Waterville Historical Society

your connection to the past

The Waterville Historical Society collects, preserves, provides access to, interprets and fosters an appreciation of history that has an impact on the Waterville, Ohio and surrounding area.

Waterville's Miss Fisher

If you ever followed the “Miss Fisher” detective series on P.B.S. you may be interested to know that Waterville had its own real life pretty young female sleuth in the 1920s. This young lady, Dorothy Hattersley, was living in Waterville with her parents Charles Edward and Edith Hattersley and at age 20 was sworn in as a constable by Waterville Justice of the Peace Clifford Ballou. Unlike most of her peers this young lady was seeking excitement, adventure and a little danger to spice up her life. Her mission was to seek out and arrest boot-leggers selling illegal liquor and to find illegal “stills” making the same. Those men tending the stills were arrested and the equipment destroyed. She seemed to be very good at her job according to the newspaper reports we have found. Her most famous escapade just a month or two after her appointment was reported in several Toledo newspapers.

It seems that on Friday November 24, 1922 Miss Hattersley and a male deputy entered a house at 426 Twelfth Street in Toledo which was known to be a distributer of illegal whiskey. They purchased a pint of whiskey from three male occupants of the house and immediately produced a warrant for their arrest. In spite of our heroine being armed with two guns, a struggle ensued for possession of the evidence in which Miss Hattersley was roughed up a bit but she made it out of the house, hid the bottle and called the Toledo police. The three were arrested and charged with illegal sales. Some adventure for a 20 year old female who told reporters, ”this is the most fun I have had since becoming a deputy marshal.” A few months later the February 24, 1923 edition of the Sandusky Star Journal ran a large (and likely glamorized) photo and article about Dorothy Hattersley proclaiming her “Ohio’s Prettiest Booze Sleuth,” describing her as a nemesis of “hooch” makers. The article talks of many stills that were seized as a result of her operations.

Dorothy’s later life was just a turbulent as her young beginning, but that would be another story. All of the Hattersley papers are stored in the Wakeman Archives and may be viewed by the public.

P.O. Box 263,  Waterville, OH  43566            whs43566@outlook.com

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