AUBURN — The Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society will be holding its fall membership meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Auburn Public Library’s Androscoggin Room. The meeting will include the election of officers and board members, and the drawings for the group’s annual raffle fundraiser.

At the meeting’s conclusion a presentation by guest speaker James Myall, “You Might As Well Try to Stop the Androscoggin River From Flowing — Stories from Lewiston’s Rum War,” is expected to begin around 11:15. The public is welcome to attend this presentation.

Maine was the first state to adopt a prohibition law against the sale of alcohol. From 1856 to 1933, Maine was a dry state — in theory. But the reality was often quite different, and Lewiston was at the center of the “Rum War” between the “wets” and the “drys.” French-Canadians and other immigrants resented the law, and local authorities singled them out for violations.

Myall, a historian of Maine’s Franco-Americans, will present stories from this turbulent time in Lewiston’s history. Bootleggers, crooked cops, and mobsters all make an appearance, along with exasperated lawmakers, priests and advocates.

Myall spent four years as the coordinator of the Franco-American Collection at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College. He is the co-author of “The Franco-Americans of Lewiston-Auburn” and he publishes a blog with the Bangor Daily News called “Parlez-Vous American?”

He lives in Topsham with his wife and three children.

James Myall

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