James C. Capen

Image of Prohibition Agent James Capen
Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 
May 11, 1928
Location of Death: 
Cumberland, WY
Image of the Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms badge

Circumstances of Death

Prohibition Agents James Capen and Percy Epperson searched a ranch owned by Mike Soytik near Cumberland, WY.  The agents located and destroyed a still hidden on Little Muddy Creek, and arrested Soytik.  As Soytik picked up his coat and hat, he grabbed a rifle and began firing, seriously wounding Agent Capen.  Agent Epperson returned fire, striking Soytik six times.  Agent Epperson then placed both wounded men in his Government vehicle and drove to a hospital in Kemmerer, WY.  Agent Capen and Soytik both died while being carried into the hospital.


Agent Capen joined the Prohibition Unit on January 1, 1924, with an annual salary of $1,800.


Agent Capen was born in Michigan.  He is buried in Rock Springs, WY.

Associated Artifacts: 
Image of a newspaper article, dated May 16, 1928, titled Federal Prohibition Agent Killed by a Moonshiner
Image of the Wyoming State Tribune newspaper article, dated December 9, 1928, titled Two Slain in Wyoming.
Last Reviewed October 1, 2015