Prohibition Officer Gustavus James Simmons

Prohibition Officer Gustavus James Simmons

West Virginia Department of Prohibition, West Virginia

End of Watch Monday, July 11, 1927

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Gustavus James Simmons

Prohibition Officer Gus Simmons was shot and killed from ambush as he and three other state prohibition officers searched for a still in along the Jenny Branch of the Little White Oak Creek in Wyoming County.

As the raiding party made its way toward the still Officer Simmons was shot in the back from ambush. The shooters were able to flee the scene as the other officers sought cover and retreated to call for assistance.

Several members of one family were arrested and charged with his murder. Two were convicted and sentenced to life, while three others were acquitted.

Officer Simmons had given up a life of farming to become a prohibition officer after his son was given illegal liquor by moonshiners.


  • Age 41
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Sentenced to life


Most Recent Reflection

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Grandpa: ninety years ago today my father, your eldest son Earl, named me in your honor. Even though you were murdered three years before I was born, you were the patriarch of the Simmons clan – much present in family stories and reminiscences as I grew up, many of which recounted your experiences as a prohibition agent and lawman. One of those, whose veracity I cannot vouch for, was that you became a prohibition agent because moonshiners had given Earl moonshine and gotten him drunk. It is indeed an honor to be your namesake.
May you and grandma rest in peace.

Gustavus James Simmons
27 October 2020

Gustavus James Simmons

October 27, 2020

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