As It Was: Youths Get Drunk on Jamaica Ginger and Lemon Extract

Jun 27, 2018

In February 1918, two young men faced Justice M. T. Wright on a charge of disturbing the peace in Gold Beach, Ore.

It was reported that their misconduct came from a cache of bootleg booze hidden on the beach.  It turned out their intoxication came from consuming a large amount of Jamaica ginger and lemon extract.

Nonetheless, Judge Wright assigned them a $25 fine or 12 days in jail.

The men didn’t have any cash, so they were taken to a concrete housing unit known as “the jug,” to fulfill their sentences, where Sheriff Tolman provided the boys with enough work to build up an appetite.  They swept the courthouse building, felled a hazardous tree, and gave the grass in the yard a much-needed trimming.  Due to their good conduct, no watch was kept over them during the term of confinement.

Some people protested their laborious punishment did not fit the crime, and the cost of transporting and housing the culprits far out-weighed any negative effects of any disturbance.

Several friends offered to pay their fine, but the inmates declined any assistance.

Source: "Drink Too Heavily of Lemon Extract." Gold Beach Reporter, 21 Feb. 1918, p. 1.