The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
By MORRIS STEPHENSON -
Saturday I was a part of the ninth annual Black History Celebration at Walmart, along with friend and author Shea Lemone of Ferrum.
While standing there waiting my turn on the program, I suddenly had an idea to go along with tentative plans for a second book. In addition to seeking true family stories relating to the county's moonshine history, I am very interested in stories from my friends in the black community. I know a lot of blacks were involved in the profession in one way or the other.
Just last week, a black lady came in and told me about how her husband would buy moonshine in half-gallon jars and then "pint if out" for $5 a bottle. When he wasn't home, the woman said, she would sell it to his customers. "I sold a pint for $5 but then sold someone a quart for a couple of dollars more," she said. "Then someone complained to my husband that some people were buying it cheaper." Her husband set her straight that a quart sold for $10.
I have gotten responses to my request for moonshine stories but it hasn't been as great as I expected. So I'm again asking residents with stories to give me a call. Also I'm looking for old pictures of family members working at a moonshine still. People have brought by several of those and they are really interesting.
Again, my cell number is 420-2499, and my office is in Bill Greer's computer building on North Main adjacent to Fisher Auto Parts.
Bedford Moonshine Program - As everyone is now saying, moonshine is a hot topic and it's growing to cover the entire United States of America, thanks to the Discovery Channel and Tim Smith of Climax and his friend "Tickle." They've become household names, despite the fact that the "reality" moonshine shows are as far from being reality as anything on the airways these days.
I've known Tim and his late father for a number of years. They were the ones who birthed the moonshine jamboree at Climax that died out a couple of years ago, apparently from the lack of support. The father-son duo wasn't making money and the event died from lack of interest...simple as that.
Of course the movie "Lawless," based on Matt Bondurant's book "The Wettest County in the World," also spurred the nation's interest in moonshining.
For some time, the Bedford County Museum and Genealogical library has been featuring programs of interest about moonshining. Amy Wilson, who I met several years ago, informed me that a moonshine panel discussion is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 2. It will be held on the Bedford campus of Central Valley Community College and feature three retired agents, including John Wright and Buddy Driscoll, who I know well, along with John McCullough. I'm not sure if our paths ever crossed, but I think they did.
Common Ground also will be performing the music, including moonshine songs. There also will be a 1939 Ford on display that once hauled white lightning, as well as artifacts used in the profession. An 88-year-old moonshiner, unnamed, also will be on the program. The cost is $8 per person. For more info, call the museum at 540-586-4220.
And speaking of moonshine programs, you can mark your calendar now for the Franklin County Historical Society's annual "Moonshine Express" set Sundays, April 21 and 28. Advance tickets are on sale at $14 per seat and the number to call is 483-1890.