Seaview Poultry Farm Part 4

When the Black Duck was captured in Newport in 1929 it was confiscated and used to chase liquor smuggling boats. A. C. Cornell wasn't given it's command. Cornell had been somewhat of a cowboy and was accused of ordering firing machine gun fire that hit a house in Portsmouth, RI, among other exploits. The Duck was stationed at New London and would be involved in a chase of the Artemus out of Montauk, New York. Captain Fred Scopinich was chased and shot at, the story is featured in a very good Discovery Channel movie Rumrunners, Moonshiners, & Bootleggers. Next is an ironic article about the CG-290.

New York Times

April 26, 1932

Blast at Pier Rends Coast Guard Vessel

7 are Hurt by Explosion at New London of the 290 Which Captured Black Duck

Special to the New York Times

New London-April 25-The Coast Guard patrol boat 290 blew up at the wharf of the Colonial Beacon Oil Company this afternoon, injuring six members of the crew seriously and an employee of the oil company, who was struck by fragments as he stood on the wharf.

All were taken to a hospital.

Those injured were Boatswains Mate A. C. Cornell of New London, commander of the vessel, George H. Austin of New London, Harold C. Brown, Waterford, Andrew A. Rhude of Scotsburg, Indiana, Paul Schuler, Sector Base #4, Allen H. Webb, Sector Base #4, and W. R. Harris. civilian.

The 290 is one of the most conspicuous vessels in the Coast Guard fleet of rum chasers and has been involved in many sensational captures, outstanding of which was that of the Black Duck in 1929. Three men on the craft were killed by gunfire.

Foul play was never mentioned.

Meanwhile back at the farm...

New Bedford Evening Standard

October 21, 1932

Madame X Crew Held in $12,500 Bond

Dennis J. McHugh of 512 County St. New Bedford and four of his crew aboard the Madam X speedboat taken with $50,000 worth of liquor at Round Hill two weeks ago were held in bonds totaling $12,000 for the Federal Grand Jury at Boston by U.S. Commissioner Lilley yesterday. The commissioner found probable cause after all pleaded not guilty and waived examination of all charges of violating the Customs laws by attempting to smuggle rum.

Co-defendants Joseph Dutra of 35 Oaklawn street, Leo Sevigny of 6 Studley street , Joseph Nunes, 28 Russells Mills road, South Dartmouth, and Raymond Hathaway, 19 Pauline street, Dartmouth. Nunes is a brother of Seraphim Nunes, who was seriously wounded the speedboat Nola was fired on off Westport last December 6. Capture of the Madame X was made by the crew of the Coast Guard patrol boat 2296 after several rounds of machine gun bullets had been fired into her during an attempted escape. With the exception of the master, all of the crew gave fictitious names when they were first questioned. Two said they were Newport residents and the other two claimed to live in Fall River.

Authorities said the craft is registered to Jesse Silvia of 62 Friendship street, Newport.

She was built in Fairhaven in 1930.

The Madame X would become a Coast Guard patrol boat. Charlie had named the boat in honor of Mildred Segewick. "Madame X" was a silent movie about a woman who sibks into the depravity of alcoholism. It was a joke because Mildred never drank alcohol.

Here is the article of the Nola sinking and Seraphim Nunes being shot the year before. The Nola was said to be the Queen of the rum running fleet. She had a double walled wooden pilot house filled with sand between the walls in an attempt to e bullet proof.

New Bedford Times

December 19, 1931

New Bedford Man Wounded by Coast Guard-Speed Boat Nola Sinks Near Vineyard Sound Whistling Buoy-Craft Riddled With Bullets-Seraphin Nunes in Marine Hospital

(Special to the Times)December 19

Seraphin Nunes, 39, 499 Rivet street, New Bedford, is on the danger list at the Marine hospital with a serious wound in the right thigh; five other men are prisoners at the New London Coast Guard base and the so-called “bullet-proof” boat Nola is sunk near the Vineyard Sound buoy about 5 miles south of the U.S. lightship as a result of the battle between rum runners and Coast Guard men last night.


Another alleged rumrunner, the Mitzi, out of Providence, was captured off of Block Island after a 5-mile chase by coastguardsmen. The vessel, 600 cases of liquor and the crew were taken to the New London base.

The captured members of the Nola crew described themselves as Arthur Folger, Robert Monaghan and Jim Surgeon, all of New Bedford, Harry Gleckman, of Dorchester, and Everett Jackson, Fairhaven.

Coast Guard commander John S. Baylies of New London said that Folgers real name was Frank Butler and that he was master of the Nola. He said that Glickman was slightly injured, but did not know how the injury was inflicted. The men were taken to New London for hearing.

Two Cases Seized.

Two cases of liquor were reported to have been seized from the Nola before the vessel sank.

According to a report made today at the Coast Guard base 16, Woods hole, the Coast Guard 843 under Chief Boatswain Mate Cecil Mcleod and the CG 2297 under Boatswain Mate 2nd Class Irving Yost were on a patrol late last night when they saw flares being sent up, presumably as a signal to another boat. They closed in on the boat, the Nola.

When the Nola refused to stop the CG 813 fired machine gun bullets at the vessel but they did not penetrate the armor of the craft.

In the meantime, the CG 405 of the New London base came on the scene and in the darkness mistook the 813 for the rum boat and nearly rammed her in an attempt to overtake her. The 813 turned its machine gun fire on the decks of the Nola and it caught fire.

The CG 405 came alongside the Nola and the five men aboard the craft jumped on board the patrol boat, without mentioning that Nunes was lying on the deck wounded. Boatswain Mate Mcleod directed the 813 to the side of the flaming vessel and finding Nunes helpless on the deck took him into the patrol boat and started at once for Vineyard Haven.

In the meantime the destroyer Wilkes from the Boston Coast Guard base was in the vicinity and she attached a line to

the Nola in an attempt to tow her away. The craft sank before it could be towed very far. The CG 405 witht5 captured men and the alleged liquor proceeded on its way to New London. The condition of Nunes was so serious last night that the Reverend Edmund Neenan, Oak Bluffs, was called to his bedside at the Marine hospital. Dr. H. V. Stroppe is attending the man.

Nunes was born in the Azores and has lived in New Bedford for the last 30 years. He has a wife and 3 children living in New Bedford.

The Nola was believed to have been inbound from Noman Land last night with a cargo when she was seen by the Coast Guard. Seeing the flares offshore last night the Cuttyhunk Coast Guard station life saving crew sent out a boat to the scene.

The use of aliases by Frank Butler as Frank Folger was a common ploy. Charlie had used the last name of White with various first names, Peter Blier had used the last name of Thibodou, his wife's maiden name as well as Cote and Martin.

The biggest seizure of liquor came in 1932 in the waters of Little Bay off Puppy Rocks.

Evening Standard

November 2, 1932


Two Contact Boats Are Also Captured With Big Mother Ship, Amacita and 26 Men Are Arrested, Near City Docks

(By Associated Press) Woods Hole, Nov. 2

The motor ship Amacita, out of Bridgetown, Barbados, with it’s crew of 11 men and a cargo of 4,000 cases of liquor, was seized by the Coast Guard men today in New Bedford harbor. Just one mile from it’s destination.

The guardsmen said the liquor was worth $200,000 and in addition 2 power boats carrying 15 men were captured as they attempted to contact the Amacita. The vessel was operated by a twin screw Winton Diesel engine. A large quantity of cologne was also found aboard, the guardsmen said.

Coast Guard headquarters here said that several of the government boats were patrolling the New Bedford harbor during the night when the Amacita was sighted running without lights just north of West Island, only one mile from Purchase street, New Bedford’s main street. Two power boats came out, from the beach, to contact the Amacita and at that time the Coast Guard boats closed in. The Amacita, the power boats and the prisoners were all taken to Wood’s Hole. The leading vessel in the capture was the 40 foot Coast Guard boat which was once the ‘Tramp’, and which had a sensational two year career in the waters of the Massachusetts coast. It is now commanded by Boatswain Cecil McCleod. While McCleod and his crew gave attention to the Amacita, the Coast Guard 883, under Boatswain Charles Greneager, took the crews in the power boats into custody. The Boastwain said that no resistance was offered.

The guardsmen said the Amacita had been driven in near the coast by the heavy storm, which broke over central and southeast New England yesterday afternoon. They said the vessel was a typical supply ship for the ’rum row’ and was 123 feet long and had the usual V-shaped hull or hood at the bow.

All the prisoners were questioned for several hours at the headquarters here and later in the day were taken to New Bedford for arraignment, before a Federal commissioner. The Amacita of Canadian registry, was to be taken to Boston.

The guardsmen said that the master of the Amacita said he was W. R. Trensholm of Halifax, Nova Scotia. With the exception of Manuel Lewis of 58 Ocean St., New Bedford, all other members of the crew were from Nova Scotia. They said they were Daniel Fraser and Fred Tanner, Lunenberg, Roy Harting, Martin Evans, Garland Veleha, Charles White, Walter Shepard and Charles DeCourcy of Halifax and Stanley Freider of Sunnyville Center.

The owners of the vessel the Coast Guard said, is the Northen Exporting Company of Bridgeton, Barbados.

Trensholm volunteered to take the ship to Boston with his own engineers and the Coast Guard accepted the offer. A prize crew under Lieutenant Richard M. Ross was placed aboard the and a Coast Guard convoy accompanied the Amacita as it left for Boston.

The crews in the power boasts all were residents of Fairhaven, the guardsmen said.

Evening Standard

November 3, 1932


By Associated Press, Boston, Nov. 3

The seizure of the British motor ship, Amacita, assumed international complications today as the crafts skipper prepared a formal protest to the British authorities.

Captain W. R. Trensholm, Nova Scotia, master of the Amacita, said he put into Buzzard’s Bay two nights ago to save his ship from high seas kicked up by a easterly storm. he said his hatches were battened down and pointed to that as an indication there was no intent to land his cargo of liquor in U.S. territory.

Captain W. R. Trensholm, Nova Scotia, master of the Amacita, said he put into Buzzard’s Bay two nights ago to save his ship from high seas kicked up by a easterly storm. he said his hatches were battened down and pointed to that as an indication there was no intent to land his cargo of liquor in U.S. territory.?? Note that the article states "New Bedford harbor" when it was Little Bay and that it was seized just a mile from Purchase street. Both totally untrue. Carl White, it will e discovered is actually Charlie Travers. Among the local men arrested is a former Red Sox pitcher. The truth of the capture is that the Coast Guard had cracked the radio codes and knew exactly where the Amacita would be unloading. They waited in darkness until the signal for the unloading boats to come over. A red rag was placed over a flash light and waved towards Jack's Cove. When the CG's saw the signal they swooped in and boarded before the contact boats.

By this period in Prohibition the gangs had gotten the hang of distilling their own alcohol. It eliminated the trip to St Miquelon, Nova Scotia and kept costs down.

New Bedford Evening Standard

February 10, 1933

Large Rum Ring Believed Owner of Plant in Somerset

Apparatus Hidden-No Arrests Made

Search Due In Boston, New York

Members of a large liquor ring with headquarters in larger eastern cities is believed by prohibition agents to be connected with the $100,000 alcohol distillery seized at Somerset Thursday.

Federal investigators today planned to question several residents of Somerset. It was also said promoters of the plant may be located in Boston or New York. No arrests have been made.

The seizure, which prohibition agents said was made on the premises of the E. S. Parks Shellac Company at the extreme end of Main street is the largest ever made by agents working from the New Bedford office under investigator Robert R. Speed. The building one of three owned by the shellac company was reported leased to a company called the Acme Products Company. Officials of the shellac company denied connection.

2000 Gallon Daily.

With three stills, one of 10,000 gallon and the other two of 5,000 gallon capacity, it was estimated that the plant was capable of turning out more than 2,000 gallons daily. Finding only 5 gallons of alcohol indicated the makers had disposed of their last batch before the arrival of the police.

All apparatus was hidden in such a fashion that a casual observer never would suspect a distillery, according to agents from New Bedford and Boston. Tanks were buried beneath concrete walls and the piping was behind false partitions.

Jonathan S. Lewis, New England Prohibition administrator, with his assistant, Henry E. Goodnough, of Boston reached the scene during the raid and supervised the removal and destruction.

Besides the still, the following equipment and materials were found; seven 20,000 gallon fermenting vats, five 5,000 gallon agitators, two 8,000 gallon tanks, one 4,000 gallon mixing tank, one 5,000 gallon cleaning tank, 4,000 bags of imported Javanese brown meal flour, ten electric pumps, six water pumps, 115 empty 50 gallon drums, 2 copper columns (25 1/2 feet high, three feet in diameter), 70 bags granulated salt (100 pounds each), one 2,000 gallon condenser and 87 5 gallon cans.

Good Product.

Agents said that the plant had been turning out a good grade of grain alcohol for probably a year. Specially rigged doors, operated by electric push buttons, were part of the mysterious furnishings.

Two other buildings on the premises are used exclusively by the shellac company, and are not connected with the distillery, according to raiders.

The buildings were originally occupied by the now defunct Somerset Stove Foundry. They are located on the west bank of the Taunton River, east of the Somerset High School.

Edward S. Parks, general manager of the Shellac Company said that nearly 18 months ago he leased their aided building to the products company. He declared that he did not know the identity of the man who completed the deal.

Federal agents said that originally the lease called for control of only a small portion of the building. The Parks concern later sublet the entire space of the building, which would have totaled $32,000 in rent for the period.

The electrically controlled agitators of 5,000 gallon capacity each, prepared the mash which was pumped through electrically controlled systems to fermentation rooms. The secret doors with their remote electric controls forced the raiders to use sledgehammers and bars to break false walls shielding vats of 20,000 gallon capacity. Pumps fed the fermenting liquids into a tower, where gravity supplied the large stills.

The Javanese meal used in preparing the mash was something new to the raiders. They figured they got possession of an entire shipment purchased in bulk by a syndicate recently and sent through to the Somerset plant.

It took investigators 7 days to find all the equipment there. Some of the original buildings remain and it is now a boat yard. The Parks Shellac Company, owner of the building is still in operation today in Attleboro. This may seem to have little connection to Fairhaven but the next day another article ran.

New Bedford Standard Times

February 12, 1933


Police Believe Fall River Man Knows Somerset Owners

A Fall River truck driver said to be active in Somerset faces questioning by federal authorities seeking identities of the owners of a $100,000 liquor plant seized in Somerset Thursday.

Investigators reveal the truck driver was held up about a year ago while allegedly transporting parts of the huge still in the neighborhood of the E. S. Sparks Shellac Company. The distillery, agents said, was in a building on the premises of the shellac works. Officers of the company have denied connection and have pointed out that the building was leased more than a year ago to a group known as the Acme Products Company of New York.

Boston Police are reported to have the name of the truckman but are keeping it secret pending the completion of the investigation. Police in that city were said to have questioned him shortly after the slaying of Frank Wallace alias Gustin and Bernard alias 'Dodo' Walsh, Boston gangsters. The questioning which was ended in the release of truckmen concerned the reported hi-jacking of a truck load of liquor.

Again, what about Fairhaven you may be asking. This is the clincher.

New Bedford Standard Times


Henry Souza, 29 of 386 North Main St, Fairhaven, was instantly killed about 4 a.m. Saturday when his Buick sedan crashed into three telephone poles and a tree in front of the Hathaway home on Sconticut Neck Road. The accident happened an hour before it started to snow.

Awakened by the sound of the accident Adiel H. Hathaway said he saw a smal roadster or coupe drive away as he looked out a window.

Mr. Hathaway went out with his son Phillip C. Hathaway, to find Souza crumpled in gthe driver's seat. They called the police and acting Chief Sykes with patrolmen Dodge and Barney arrived.

Medical Examiner O'Brien later viewd the body and gave permission for removal to an undertaking establishment in New Bedford.

Police said it was evident Souza, alone in his car, was driving north on Sconticut Neck Rd. he first struck a glancing blow omn a pole just south of the Hathaway house, skidded 80 or 90 feet to a second pole, whcih his machine broke off at the base, and then sideswiped a third pole ten feet farther down the road.

Hank Souza auto

The sedan then went into a tree about 5 feet east of the last pole and landed in an upright position, paralell and 10 feet from the edge of the road.

The right side of the car was damaged by striking the first pole, the front end was stove in by the collision with the second and third pole and the tree wrecked the left side of the sedan. Doors mudguards and the roof were almost torn off.

Police identified the dead man by his license and registration papersand notified members of the family.

Police were unavble to learn if anybody besides Mr. Hathaway saw a second automobile near the accident. They said it was apparent the Souza car did not hit any other machine.

Souza was born in Fairhaven, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Souza, and made his home there all his life. He was married nine years ago was engaged in the trucking business.

Beside his wife, Mrs. Bernice Souza, he is survived by a son Henry Jr., his mother, Mrs. Joseph Souza, two sisters, Miss Florence Souza, and Mrs. Anna Sylvia, and one brother, Charles Souza, all of this town. he was a communicant of St. Mary's church and he was and was a member of the Harpoon Club.


Hank Souza was the truck driver the Feds were trying to find. The gang that built the distillery knew this and were looking for Hank too. The accident occurred on the Neck in front of the Hathaway's home as the article stated. The home is now gone and a new raised home with high black fencing now sits there. What the newspaper didn't mention but Mr. Souza's family said, is that immediately after the crash the Hathaways looked out at the crashed car, a 1931 Buick Phaeton, and saw two men in a coupe stopped. One man got out leaned into the car and then drove off. The only called recieved at the police station was from the Hathaway house. If the men on the coupe were checking on Hank Souza they never did anything more.

Mr. Souza dies of a "throat laceration" and head trauma. Cars of that era didn't have safety glass windshields. But what the rumor is is that the men in the coupe were working for the owners of the still and decided to kill him to keep him from talking to the Feds. When the passenger got out and leaned into Hank's car he did so in order to cut Souza's throat. Hos throat was said to be slashed "from ear to ear". When the Souza family decided to push the police for more of an investigation they were told that they were dealing with something much larger than they could handle and to just let it go, which they did.

Suddenly all Hell seemed to break lose, even though Prohibition ended in 1933.

The Morning Mercury

New Bedford, MA

Saturday May 11, 1935

Maynard To Drive Out Local Rum Baron




The Evening Standard

New Bedford Ma

May 10, 1935


2500 to 3000 Cases Found in Search by Land, Sea and Air


Sconticut Neck Haul Part of Accuracy's Landing, Customs Men Believe

Government forces, moving swiftly by land, sea and air seized 2,500 to 3,000 cases of contraband alcohol today on Sconticut Neck, Fairhaven.

Joseph A. Maynard, collector of customs said the alcohol was found concealed in a cellar cache beneath a poultry house on the Sea View Poultry Farm.

The unrelenting search ordered following seizure of the reputedly British-owned rum boat, Accuracy a week ago off South Dartmouth led to the raid, and authorities expressed belief the alcohol found today was landed by the Accuracy. The caretaker of the farm, which officials say is known as the Travers place, was placed under arrest and charged with having contraband alcohol on his premises. He is Peter Blier, 42, alias Peter Martin, alias Peter Cote. He was the only person found on the premises. The owner of the farm, officials stated after investigation, is Mildred Sedgewick of Westport.

Search Warrant Issued

The seizure was made by one unit of a group of searching parties made up of customs men, coast guardsmen, and state patrolmen engaged in a systematic search of the shore property on Sconticut Neck, Shaw's Cove, Brandt Island Beach and Brandt Island itself by air, land and sea.

A search warrant was issued to allow the raiding party to inspect a short wave radio set found at the place and determine its possibilities for off shore contacts.

Four trucks arrived in readiness to remove the contraband to the appraiser stores at Boston. Officials expressed the opinion that 500 cases of the original quantity stored in the cellar had already been removed before their arrival and that the total landed was probably 3,000 cases, the capacity of the Accuracy.

State Police Assist

While a Coast Guard airplane zoomed overhead and patrol craft sliced through the waters of the Bay, the land forces converged on the liquor cache. Lieutenant Commander Beckwith Jordan directed the Coast Guard detachment. Deputy Collector of Customs William J. Fitzgerald headed Customs officers and border patrolmen who rushed into New Bedford from Boston and Rhode Island.

Ten a.m. was the zero hour for the start of the search. At that hour, a line of automobiles headed from the Customs House across the Fairhaven Bridge, into the Sconticut Neck and Mattapoisett territory.

The successful party was led by Customs Inspector Harold Young and comprised Inspector Christopher Kelly, State Patrolman Joseph F. Hourihan, James V. Grant, Ernest M. Mawn, Chief Petty Officer Carl Madsen, and Coast Guardsmen Brock W. Measel. Constable Herbert F. Gurney of Freetown drove some of the raiding party the scene and was present at the seizure.

The group was about to leave the farm after a search of the entire premises, when Patrolman Hourihan thought he caught a whiff of alcohol as he passed the rear of the chicken coop, which backed up against a large garage. He and the other two patrolmen made a fresh search, which led to a large workbench fastened to the back of the garage. They lifted the latch, which held it in place, pulled it away from the wall, and found a trapdoor beneath it. The trapdoor led into a cellar under the adjoining poultry house.

39 Tiers of Cases

The number of cases in the cellar was roughly estimated on the basis of those that were accessible without removing all. The patrolmen counted 99 case to a tier, and 20 tiers, as far back as they could see.

he searching party also found a clearly marked path leading from the garage to the beach and noted tractor marks in the damp earth, indicating that a tractor was used to haul the heavy cases up from the beach. They also found a short wave radio set on the second floor of one of the farm buildings. In the upper part of the garage a high power marine engine was brought to light. Several dories were located in a field nearby.

Captain H, G, Merkham, who has charge of the Customs border patrol along the Rhode Island coast and contiguous territory, was in the vicinity at the time with another unit comprising Customs Inspector A. J. Smith and Deputy Collector Fitzgerald. Word of the seizure was quickly relayed to them and they hastened to join the forces at the farm.

Claims Alcohol for Himself

Mr. Fitzgerald briefly questioned Blier, the farm caretaker, who has aliases of Peter Martin and Peter Cote. Blier asserted the alcohol was his own personal property. He is about 42.

The farm where the seizure was made is a rather elaborate estate of it's kind. It lies just at the end of the public road, two miles down the Neck and south of Winsegansett Heights. It's sign Sea View Poultry Farm is prominently displayed.

The value of the liquor would come to $40,000. Its rate charged for smuggled alcohol is $12.00 a case. There was nothing about the cases or containers to prove definitely that they belonged to the same lot as the 640 cases seized last week in Dartmouth but the officials of the services cooperating the raid were inclined to think they were. Pending orders from Boston, the contraband remained in its cache on the farm, under heavy guard.

Collector Fitzgerald returned briefly to New Bedford to obtain warrants needed in following up the seizure. He headed up a force of 42 men in the day's operations.

One of the buildings on the farm was clean, well finished two-room structure, and was apparently used as sleeping quarters and a clubroom for the shore men, officials said. It included a bedroom with two iron beds, a bathroom and a combination kitchen and dining room with a large wood stove, a rough table, and several benches and chairs.

Accuracy Seized May 3

The Accuracy was seized by Coast Guard patrol boat 405 at daybreak Thursday, May 3, off Smith's Neck, South Dartmouth, and towed to the State Pier in this city. No contraband was found aboard. Investigators hurried to South Dartmouth shores to search there without success for a dumped alcohol cargo. The Accuracy was seized because of her reputation as a member of the rum fleet and because she was in jurisdictional waters.

Raids on South Dartmouth farms the next day netted 800 cases of liquor, valued at $25,000, and resulted in the arrests of Victor Medeiros of Russells Mills Road and Herbert C. Breault of Elm Street, South Dartmouth, on whose premises the liquor was found, and Charles J. Leonard, of the same address as Medeiros. A reward of 25 percent of the value of any liquor brought to light was offered by the Government for information leading to the seizures. Even at the time of the Dartmouth seizures, skepticism was expressed in various quarters that the liquor taken was all of the Accuracy cargo. Reports persisted from the first that the British-registered rum boat had landed her freight on Sconticut Neck.

Accuracy Captain Held

Charles Donovan Skipper of the Accuracy, and his crew of eight pleaded not guilty last Saturday in Boston before U.S. Commissioner Jenny to charges of conspiracy to violate liquor laws, and were held in bail ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 for a hearing May 18. Medeiros, Breault and Leonard were arraigned here before Commissioner Lilly and await trial next week. Leonard's bail was fixed at $5,000, the others at $2,500. A brother of Medeiros, John V. Medeiros, of the same address, was suspended from the Dartmouth police force pending outcome of the investigation. Although the Accuracy was registered in Britain, efforts were made to trace its past ownership to New Bedford.

It is my assertion that this liquor was bound for the Cocoanut Grove nightclub, now a legal establishment. The tax free liquor was too good of a profit. When the Grove caught fire a room in the middle of the club was discovered stocked with 5 gallon cans of illegal booze.

The chicken coop mentioned is in the back and right of the large picture of the Seaview barns. The floor was cement and had a room underneath nearly undetectable. George Beals told he remembered the raid when he was a kid. He was naturally curious and his mother had to keep shooing him away from the window. As the trucks left loaded with the confiscated liquor there guards with machine guns sitting on the roof of the truck's cabs.

The caretaker, Peter Blier was a former building contractor who had been successful and most recently had built several homes in the south end of New Bedford. A news article of the time describes Blier being charged with child labor law offences. He had his young son with him cleaning up scrap lumber. The charges were later dropped. It was during this period that he probably met Charlie Travers or his father, since he was building house a block from the elder Travers home. Blier had fallen ill with Bright's Disease which affected his finger and toes. The disease caused gangrene to set in his toes and made walking difficult. Telephone conversations with Eleanore Beals who had married Blier's son David. She was a nurse and would care for Blier at his home which was on a beach road south off West Island road. The house still exists and sits on higher ground past a house built on wooden piles. Mrs. Beals said she would administer morphine for his pain. One time the pain was so severe from gangrene he broke one of his big toes off after an injection to try to stop the pain. Eventually Blier and his wife, Georgiana moved into Seaview farm house. They had four children and Georgiana was deeply religous. Because of the illegal activities at the farm Georgiana and Peter sent their 3 oldest kids to an orphanage in Fall River so they wouldn't be exposed to what was going on there. The baby was too young to know about it so they kept her there.

The Accuracy had dropped part of the liquor off the shore of Sconticut Neck or Jack's Cove and the rest in South Dartmouth. The small farm there located on a curve was known as Moonshine Corner. The Medeiros brothers were contractors who specialized in cement work and most likely were the ones who built the underground storage area under the chicken coop at Seaview. The room still exists today ut is filled with water and debris. No doubt people who have seen the entrance to it thought it was the fabled tunnel that supposedly led to the beach and used to bring in liquor. Stop to think what a project it would have been to create a tunnel nearly a quarter mile long, tall enough for a man to carry heavy loads of alcohol and also be safe. It would have been possible to fabricate a small cart rail system but still not very practical.

Subsequent article real more of the on going events at the Poultry Farm two years after the repeal of Prohibition.

The Standard Times

New Bedford, MA

May 13, 1935

Wife of Liquor Farm Caretaker Kills Self With Gas After Row

Mrs. Peter Blier is Found Dead in Hotel Room at Weld Square Behind Locked Door

Police Told of Her Tiff with Caretaker of Farm Where Rum Was Found

Mrs. Georgianna M. Blier, 36, wife of Peter Blier, who was arrested lat week in the spectacular Federal raid on the Seaview Poultry Farm, Sconticut Neck Road, Fairhaven, where he was caretaker, was found dead today in a gas filled kitchenette at the Weld Square Hotel.

She had been living with her husband at the Sconticut Neck farm. She was the mother of four children.

Dr. William Rosen, medical examiner, rendered a verdict of suicide by inhaling illuminating gas.

Mother Reports her Missing

Domestic difficulties were seen by police as the motive for suicide, Chief McLeod learned from official reports that Blier and his wife quarreled on a sidewalk here in the presence of Sergeant Thomas E. Carr Saturday. Carr sought to compose their differences and they apparently left together for their Sconticut Neck Road home.

Patrolman Rainville of the North End station received a report from Mrs. Anna Thibodeau, mother of Mrs. Blier, Sunday that the latter had been missing since morning.

Relatives of the dead woman said she has often expressed her position to pursuits to which her husband had recently involved. While he worked at his contracting business and had recently built several houses on Clark's Point, the couple were comfortable and happy the family added.

Mrs. Delia P. Murphy, manager of the hotel, told police when she called to break into the locked kitchenette, that Mrs. Blier registered at the hotel Sunday morning, remarking as she was assisted to a room that she was very tired and did not wish to be disturbed. Complying with the order no one went into the room until this morning when Mrs. Rose Mailloux, a maid, entered by passkey to put the room in order.

Mrs. Mailloux found the room undisturbed except for a woman's coat and hat lying on a chair. A strong odor of gas emanated from the connecting kitchenette, she tried the door; discovered it was locked; and hastened to report to Mrs. Murphy.

Patrolman Greg C. Hawes was called from the police station across the street. He forced the door, and came upon Mrs. Blier's dead body, seated in a rocking chair, which had been pulled into the tiny compartment from the bedroom. Gas poured from a rubber hose Mrs. Murphy said had been disconnected from the gas burner hot plate and placed in the kitchenette the last time the room was cleaned. The cocks of the gas burner were not open; eliminating the possibility that Mrs. Blier might have turned on the gas burner under the impression the stove was connected. The kitchenette was so filled with gas that Patrolman Hawes was nearly overcome in the few seconds it took him to cut off the flow of the gas.

No note was found in the room among Mrs. Blier's belongings. Her automobile license, found in her pocketbook, gave her address of the Sea View Poultry Farm.

The Bliers were married about 15 years ago. Mrs. Blier was Georgianna Thibodeau of Danileson Conn. Mr. Blier was a contractor in the city prior to going out to the poultry farm. Their youngest child, Peter Jr., 5, lived out on the farm with his parents. The three older children, Irene, Andrew and Raymond, the oldest of whom as 14, are at St. Joseph's Orphanage, Fall River.

Mrs. Phillip Cote, of the same address, and two other sisters, Mrs. Wilfred Dessert of Roosevelt St., here, and Mrs. Antonio Girard of Pawtucket, RI.

Mrs. Blier was a native of Biddeford, ME. It was said that the couple lived at the Sconticut Neck poultry farm for the last nine months after having resided from four to five years in Acushnet.

There are two things that were left out of this article that I learned through interviews. Georgianna Blier had supposedly received an anonymous note stating "Keep your mouth shut or you will end up like the Lindberg baby." Charles Lindberg's son had been kidnapped for ransom and his ody dismembered and scattered in upstate New York. Georgiana's mother had found it in her purse but never spoke of it. In addition to that Georgiana was having an affair with Peter's brother George. It was rumored that George called the police because Georgiana's religious beliefs and the activities at the farm and her children being sent to an orphanage were tearing her apart. After Georgiana's death Peter Blier would remarry.

The end of Charlie Travers rum running career and the Seaview Poultry Farm would come in 1941, 8 years after the end of Prohiition.

New Bedford Standard Times

January 17, 1941


Liquor Establishment Found in Henhouse on Sconticut Neck

Federal agents assisted by State and Federal Police today seized a 1000 gallon still and arrested three men on the former Seaview Poultry Farm, Sconticut Neck, East Fairhaven.

According to U.S. agent James F. Gray, head of the local Alcohol Tax Unit office,Internal Revenue Bureau the prisoners are Victor Medeiros, 20 of 151 Russels Mills Rd., Dartmouth, Loius J. Braga, 29 of same address and Charles Travers whose address was not obtained immediately.

Agents and police armed with crowbars found the still, said by then to have been in operation in the basement of a large henhouse. There were two large vats, members of the raiding party said.

Gray said that the South Dartmouth men were trapped in the cellar with no chance of escaping when the raiding party made the surprise visit. Travers allegedly was found in another section of the farm.

The upper floor of the hen house had a dummy wall, police disclosed which when lowered revealed the illicit still.

Records showed the same farm was raided in the Spring of 1935 when Federal Agents found 2458 cases of smuggled alcohol. The alcohol was traced as part of the alleged shipment from the British vessel Accuracy, at that time an additional 640 cases of alcohol were found in South Dartmouth.

As a result of the two seizures U.S. Agents made numerous arrests. One of the prisoners booked at the time in Dartmouth gave the same name and address as the Medeiros arrested today. Medeiros gave his age, at then, as 25.

The late Joseph A. Maynard of Boston, Collector of Customs, acting on instructions from the Secretary of the Treasury. personally led the May 1935 farm raid in Fairhaven. WIlliam J. Fitzgerald Head of the Customs House assisted.

I was told that one of the reasons the still was discovered was the large amounts of sugar being bought for making the mash. The corn and grain needed could be justified as feed for the chickens. Charlie's supplier was a bakery in North Fairhaven.

Charlie had used the barge dredge to create three 60 by 100 foot lots on the shore of the Poultry Farm to move sand to the beach to build houses on. The deeds show one buyer was a fireman and another a baker. By the 1938 hurricane the lots were completed and one house was finished another nearly done and the third just started. When the storm hit a woman with children was living in the completed house. The storm surge rose high enough to surround the houses. Charlie waded out and got the woman and kids to safety at the farm house. Soon the tide reached the farm house too. Everybody then made their way to the Beal's Salt Winds estate on even higher ground.

During the 1954 hurricane when the York's owned the farm several of the outbuildings were badly damaged beyond repair. David York told me that portions were later used to build the porch on Earl's Marina.

The hen house described was the smaller chicken coop on the Seaview map diagram. There was a switch on the wall that when activated lowered a section of the wall where there was a ladder going to underneath the chicken coop. The coop was actually situated on an east west direction. Today it still sits in a field and appears as a white ranch style house that has been neglected. Many years ago the present owner of that part of the property tried to convert it to a dwelling but improper permitting prevented the town from allowing him to continue. In the 1950's contractor Skippy Saladino had been hired y the York family to remove the still from under the building for scrap. Because Mildred's name was on the deed she was arrested also.

New Bedford Standard Times


Resident of Fairhaven is Released in Bond for Hearing Feb. 10

February 10 after appearing before U.S. Commisioner George E. Lilley today on a complaint charging posession of mash and 40 gallons of alcohol.

The Commisioner continued hearing of the action to the same day, when three other persons will appear to face similar charges, having been bailed previously.

The other three defendants are Charles Travers, resident of Sconticut Neck Road and Victor Medeiros and Louis J. Braga both residents of Russells Mills Road, Dartmouth.

Mrs. Sedgewick who appeared in the Federal complaint with the others, was unable to appear until today because of illness. She was represented by attorney George V. Ponte who is also council for Travers. Attorney Harry H. Lider appeared for the other two defendants.

Arrests of the four defendants followed a raid by Federal agents, state and Fairhaven police, on the former Seaview Poultry Farm on Sconticut Neck Road January 17, where the raiders allege they found the large still in operation under a henhouse. The same farm was raided in the Spring of 1935 when 2450 cases of smuggled alcohol were seized, officials said.

Seaview them and now

The Seaview Poultry Farm pictured in 1935 and in 1978 from an article regarding the purchase of property by current owners Natalia and Victor Gonsalves.

Charges against Mildred were dropped when Charlie agreed to plead guilty and serve time in prison for the raid on the still. He would end up serving aout a year until WWII broke out and he was released to join the Navy. He served and was honorably discharged. The still had vent pipes for smoke and steam that were buried under ground heading towards the beach and terminated in a clump of tree. When raiders tried to find the still they were led to the trees by the smell while the man stationed in the cellar had time to shut things down. I believe these pipes running from the small chicken coop were mistaken by people as another tunnel to the beach

The Seaview Poultry Farm had been mortgaged to cover expenses for Mildred's medical expenses. After his arrest the farm fell into foreclosure and was sold by the bank to the Yorks.

During his heyday as a rum smuggler Charlie also owned a Dodge dealership on North street in New Bedford as well as a machine shop on Hillman street. Charles Serpa was listed as treasurer in the Dodge dealership. In building the Black Duck he designed and made a transmission that coupled the 2 V12 engines which was used by the Coast Guard during it's possession of the Duck. It was rumored that an engineer for the Navy told Charlie they tried to duplicate the transmission but never got it right. Late in the 1950's Charlie was employed by the Navy and was gone about 2 years. He never told anyone, including his family what he did during that time. Speculation is that he worked with engineers on PT boat designs for the upcoming Viet Nam war.

Charlie Travers Obituary

Captain Charles Travers, 89 died Saturday December 9, 1995. He was the widower of Mildred (Hart) Travers and son of the late Frank P. and Mary (Avila) Travers.

He died at Tobey Hospital Wareham.

Born in Dartmouth, he lived in the New Bedford area until moving to the Cape in 1975. He was a sea Captain and retired from the Campanella Corporation (Marine Division) in 1972.

A WW II Navy veteran, Mr. Travers was a member of the Elks of New Bedford, American Legion Post # 1 of New Bedford, and the Masters, Mates, and Pilots.

Mr. Travers had an extensive knowledge of marine engines and operated a shop on Hillman St., New Bedford for the repai and sale of marine engines.

At one time he was the sole distributor in New England of the Garwood Marine engine Corporation. He also operated the former Chrysler Plymouth dealership in New Bedford, which was at the junction of Mill and Kempton streets. Survivors include a stepson, Harry Sedgwick of Old Say Brook Connecticut, two brothers, Joseph P. Travers and Francis P. Travers, both of New Bedford, 6 granchildren and neices and nephews.

dob 2/7/1906 d. 12/9/1995

Charlie was living in Woods Hole at the time he died. People who knew Charlie said he was one of the nicest men you could ever meet. Countless stories of Charlie hearing about someone or a family who didn't have enough food and suddenly a few bags of groceries would appear at their door, anonymously. If you needed coal for heat and had no money and Charlie heard about it, the coal was delivered, no charge. If you needed money and asked for a loan he gave it and rarely accepted payment back. I spoke with Carlton 'Cukie' Macomber of Westport who knew Charlie. He spoke very fondly of him and has given presentations in Westport and Dartmouth about Charlie Travers and his exploits. Quite a few people ask, "What happened to the Black Duck?" A rumor I heard in town was that the Black Duck was sold by the Coast Guard after it no longer needed it to enforce Prohibition. It supposedly was bought by someone and brought back to Fairhaven and moored at the beginning of Main st at the intersection of Church st. The boat sat for several years and settled to the bottom and rotted away in the mud, rib staves were said to still be there. I find this improbable. There was at least one fishing boat after 1933 that was named the Black Duck. It may have been that one. In the book Rum War Sea, a Coast Guard version of Prohibition enforcement there is a chart with many converted rum runners and what happened to them after Prohibition. Many are list sunk, parted out and burned or sold. The Black duck was listed as "unknown". Just to be sure I emailed the National Archives to see if the disposition of the Duck could be ascertained. They could find nothing either.

Charlie Travers is buried at the Saint John's cemetery.