The Man Who Made Prohibition Happen After Being Stabbed In The Leg By A Drunk Person

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Agents pour liquor into sewer following raid during height of Prohibition, 1921. (Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

You probably don't know Wayne Wheeler's name, but he was largely responsible for one of the most chaotic times in American history, all because of a childhood grudge. That's right: Prohibition, and all the organized criminal madness that came with it, was made possible because this scrawny, bookish Midwesterner got in the way of a drunk's pitchfork.

That Fateful Stabbing

Wayne Wheeler was born on November 10, 1869 in rural Ohio, where he grew up on his family's farm. One night, when Wheeler was a child, one of the family's hired farmhands got drunk and tried to fight his boss and the other farm workers, and in the melee, young Wayne was stabbed in the leg with a pitchfork. Although his wound quickly healed, Wheeler blamed the incident on the consumption of alcohol, as he would later tell legislators and the public to great effect.