The ‘Pussyfoot’ behind Prohibition in northern MN

Students of Iron Range history might have heard the name William E. “Pussyfoot” Johnson. In addition to holding a fantastically literary name, Johnson holds significance in northern Minnesota history. After all, he was the man who famously brought prohibition to the Iron Range, a place that vehemently, violently didn’t want it. The Hibbing Tribune editorial page eviscerated him constantly for several years. Johnson didn’t like Hibbing either, calling it the “worst-governed community in America.”

You should know that this is what he looked like:

William E. “Pussyfoot” Johnson, WikiCommons, via Zenith City Online

Tony Dierckens wrote a fine post over at Zenith City Online about Johnson’s prohibition efforts in Duluth and the iron ranges of northern Minnesota.

To answer your question, he was called “Pussyfoot” because of his ability to track bootleggers through the woods without detection. Yes, that guy in the picture.

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