Okfuskee County
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Okfuskee County
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Okemah

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Authorities Confiscate Still, May 1921
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Life of Moonshiner Hard in Okfuskee; 
43 Whisky Stills Within Four Months, 
Record of New Sheriff and His Force


Pictured (l to r):  (1) Tom Huser, County Attorney; (2) Oscar Nichols, Undersheriff;  (6) L. M. "Boots" Jeffers, Deputy Sheriff;  (3) Bill Seawell, Assistant County Attorney;  (4) L. M. Collier, Sheriff;  and (5) Ben Cochran, Deputy Sheriff. May 17, 1921.  Dill Collection, courtesy Okfuskee County Historical Society.

Okemah, May 28, 1921

When Sheriff L. M. Collier took his office the first of the year he realized that he had a job on his hands, that being the elimination of the bootlegger and moon shiner from the confines of Okfuskee county.  Results to date show that he has been attending to his job.   Besides attending to the regular law-breaking element, he has made the whisky business a mighty fine thing to keep out of in this county.

Since taking office he has captured forty-three whisky stills and thirty-eight men were arrested in connection with them.  Of this number twenty eight entered pleas of guilty and donated their time and money to the county and ten men have been turned over to the federal authorities.  Only one man has succeeded in getting away from the sheriff or any of his force and that man is now being hunted night and day by the officers, and is expected to be captured at any time.  This man is L. M. Leard, one of the sheriff's deputies, who is charged with criminal assault, and escaped while being taken to Holdenville to protect him from possible violence at the hands of a mob.

The sheriff, when picking his force, was careful to get men in whom unquestioned confidence could be placed and his choice of office and field deputies was made from men who have been associated in the business of catching criminals.

Boots Jeffers, field deputy, has been in and near Okfuskee county for the last thirty-four years and started his career as a law enforcement officer as  a marshal of the A. H. T. A. And was with them for three years.  Jeffers was a deputy United States marshal under D. M. Webb of Weleetka for three years in the territory days, served as deputy for some time under the first sheriff of Okfuskee county, W. M. McCully, and was deputy under Sheriff S. M. Wilson.  He has the reputation of getting the man he wants.  He is a candidate for the appointment of deputy United States marshal for this district.

Ben Cochran is another of the deputies who has a reputation as a man-getter.  Cochran has been in this district nineteen years and much of his time has been put in as an officer.  He served in territorial days as a deputy United States marshal under D. M. Webb, was the first field deputy in this district under H. M. Ball, and served two years as deputy under former Sheriff S. M. Wilson.

Oscar Nichols is the under-sheriff and has been in this country twenty-one years.

The men in the county prosecutor's office who are giving all encouragement to the sheriff and his force are two young ex-service men, County Attorney Tom Huser and assistant, William Seawell.  Huser was elected to his position without opposition either in the primary or election. 

This page was last updated on 10/13/11

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