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Hernando County

Sheriff Neil Law, One Tough Dude

From Old Brooksville in Photos and Stories

January 2004 Vol 68
Publisher: Bob Martinez
Used with Permission

Between 1932 and 1949, Sheriff Neil Law ran a tight ship. It was also one of the most violent eras in Hernando County. Even after prohibition was lifted in 1933, Hernando County was a magnet for bootleggers and illegal whiskey. His dad, Neil Law Jr., recalls, "There were Canadian vessels docked near Bayport. He knew they were there to smuggle whiskey in. Men would meet downtown with whiskey, guns and bad tempers. A dead body would turn up usually every weekend."

One day Law met up with famed Tampa gangster and bootlegger, Charley Wall and told him, "You're through in Hernando County. We want you out of here." Wallnever worked inside of Hernando County for fear of Sheriff Law. By the mid forties the violence had been calmed.