Tag Archives: moonshining

Al Capone comes to Appalachia

Did Chicago mobster Al Capone ever set foot in Johnson City, TN? During the 1920s the town was nicknamed Little Chicago. A reference acknowledging crime ties to the north? Or nothing more than an expression of local pride in the railroads, three of which ran through town? Big Chicago was known as a railroad center […]


Revenuers or spies

Kephart: “People up North, and in the lowlands of the South as well, have a notion that there is little or nothing going on in these mountains except feuds and moonshining. They think that a stranger traveling here alone is in danger of being potted by a bullet from almost any laurel thicket that he […]


Popcorn Sutton: The Last Moonshiner

The following article ran May 22 on the Twisted South site. It is re-posted here with permission.   Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton was a living legend. The day he committed suicide, he launched himself into the pages of American lore. Since his death he’s become the Paul Bunyan of moonshine. Both men had impressive beards and […]


The bootleg capital of Ohio

New Straitsville, OH was considered the Bootleg Capital of Ohio during the Depression. Its population of enterprising ex-coalminers concealed dozens of illegal moonshine stills in the area’s hollows and abandoned mineshafts, selling it to a nation desperate for a stiff drink. Today, New Straitsville’s bootlegging tradition is honored with an annual Memorial Day weekend Moonshine […]


Appalachian Moonshine – In the Pale Moonlight

Many try to get away from the Hollywood stereotype of the moonshiner, a backwoods hooligan forever existing for most of Appalachia. To some extent that was true. It was not everyone’s story to be a part of the illegal whiskey making tradition in Appalachia, but it was a valid part of a long history in our mountains.

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