William Varney was an influential Prohibitionist in New York. In addition to being the national Prohibition Party candidate for President in 1928, he ran for various New York offices on the Law Preservation Party ticket.
-- Gammon, 2007, p. 106
The Long Island Press published this feature article about Varney on the occasion of his 50th wedding anniversary (reprinted in the National Prohibitionist, Nov-Dec 1955, p. 2):
Prohibition -- that "noble experiment" of the Roaring Twenties -- is heading for a come-back.
So says its foremost champion -- William F. Varney of Rockville Center -- Prohibition Party candidate for President in 1928.
The "noble experiment" failed, according to Varney, only because it "lacked honest enforcement."
"You can have the best law in the land -- but if you do not have a major party that's committed to enforce it to the hilt -- it's foredoomed to failure," he declared.
Varney made the nominating speech for Enoch Holtwick, of Illinois, the Prohibition Party's 1956 presidential candidate. The convention was held at Milford, Indiana.
"I'll help in any way I can the coming campaign too" he promises. Varney, now a robust 71, has mellowed in the years since 1928 when he stumped the country expounding the horrors of strong drink. But his attitude and thinking haven't changed one bit.
Tall and erect, Varney lives with his wife, Leonia, at 143 Grand Avenue.
Varney learned the
ABC of politics in a seven-year career as field secretary with the New Jersey Prohibition Committee in 1924. Four years later he was named the party's candidate for President, opposing Al Smith and Herbert Hoover.
He polled comparatively few votes, but he was resigned to it. "We never expected to win, of course. Our main idea was to educate the American people to the social and economic ruin resulting from alcohol."
In 1933, Varney missed being elected mayor of Rockville Centre by a few votes. "Prohibition will come back -- it has to come back -- with the aid of conscientious people," he says.
Although he has been suffering from diabetes for the past 25 years, he refuses to take insulin, even though it was prescribed by his doctor.
"The way I see it," he says, "liquor or any strong drug will eventually break down some body organs. I have diabetes and I'm 71 years old, yet I bowl and go row boating. These are some pretty strenuous activities."
Varneys celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last August 31. Toasting them -- with water -- at a golden wedding celebration -- were their son, William F. Varney, Jr., a Rockville Centre attorney, and two daughters, Mrs. W. Everrett Mott, of East Rockaway, and Mrs. Austin Schupp, of Oceanside.