This page is a text version of the History of Portage la Praire and Surrounding District. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

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John Costigan is pictured on the left, and Cyprian Costigan (nicknamed "Chippy" by his friends) is shown at right.


Back in the late 1870s and early 1880s, which was long before prohibition, and naturally long before there was any such thing as a Government Liquor Control Commission, liquor and wine merchants did an honorable and profitable business.

Prices were reasonable as an old invoice made out to T. A. New­ man & Bro. shows:

Rye, 70 cents per gallon; Rye Special, $1.30 per gallon; P. Spirit, 65 Op. $1.44 per gallon. etc., etc.

There was no such thing as a bootlegger in those days!

Most country people, who lived where chokecherries or dandelions grew profusely, made their own wines; rhubarb that was left after a taste for relish or pie had subsided, was used for the same purpose. Many an old-timer has said it was even strong enough to get "tiddly" on!

Brandy was kept on hand for weak spells, gin was good for the kidneys, rum was used with honey and hot water for bad colds and Christmas wasn't Christmas without little glasses of wine to go with the cake.