No. 464
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
March 31, 2020

Illicit Distilleries.

February 25, 2014
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Theodore Dreiser‘s classic novel An American Tragedy was inspired by an infamous 1906 murder whose author, Chester Gillette, was electrocuted at Auburn Prison on this date in 1908. It was a crime tailor-made for the burgeoning mass media, popular and pretty 20-year-old Grace Brown gone to work at the Cortland, N.Y. Gillette Skirt Factory where […]
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Executed Today - 3/30/2020

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Accounts of haunted dwellings tend to be pretty bog-standard stuff. Spectral figures drifting over the lawn, mysterious rappings at night. Murder victims unable to find peace, or villains with guilty consciences that won’t allow them to rest. To be honest, when you’ve read enough of them, real-life ghost stories can get pretty dull. For that reason, when you come across one that combines
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Strange Company - 3/30/2020
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
Mixed Drinks for Six. | Nature versus Art.

Illicit Distilleries.

Illicit Distilleries

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

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 hear 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 or 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.