Charles Ley Pours Liquor Money into Tax Coffers
You can’t fight the taxman.
Or so the saying goes.
But in the wake of the Rose Law and resulting Dow and Aiken taxes throughout Ohio in the early part of the 20th century, local saloon proprietors certainly tried to.
And throughout his four-year term as Tuscarawas County treasurer, Great-great-grandfather Charles Henry Ley was the bad guy on the other side of the battle for liquor tax revenue.
This item from the New Philadelphia Daily Times of Feb. 8, 1912 details a typical liquor tax fight:
TREASURER LEY IS DEFENDANT IN MANY LAW SUITS
County Treasurer Charles Ley probably has more law suits on his hands than any other individual in the county. All these liquor injunctions lately have been directed at Mr. Ley. However, he says he proposes to fight every one as much as possible.
The third petition for an injunction from paying Aiken tax during the dry regime came Wednesday afternoon. Joseph H. Zeigler, who is conducting a saloon in Second street, Canal Dover, wants court to keep Treasurer Ley from collecting $727.05 Aiken tax and $145.41 penalty for alleged violation of the Rose law from August 31, 1911 to May 4, 1912. The circumstances, as stated in Zeigler’s petition are similar to those of Christ Herzig and Edgar Ruof.
But who was this Joseph H Zeigler, saloon-keeper, my great-great grandfather was chasing down throughout 1912?
Longtime followers of this blog may remember my case of “family tree pruning” as I untangled branches I’d mistakenly traced, partly by an overzealous connecting of census and death records (how many Zeiglers with daughters named Laura can live on Race Street in Canal Dover — apparently just enough to confuse me), partly due to the fog of family legend.
This Joseph should actually be a Joseph J, but of course not my great-great grandfather J.J. Zeigler, farmer, who had died of natural causes back in June 1897. But, funnily enough, the J.J. Zeigler I’d mistakenly thought was an ancestor.
The tax story ends with another interesting twist. Within a year, J.J. had filed for a new liquor license, only to die (also of natural causes) in late 1913 and leave his family to attempt a transfer to another Zeigler, also unrelated to our line.
Somewhere in there, I’m guessing, Charles and the county managed to get paid.