Monday, February 1, 2016

Doing Time for Manufacturing & Selling "Intoxicating Liquor" During Prohibition

August Heuszel, my great, great grandmother's brother-in-law, served time in the Texas State Penitentiary for "manufacturing" and "selling intoxicating liquor." The year was 1922. This was near the start of prohibition which lasted from 1920 to 1933.  

Texas Convict and Conduct Registers, 1875-1945, Huntsville, B 047021-052020
accessed at

The photos above show August's record in the "Texas Convict and Conduct Register." The columns tell us more about August Heuszel:

Registered #: 18037
Name: A. Heuszel
Age: 65
Height: 5-3 5/8
Weight: 128
Complexion: W [white] M-Fair
Eyes: W Maroon [maroon eyes? but there are others listed as maroon]
Hair: Blk & Gray
Marks on Person: 2-vac scrs [some type of scars?] upper L arm; outer [hard to read] & upper teeth all out; circ cut se[?] L lit[tle] finger over 2nd [joint] outer; N---[?] operation sc[a]rs back neck outer & center; NO CHURCH; Shoe #6 1/2
Marital Relations: yes
Use of Tobacco: yes
Habits: Temp[erance]
Education: choices appear to be fair, poor, none, or com... his marked "Com" [unknown meaning]
Able to Read: yes
Able to Write: yes
No. of Years in School: 4 [this ranged from none to 12]
Date of Birth: 1857
Birthplace: Ill
Birthplace of Father: Germany
Ex Service Man (handwritten & unclear): blank
Birthplace of Mother: Germany
Occupation: farming
Time of Conviction: June 8, 1922
Offense: Manufacturing intoxicating liquor - Selling intoxicating Liquor
Term of Imprisonment: (1 + 1 - c[???]; 2 years
County: Polk
Residence: Livingston
Plea: 1st Not; 2nd Quilty [so plead not guilty to manufacturing, but guilty to selling]
When Received: July 12, 1922
Expiration of Sentence: Finger Prints; June 8, 1924
Remarks: Disc. Dec 13th, 1923

Some interesting items from the page:

  • Of the 20 inmates, only 3 of them are for liquor related charges. The rest are burglary/theft, rape, forgery, and two for murder. 
  • The "remarks" column usually lists when an inmate is discharged, paroled, or pardoned. But, there is one who died - he was only 17 and serving 2 years for burglary. 
  • Also found in the "remarks" column are 3 inmates who escaped! Of the three, one was serving 5 to 25 years for murder; a second was serving 15 years for robbery/burglary; and the third was serving 5 years for robbery. 
  • All 3 escaped prisoners were evidently eventually caught as they all have "finger print" dates listed years after their escape. The convicted murderer escaped in 1929 and was fingerprinted 18 years later in 1947!

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