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Seaview Poultry Farm Part 3

After the Newport Massacre Prohibition continued and so did the local rum running. The game had changed though. The big names in boot legging across the country had formed a 'Combine', they had agreed to work together instead of trying to eliminate competetition. Territories were divided up. Basically seven men ran the outfit, King Solomon on Boston and Raymond Patriarca in Providence.

Back here things ran the same. A new technology of the time was being employed though. Ship to shore radios aided in communications and alerting incoming boats to hot spots to avoid and help in timing deliveries.

Fall River Herald

January 29, 1930

Department of Justice Agents Operating Here Causing Concern to Rumrunners

Freelance Wireless Operator In South End Learns He Is Trapped and Puts To Sea As Operator On Rum Boat

RunRunners in this vicinity are concentrating their attention of illicit liquor activity here abouts.

An accidental discovery that an amateur radio operator was understood to be freelancing for rumrunners has led to the extensive probe into the activities of liquor smugglers in this part of New England.

The inspectors were sent from Washington and Boston, when it was found that the high-speed motor used in the Black Duck was purchased from this city stumbled upon the wireless racket.

Weissman Buys Motor

They had ascertained that the motor had been purchased from an accredited dealer of the maker by Jack Williams, believed an alias for Jacob Weissman, who was killed when the Black Duck was set on by machine gun fire of the Coast Guard patrol boar CG-290 in Newport harbor Sunday morning, December 29, last.

It is not believed that any action is contemplated against the dealer who made the sale in an approved manner.

The motor was a powerful one capable of propelling the Black Duck at a rate that would enable her to outstrip the fastest ships in the Coast Guard service.

Proof of this is found in the accidental revelation that the Black Duck was shot at twice the night she was captured and 3 of her crew killed.

A sister ship of the CG-290 on patrol duty off of Castle Hill, Rhode Island sighted the rumrunner speeding into Newport and spoke to her. The Black Duck put on speed and was barraged by the government boat's one-pounder and machine guns in the hands of the crew.

The liquor laden boat escaped without injury however and was well within distance of Gaspie Point, where she planned to land her cargo when the CG-290 riddled her and cut down the crew.

Uncover Wireless

The federal men were working on the theory that the lone member of the Black Duck who escaped death was a resident of this city when they uncovered the illicit wireless activity of a south end amateur. They were searching for him when they went to a neighbor’s house. She complained of interference from the amateurs set while listening to musical programs especially late at night and charged him with being an alliance of rum running.

This put the federal authorities on an entirely new case and they communicated with the Federal Radio Commission, which informed them that inspector Kolsten of Boston had been working on the complaint for some time. The agents who secured a room in the vicinity intercepted several messages, all in code.

Operator Gets Away

When they visited the home of the operator, they found he had learned his activities ashore had been discovered and he immediately put to sea as "sparks" on a rum ship.

The prohibition and rum authorities did learn, however that he was not connected with any one of the several rum running syndicates operating in this vicinity, but he was in the employ of any which might wish to use his service, day or night.

Smuggling Dope?

Recent discovery in southern states that rumrunners were also smuggling in dope and acknowledged presence of the Federal Narcotics Bureau in this city during the visit of the prohibition men, had led to a belief in some circles that the government suspects dope is also being brought into the country by those engaged in the liquor racket here.

The radio operator was Joseph Travers, brother of Charlie Travers. At his apartment in the South End of New Bedford he had set up his radio and was routinely communicating with rum ships. After his neighbor had complained to authorities about her evening radio programs being disruputed they were able to pinpoint his location using radio detection equipment. When they burst into his home it was discovered that he had left just minutes before. The tubes in the radio set were still warm. A police van carted the radio set off as evidence against him.

Some of the codes were revealed by Herb Cavaca after the end of Prohibition.

Code A.

A C E G I K M NO Q T V W Y B D F H P R S U X Z

Example DPNF JM = COME IN

Locations were coded also.

ZDA HALIFAX ZDB ST PIERRE ZDD BLOCK ISLAND ZDE SAKONETT POINT

ZGA 20 MILES SOUTH OF NOMANS BUOY ZGA 20 MILES SOTH OF BLOCK ISLAND LIGHT

The code is two and a half pages long.

The rum runners also had their own vocabulary.

Bang in: To bring a large outside vessel right in to the beach

Bloomer: A futile trip to rum row

Can: A Coast Guard destroyer

Jag: A sizeable amont of liquor

Rumble: Getting fired on by a Coast Guard boat

Federal agents eventually caught up with Joseph Travers.

New Bedford Evening Standard

November 22, 1930

Two Freed, One is Rearrested

Joseph Travers and Emmanuel Carpetnar Released on Rum Charge-Travis Faces Illicit Radio Count

U.S. Commissioner George E. Lilly Tuesday freed without a hearing Emmanuel A. Carpetnar, 432 Tremont street, Boston and Joseph A. Travers on complaints against them with conspiracy to violate the national Prohibition and Tariff acts. Lack of evidence by the government, represented by Hubert C. Thompson, assistant U.S. Attorney caused his action, the commissioner announced

Travers, however, following the commissioner’s decision was re-arrested on another federal warrant by Deputy U.S. Marshall Walter J. Baillargeon, charge with violating chapter 4 of the Radio Acts of 1927, unlawfully operating a wireless transmitting set. The commissioner asked bail of $2,000 on the new complaint and at the request of counsel continued the hearing two weeks. Travers and Carpetnar were represented by John H. Lowney.

Arrests of the two men were made by Federal Justice Agents who raided a third floor tenement at 12 McGurk street and seized what they said was an apparatus being operated by Travis and his partner for the purpose of establishing communications with the rum runners on rum row. Both entered pleas of not guilty at the time of their arrests.

Arrests were being made in smaller cases, too numerous to list but one mentions a new agent, Officer Bob Speed.

New Bedford Evening Standard

August 14, 1931

New Agent Raids Club, Arrests Officials

Speed Seizes Rum and Car in Fairhaven

3 Officers, Alleged Bartender Taken at Workingmen’s Club-Fish Market Visit Adds Two Arrests- Two Places Raided in North End, One Man in Custody

Arrests of officers of the Workingmen’s Club following a spectacular raid on the North End organization’s rooms and liquor seizures in this city and Fairhaven by Federal Prohibition agents Thursday night brought a sudden realization that a shift has occurred in personnel of Prohibition enforcement officers here.

Seven Arrested.

Activities of agent Robert S. Speed who took charge this week with cooperation of other agents and the Fairhaven police Thursday night had the following results: Raid on the Workingmen’s Club; seizure of 1103 cases of beer and arrest of Albert Gill, alleged bartender; James W. Calvenly, president; Walter Baldwin, treasurer; and Frederick Hodson, secretary.

Seizure of $2,000 worth of choice liquors and a Packard sedan on the Sconticut Neck road, East Fairhaven, and arrested Joseph Weintraub, driver of the car.

Raid on a Fairhaven fish market at 1 Coggeshall street, seizure of six pints of moonshine and arrest of Edward T. Quintin, 27 Oak street and Manuel Masers, 17 Milton street, both of Fairhaven.

Gill, Clavenly, Baldwin and Hodson were released on bond for appearance on August 25 after arraignment before U.S. Commissioner Lilley today. Gills bond was fixed at $1,000 and that of the others at $500. Weintraub who lives at 39 Harriet street, Providence was released on $1,000 bond for appearance August 31 to answer to the charge of illegal possession and transporting liquor.

Quintin and Masers are to appear before Mr. Lilley Saturday on charges of liquor keeping and illegal sale.

Jonathan Counsell who was listed on the Workingmen’s charter as an official but showed by the minutes of the club at a meeting July 15 he resigned as an officer went bond for all those arrested in connection with the club raid.

Raid by City Police.

In the wake of the federal raids, New Bedford police under Sgt. Anthony C. Lemaire, today raided two places in the North End, seized a quantity of beer and moonshine and arrested Ernest Laporte.

New Bedford Evening Standard

August 17, 1931

SHOTS EXCHANGED TO NAB FOUR MEN IN LIQUOR AUTOS

Fairhaven Police and Federal Agents Seize 75 Cases of Rum After Chase In Town

TWO FACE AUTO LAW CHARGES

Chief Francis Says Squad Fired On Fugitives After Shots Were Directed At His Men

Four alleged rum runners were brought into police headquarters here under arrest on charges of conspiracy to violate the national Prohibition act following a gun battle on the Sconticut Neck road in which several shots were exchanged but in which no one was reported injured. Police seized three automobiles of an expensive type, in addition to 75 cases of alleged smuggled liquors.

Two Face Auto Law Charges.

The prisoners gave their names as Henry Travers, mechanic, Box 314 Sconticut Neck road, Fairhaven.

Alfred Girard, 25, boat builder, 1674 Longside avenue, Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Leonard J. Carpenter, 27 chauffeur, 236 Oriole, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Joseph Weintraub, 24, 34 Harriet street, Providence.

Two of the four, Girard and Carpenter were brought into Third District court on charges of violating the automobile laws, driving so as to endanger, speeding and failure to stop on signal of a policeman.

They pleaded not guilty through their attorney, John H. Backus and received a continuance to Thursday, August 20.

Mr. Backus, former United States Attorney appeared as counsel for the four at the United States Commissioner’s office. Arrangements were to be made to release the prisoners under bonds of $1,000 each for arraignment Tuesday. Mr. Backus said that he would ask for a continuance Tuesday.

Fairhaven police, headed by Chief Walter W. Francis and Prohibition agents took part in the capture. Nine Fairhaven policemen had been combing the East Fairhaven section until about 4:15 a.m. when pistol firing halted the three fleeing automobiles at Sconticut Neck road and Washington street.

Motorcycle patrolman Anthony F. Alvers, Fairhaven, sped alongside the fugitive cars during the shooting and forced the machines and their occupants to the side of the road. Fairhaven police reported that the alleged rumrunners had taken on their load somewhere down the Sconticut Neck and were racing through town when overhauled.

Cars Disturb Residents.

Police Chief Francis has been receiving reports of automobiles racing up and down Sconticut Neck road, disturbing residents there, and suspected that the business of the night riders was liquor. Aided by federal Prohibition agent Robert H. Speed and John J. Ferry, Chief Francis went to Sconticut Neck road with a squad of his men, including the motorcycle patrolman.

When the cars came speeding along the road, police heard shots fired and assuming they were the targets in the darkness, the police Chief fired back.

Chief Francis said he shot at the fleeing cars as did other authorities in his group. While the exchange was on, patrolman Alvers rushed ahead and forced the cars to a halt. Search of two of the automobiles revealed the liquor, police said.

Brother of Black Duck Survivor.

Henry Travers, investigators said, is a brother of Charles Travers, the lone survivor of the Black Duck incident in which three men lost their lives by Coast Guard gunfire. It was said that Travers was overhauled in a light roadster, riding with Weintraub, the driver. This roadster was registered in Travers’ name, the agents related.

Weintraub was arrested in Fairhaven last Thursday morning, charged with violating Federal laws when his car yielded between 35-40 cases of liquor. He is now under bonds to appear before the Commissioner in connection with this arrest Thursday morning, federal agents said.

Authorities said they had been watching for the roadster, which acted as a sort of decoy or convoy machine, through the night and spotted it at the head of a laneway leading up from the beach. This machine disappeared and later two sedans came racing down Sconticut Neck road. The roadster followed.

When the fleeing automobile passengers failed to heed the shouts and whistles of the authorities in ambush along the road, and after shots were heard, police fired their pistols.

When the two larger cars were stopped, police said they found them equipped with a special contrivance, where by one number plate could be hooked over the other. The cars were using both Rhode Island and Massachusetts plates.

Liquor Valued at $3,000

Agents said that the seized liquor consisted of an assortment of Benedictine, gin, scotch, rye and rum and all bottles bore labels indicating that they were distilled in Canada.

Girard was driving one sedan and Carpenter the other. All cars were to be sent today to the government store house at Boston. The seized liquor had been placed in the government store in this city

I had the privilege of speaking with Harry Sedgwick, son of Mildred Sedgwick- girlfriend and later wife of Charlie Travers. I tracked Harry, who Charlie nick named Orthrap, via the internet to Connecticut. Harry was very ill at the time. We spoke over the phone about a half a dozen times until no one answered the phone or emails and I learned Orthrap had died. During the conversations he revealed very little to me, until I asked a question in the right way and he would give me details. One of my queries was about the vehicles he saw at the Farm. He told me Buick Straight Eights were usually purchased by the new guys. Some of themwith more money had Packard Twin Sixes, very fast cars of the time. The one that he was most fascinated with was a Hispano Suiza auto, made in Argentina which had an all aluminum V8 engine. He said everyone marveled at the power, speed and smoothness of the engine.

Harry's mother and Charlie had met over the telephone. Mildred was a telephone operator, back when they had switchboards and the operator placed the call for customers. They also could listen in on conversations. Whether Charlie wooed Mildred as a security measure or out of interest doesn't matter, they stayed together through thick and thin, and things did get thick. She eventually died of cancer living on Rivet street in Fairhaven. Mildred was described as a very beautiful woman who never touched a drink, ever. In fact Charlie nick named her Madame X, the subject of a silent film that followed a woman into the depths of drunkeness. It was a clever joke. Madame X was the name Charlie gave the boat he was having built at Casey Boat Yard at the time of the Newport Massacre. Mildred's maiden name was Hart and she was from Tiverton, RI.

The Seaview Poultry Farm was technically in Mildred's name but the couple lived at West Look Farm in Westport on Horseneck road. It fileds went down to the east branch of the Westport River where a small stone pier was overlooking Big Pine and Little Pine islands in the river. While chickens were raised at Seaview cows and milk was produced at Westlook.

New Bedford Evening Standard

February 12, 1933

Westport Dairy’s Herd Goes in for Art; Murals Decorate Modernistic Cow Barn

Bossies Chew Cuds and Gaze at Beautiful Pasture Scenes

Contented Cows?

A Barn full of heifers?

Commonplace!

But artsy cows?

Westport only! A Grand Salon de Cows.

Surely, it is the first inducement for any bovine to yield more abundant returns.

The latter condition should but improve that quality of greater abundance.

Whether this little line of reasoning is perchance, an old story at the Westport dairy farm of Charles Travis, Horseneck road, or whether it was an accepted without reasoning the fact remains that Mr. Travers cows enjoy contentment amid an atmosphere of the finest art any cow barn ever boasted.

Comprising 60 acres, Westlook farm crowns a high rise of ground on the shores of the beautiful Westport River. There, unheralded and unsung, is going on a daily search for the ways and means of increasing the vitamine "D" quality of the milk. Twenty-three milch cows, three bulls and five calves comprise the herd at present.

Picture the imposing array of farm buildings in their even more imposing setting. Wheel into the driveway and head for the dairy barn, impossible to miss, for even it’s outside betokens the unusual with the green shutters at the windows bearing sailboat motifs.

In one place the driveway is bordered by a goldfish pool, sunken and of colored tile. Ahead the site looms like a museum guide, resplendent in white glistening tile and beckoning the now curious visitor to explore more deeply the hidden charms it guards.

Enter, and the first impression is one of spotless cleanliness. White is everywhere, and a courteous attendant assures that the walls are washed down carefully at frequent intervals. To the person, who in their lad or lass days, knew a cow barn with it’s chaff strewn floor, it’s gnawed wall brackets and all accoutrements that make up the stereotyped New England cattle stable, Westlook farm is a revelation.

Probably no cattle outside the pens of a thoroughbred show are groomed and these cows are, three times a day. Morning, noon and night, these bossies are gently groomed and manicured. And then they sink down to their spotless floor to monotonously chew their cud and gaze with ruminant content upon the decorations before their eyes. Mural paintings are on all sides. Entrancing landscapes of lush meadow grass, looking broadly, far vistas, and shaded knolls, with sleek, kind portrait studies, if you please, of some of the very cows that stare at them complacently by the hour these drear winter days adorn all the walls.

For instance there is that particular mural which shows "Belle of Westlook", pride of the herd, reclining contentedly, in what could be a cow’s Paradise. It is right in front of the stall where "Belle of Westlook" can chew her cud and graze wistfully at herself, at her picture, which shows her with a fine spread of horn, which she has, alas lost, because of some indiscreet use of them.

The yearlings, too, have their own quarters with all the style of the other stock. The calf pen is now full with five youngsters, all under three months of age. The walls there are decorated too, but more befitting a nursery, with scenes depicting the frivolity of youth.

Here one finds such pictures as a calf having a tussle with a milk pail, in which it’s eagerness to get it’s meal, it has hooked it’s head onto, and then holds aloft, to extract the few final licks of milk.

Then there is another habitue of the unusual barn one must pay their respects to, and that is Jackie, the feline always on duty make soft riff of mice or rats. Jackie is purest white, too, as though she was dipped in a pail of milk.

The uppermost portion of the building is occupied by two fine gray dapple draft horses and one of those things every boy and girl hopes for, a black and white Shetland pony, which has little enough to do in the Winter, but pulls a pony cart about during the Summer months. Quarters have also been made here for two Irish hunters which will arrive soon to take up the residence in two specially prepared box stalls. The stables have all been renovated in matched wood boarding.

Strict cleanliness is the watchword throughout the dairy: and Charles Travers younger brother, Louis, manages the entire project and keeps things spick and span. Mr. Travers admits no particular motive in having the dairy decorated but feels sure there is nothing like it anywhere around here. Soon he hopes to be able to feed the cows with compressed cubes of concentrated hay and grain, which according to Mr. Travers, promotes vitamin "D" in milk and enables the dairy to be kept even cleaner.

The dairy milk yield is about 250 quarts and is refrigerated by electrical apparatus.

One can only marvel at the White Russians that must have been consumed there! I tracked down the location and was dismayed to learn that the farm had been sectioned into parcels and beautiful homes built about the acreage. Much like Sunset Beach on Sconticut Neck. The old farm house still stands as well as the described gold fish pond, though not as grand as once described. It took me several times to muster the courage to knock on the door, would they think I'm some nut and chase me away? After knocking I stood back from the door in a non-threatening way and stated my case, I wanted to know if the present residents knew about Charlie and Mildred Travers. A wonderfully dear old woman told me point blank, "Honey most days I can barely remember who my husband is. My memory is in a terrible state." She did tell me that her husband is the one to talk to and she told me he is Fred Zuber of Fred Zuber Feeds on Old Fall River road. I never got my timing right to meet Fred, even though an employee kept me in conversation for some time. On a chance encounter and casual conversation at the Buzzard's Bay Brewery later, I met man who was a doctor who told me he lived in one of the grand houses at Westlook and said I could visit the shore and old pier anytime I wanted. I never took the offer.

Things were not as tranquil at Seaview Poultry Farm.

New Bedford Evening Standard

August 19, 1931

TRIO SOUGHT IN FAIRHAVEN

Federal Prohibition agents Co-operating with Fairhaven Police under Chief Walter H. Francis made a record haul when they descended upon a farmhouse barn on Sconticut Neck road, Fairhaven and seized an assortment of liquors extracts valued by authorities at between $15,000 and $20,000.

TWO FACE AUTO LAW CHARGES WARRANT FROM DISTRICT COURT

Authorities said they expect to link at least three men, one of them long identified with rum running, with the seizure. The raid was made with a warrant from Third District court. When investigation is completed, it was said that prosecution will be sought in that court and later in Federal Court.

In the contraband in which 2 large trucks were required to transport it from the premises, were 101 cases of assorted whiskies, 450 gallons of isley malt, an extract for making whiskey and valued at $30 a gallon, and forty gallons of Baccardi rum in jugs of one gallon capacity. Prohibition agents said that the beverages would be valued at more than $15,000 at conservative prices.

The raid was the aftermath of the arrest of four men, accused of rumrunning on Sconticut Neck road early Monday and also followed the arrest of a man on rumrunning charges last Thursday morning. In the previous arrests the authorities seized a total of about 200 cases from automobiles as the drivers were racing through the town. Having made the arrests on the road, the authorities, under Chief Francis have since been bending their efforts to find the hideout for the liquor, suspecting that some property down the Sconticut Neck road was serving as a depot for the liquor after it was landed from runrunners on the Fairhaven shores.

Key To Barn is Obtained.

Tuesday, after establishing where the depot was, obtained a search warrant from Third District court, gathered a squad of his policemen and with the assistance of three prohibition agents, drove to what is known as the Goulart farm, about three and a half miles down Sconticut Neck road and near the West Island road. Raiders reported that they found the barn doors locked, but managed to obtain a key from a person at a nearby house. On getting into the structure they found it banked with cases, kegs and drums of intoxicating beverages.

Persons living in a nearby house preferred to know nothing about the stored liquor, the agents said but after some questioning of one man, the agents gathered that he was taking care of the stock for a friend who lived farther down the road. Investigation of this ascertation authorities said will have an important bearing on the question as to and how many are to be arrested.

Federal Prohibition agents said they had information that there were about 400 cases of liquor in the barn originally and and that some of these and been taken away before the first seizure, which was made with the arrest of a Providence man on the Sconticut Neck road last Thursday.

Chief Francis took with him search warrants for five different places, along Sconticut Neck road, one of them the property of Manuel Goulart, the father of John Goulart. The youth who was slain aboard the Black Duck by Coast Guard gunfire. No liquor was found at the latter place, nor was there liquor found at any place, excepting the farm of Joseph Goulart, an uncle of the dead youth.

Another place searched was the property owned by Charles and Henry Travers, according to police. Charles Travers was the lone survivor of the Black Duck’s crew of four, escaping with a bullet shattered hand. No liquor was found at the Travers’ place, the raiders stated. Two houses just west of the Travers place were searched but yielded nothing.

It was learned that police questioned Joseph Goulart Jr., who appeared about as authorities were searching the barn, and obtained from him information federal authorities will be interested in. Henry Travers, brother of Charles Travers, is now under bonds pending a hearing on a complaint charging him with conspiracy to violate the Prohibition act. He was one of four arrested last Monday morning when Fairhaven police and enforcement officers intercepted rum laden automobiles racing down the Sconticut Neck road.

Robert R. Speed, enforcement officer, recently assigned here, who participated in the raid in the interest of the federal government, stated today that he was mighty pleased with the discovery, and grateful to police Chief Francis and his men for work they have been doing in combating rum running activities here abouts.

The contraband was taken to the Fairhaven station where it will remain until further disposition. Fairhaven police worked until after midnight emptying the barn and pursuing their investigation to determine ownership.

Fairhaven police, who assisted Chief Francis, included patrolman Turgeon, Sykes, Barney, Gonsalves, Barnes, Spooner, Foster, Brightman and Wilson.

I feel now is a good time to mention Chief Francis. In coming years he will be accused of taking money from rum runners to let them do business in town. I find this hard to believe given his participation in so many raids. In his last days he was diagnosed with a terminal illness from which he made a decision to end his life instead of his family watching him waste away. Nothing I ever read placed him in sympathy with smuggling liquor.