Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Bone-Dry Law

BONE-DRY LAW.

Oklahoma Senate Bill Number Fifty-five, known as the "Bone-Dry Law," stipulated that "it shall be unlawful for any person in this state to possess any liquor received directly or indirectly from a common or other carrier." With the firm backing of the state's Anti-Saloon League, Sen. Walter Ferguson introduced the bill that many considered to be among the most stringent of its time. Violation of its mandates constituted a misdemeanor and carried a penalty of up to five hundred dollars in fines and six months imprisonment. The bill's passage in 1917 marked ten years since Oklahoma had entered the Union as a dry state.

Despite its almost unanimous passage, the bill became one of the state's most contested prohibition laws. It failed to exempt liquor distribution for sacramental use in churches while providing exemptions for hospitals, pharmacists, universities, and scientific institutions. The Roman Catholic Church challenged the law's capacity to prevent carriers to deliver wine intended for sacramental use in De Hasque v. Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company. On May 21, 1918, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that distribution of wine for sacramental purposes would be exempt from the law. The law's intent was further diminished by a December 1918 ruling that allowed an individual to possess liquor as long as it was not received from a common carrier. Despite losing its initial efficacy, the Bone-Dry Law remained on the books until Oklahoma repealed prohibition in 1959.

Tobie Cunningham

See also: ANTI-SALOON LEAGUE, BILLUPS LAW, GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS, ABBIE B. RICH HILLERMAN, CARRY MOORE NATION, PROHIBITION, WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION

Bibliography

Thomas Elton Brown, "Oklahoma's 'Bone Dry Law' and the Roman Catholic Church," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 52 (Fall 1974).

Jimmie Lewis Franklin, Born Sober: Prohibition in Oklahoma, 1907–1959 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Tobie Cunningham, "Bone-Dry Law," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 23, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia