacted to provide legislation for the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment. The ban on alcohol, and increased enforcement, did not stop many Americans from partaking in the past time. Alcohol simply receded into the shadows, and became a defining feature of 20th-century culture. While the story is often told from an urban perspective, the following collection highlights the experience of a southern rural community, grappling with the effects of prohibition.
Archival History  All documents have been maintained by the Circuit Court since their creation.
Scope and Content  The Prohibition Records collection consists of 650 legal cases related to the criminal act of ardent spirit production and transportation in Rockingham County from 1913-1934. For each case, the following documents are typically included: a true bill, arrest warrant, judgment, affidavit, and jury decision. Additionally, there are over 500 affidavits for the sale of ardent spirits, a myriad of liquor inventories for various business, and general records, which range from applications to sell spirits to reports of stills seized and destroyed. 
Index Terms

Prohibition--History, Prohibition--Government policy-- the United States, Prohibition--United States--History--20th century, Prohibition--United States--History--20th century--Sources, Prohibition--Virginia--History

Processing Information

Processed by Craig Schaeffer, 2019.


The documents are organized into five series: Criminal Cases, Affidavits for Ardent Spirits, Commercial Liquor Inventory Records, Liquor License Applications, and General Records. Within each series, items have been arranged chronologically, and alphabetically. Criminal cases are arranged by the last name of the defendant.

Conditions Governing Access This work has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.
Language  English
Additional Resources Affidavits for Ardent Spirits Collection, JMU Library

Printable PDF version