No. 635
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 2, 2023

Illicit Distilleries.

North Carolina - An Illicit Whiskey Still in the Mountains Surprised by Revenue Officers.
February 25, 2014
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Soapy Smith in Leadville, ColoradoJuly 21, 1880Soapy and partner, rear, between carriagesCourtesy Kyle Rosene collection(Click image to enlarge) Soapy Smith's stereo-view photographLeadville, Colorado, July 21, 1880Where was it taken?WHERE IN LEADVILLE WAS THIS TAKEN?(Click image to enlarge)     Those who have read Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel may
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An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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The morning of February 5, 1895, Dr. John E Rader was found murdered in the house of Mrs. Catherine McQuinn in Jackson, Kentucky. Catherine told police they were drinking whiskey with her paramour Tom Smith and when Tom passed out, Dr. Rader assaulted her. She shot him in self-defense. Catherine could have committed the murder; she was a rough, course woman with a bad reputation. But the
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Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Her Striped Stockings. | A Pointer.

Illicit Distilleries.

Illicit Distilleries

North Carolina—An Illicit Whiskey Still in the Mountains Surprised by Revenue Officers.

The most serious opposition to the enforcement of the internal revenue laws has always come from the illicit distillers in the mountain region of the South. These hardy people live so far from any market, that it would not pay to attempt to sell their surplus corn, and they have always been accustomed, like their fathers and grandfathers before them, to distill their little store of home-made liquor every year in the rudest sort of stills. Generations of uninterrupted enjoyment of this privilege had led them to consider it as an inalienable right, and they were thunderstruck when they learned the Federal Government had outlawed their homely industry. They could not be made to believe that the Government possessed any such right to interfere with them, and they regarded the officers who attempted to enforce the law as tyrants, whom it was right to kill, if necessary, to stop their operations. Rude and ignorant people, it was difficult to reason with them, and for years a bitter warfare raged between the mountaineers and the revenue officers. Ambuscades were laid, pitched battles were fought, and the list of killed and wounded grew shockingly long. By degrees, the Government gained some advantage, and of late there has been great improvement. A large proportion of the illicit distilling has been suppressed, but the blockaded whiskey-still is yet to be found in many a retired spot of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee. The illustration…gives an excellent idea of one of these improvised distilleries in active operation, with the revenue officers executing a surprise.


Reprinted from "Illicit Distilleries." Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper 1 Sep 1883: 21.