Bootleggers, Moonshiners, And Prohibition

Discussion in 'History & Geography' started by Nancy Hart, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    I'm amazed at the tricks bootleggers used to smuggle booze during Prohibition. It almost seems like a game with some of them.

    "Does this outfit make my thighs look too big?". :(

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    Booze hidden inside hog carcasses. :rolleyes:

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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Millinocket has a section of town known as Little Italy, as the paper mill hired a bunch of Italians to build the mill buildings, keeping them on to work in the mills.

    A friend of mine, who is Italian, and has relatives in Little Italy, told me that there is a system of tunnels connecting several of the houses in Little Italy. They have been blocked off now, and he said that new owners probably don't even know that they are there, but they were used to store and to move wine from one place to another during prohibition. In effect, they were secret wine cellars that connected from one house to another.
     
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  3. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    Tunnel used to transport alcohol between buildings discovered during a Prohibition raid in Detroit.

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  4. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    Many of the old bootlegger tricks are now used to transport drugs. Old Joe Kennedy made most of his seed money smuggling whiskey from Britain to the U.S. while he was Ambassador to the Court of Saint James. He would send large shipments under diplomatic seal so they couldn't be search by Customs or law enforcement.
     
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  5. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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  6. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Veteran Member
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    We had a shirttail relative that made moonshine with his brothers when they were still teenagers. They had a still in an old barn that could only be reached by an old logging trail on the farm where they worked or on foot from the main road. The still went undetected until the sheriff noticed that in the winter it was the only barn in the area with no snow on the roof. The sheriff notified the feds and a raid was scheduled but by the time they reached the old barn the still was gone and the barn was full of young beef cattle.

    They used to put the moonshine in maple syrup cans similar to the one below and take it by the truckload to relatives in Pennsylvania that distributed it to small working man's hotels. They always kept a few cans of real maple syrup on the back of the truck in case they were stopped.

    They used the money they made to eventually buy the farm and start other legitimate businesses.

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  7. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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  8. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Veteran Member
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    I grew up in the far suburbs of a large midwestern city. Our elderly neighbor, who had been a fighter pilot in WWI, used to tell us stories about how he flew booze during prohibition from Canada, landing in the empty field behind our houses. He would buzz the house of his partner, who would then drive over and illuminate the field with his headlights, such as they were. He'd land, his partner would unload the booze and drive off and he'd take off before the cops got there. Now, like a lot of his stories, this had to be taken with a grain of salt but it was great listening.

    A few years ago, we spent the summer up a mountain near Maggie Valley, where we stayed near the North Carolina house of "Popcorn" Sutton, one of the latter-day legends of moonshine bootlegging. Popcorn, when finally faced with prison, committed suicide in 2009 rather than serve time. We talked with several people who knew him well and they had some interesting tales to tell.
     
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  9. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    In 2010, Hank Williams Jr. announced his partnership with J&M Concepts, and widow Pam Sutton, to distill and distribute a brand of whiskey named after Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, that was asserted to follow his legacy. :rolleyes:

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  10. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Veteran Member
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  11. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Veteran Member
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    This is a 1924 police picture of one of a pair of "cow shoes" worn by a moonshiner to disguise his shoeprints in the area of his still. Pretty smart.
     

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  12. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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  13. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Veteran Member
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    Then there was Bathtub Gin...

    Hal
     
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  14. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Supreme Member
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    You can still buy good moonshine if you have the right connections.
     
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  15. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Veteran Member
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    During Prohibition, you could still go to Dr. Feelgood and get a prescription for alcohol.

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