For as far back as I can remember, there have been tales of how the Kennedy clan of Massachusetts amassed enormous wealth trading in illicit liquor during Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933.

The Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, was allegedly paid for with money made through illegal bootlegging – but are the stories true, or are they larger-than-life legends?

David Roos writes for that Kennedy patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy, in fact, "amassed great wealth partly by selling alcohol, but he also made savvy deals and sales that became extremely lucrative."

The Kennedy's Of Massachusetts And Underworld Bootlegging
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"As it turns out, one of the greatest American political dynasties of the 20th century was funded only in part by alcohol," Roos wrote.

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According to the book The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by biographer David Nasaw, only some of what you have heard is true.

"I tracked down every rumor I could find, and none of them panned out," Nasaw wrote.

According to Nasaw's book, rumors of Kennedy's bootlegging ties only surfaced in the late 1960s and 1970s "when conspiracy theorists were looking for reasons why the mafia might have played a role in the assassination of JFK."

The Kennedy's Of Massachusetts And Underworld Bootlegging
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JFK (John Fitzgerald Kennedy) was elected president in 1960 and assassinated in 1963. He was one of nine children of Joseph P. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Nasaw wrote that Richard M. Nixon, who lost to Kennedy in 1960, hired opposition researchers to investigate the Kennedy family during the election.

"They found all sorts of dirt on Joe Kennedy, but not that he was a bootlegger," he wrote.

Kennedy served as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and was U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

$55M Summer Estate of Massachusetts' Own Jackie Kennedy Up for Sale

121 Further Lane, East Hampton, New York listed by Eileen O’Neill of Corcoran and Ed Petrie of Compass

Gallery Credit: Jolana Miller

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