Jack E. Kenford

Image of Special Agent Jack Elmer Kenford
Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 
June 14, 1932
Location of Death: 
Prairie du Chien, MN
Image of the Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms badge

Circumstances of Death

Prohibition Agents Jack Elmer Kenford and Elmer T. Geittmann, accompanied by a confidential informant (CI), confiscated a still in Prairie du Chien, MN.  The still had been concealed in a "dugout," about 30' above the bottom of a ravine and measured 18' x 14'.  The moonshiners had even built a porch and roof over the entrance.  No still hands were present during the seizure.  As the agents began dismantling the still and preparing to destroy the equipment, the boiler exploded.  Because the still was located inside the "dugout" the full force of the blast was directed towards the front opening, where Agent Kenford was standing.  He received the full, direct blast and was severely burned over his entire upper body.  Agent Geittmann and the CI were also injured.

Agent Geittmann extinguished the flames on Agent Kenford and took him back to the Government car.  He then returned to the scene and evacuated the CI.  When he returned to the Government car, Agent Kenford was gone.  It was later determined that in his confused state, Agent Kenford had walked a mile to the highway where he flagged down a passing motorist who drove him to the hospital.  Agent Geittmann took the CI to that same hospital.  Agent Kenford died the following morning from his injuries.  Agent Geittmann remained in the hospital for two days and recovered; while the CI was discharged after one week.


Agent Kenford joined the Bureau of Prohibition on July 1, 1931.  He carried badge #3100.


Agent Kenford was born in Racine, WI.  He was survived by his wife, Alice.

Associated Artifacts: 
Image of newspaper article from The Sheboggan Press, dated June 14, 1932, with headline: Federal Dry Officer Killed by Explosion
Image of newspaper article from Ironwood Daily Globe, dated June 13, 1932, with headline: Arrests Expected in Death of Dry Agent
Image of telegram regarding death of Agent Jack Kenford
Image of hospital bill from Prairie Du Chien Sanitarium, Co., for Jack Kenford
Last Reviewed September 23, 2016