MOONSHINE, MADNESS AND THE ECONOMY - Flashbacks To Prohibition Years

(02/27/2017)

By Bob Weaver

It was moonshine and madness during America's great experiment with the prohibition of alcohol, encouraging many of our family members and neighbors to rearrange their economy by manufacturing and selling moonshine.

Hence comes the Little Creek Speakeasy, a small wooden shack at the mouth of the first hollow above Creston and the Wirt-Calhoun line.

It was erected for the distribution of spirits to the general public, and said to be under the direction of one Roy Bell. It was the rip-roaring "twenties." Customers came for miles around, including many a stopover consumer from the prosperous river village of Creston.

Some said the local physician, Dr. D. S. Stewart obtained the local elixir and re-bottled the product to make it legally available to customers and clients in Creston - by "prescription." Dr. Stewart was a Burning Springs physician, but moved up stream to Creston after the oil boom faded.

"If you saw someone wandering around Creston with a big pair of gum boots, you could almost be certain that there would be some bottles stuck down in them," according to 81-year-old Edgar Cooper of present day Creston.

Edgar remembers the day when word spread that federal agents were a'comin' to raid the speakeasy, he being a small child. "Hunter Pell, who lived up in Creston, came to my dad's house (Sam Cooper) and we walked around the hill and set up a telescope which he brought to see what was going on. The agents brought out the booze and poured it in the creek."

Cort Cunningham in front Joe Webb in doorway
How many pistols can you count?

Dolly Schrader, who furnished us with this wonderful speakeasy picture of her father, Cort Cunningham and his cousin, Joe Webb, told about her father-in-law, Harry Schrader going down Little Creek to the speakeasy and getting into a racket with some men, nearly "whipping them all" until they shot a bullet across his scalp. We could not determined the longevity of the speakeasy, nor what happened to Roy Bell.

All over Calhoun County there were moonshiners, and many of them got arrested and sent to jail, mostly those off the West Fork who did not have the luxury of selling the product to the "boys in Grantsville." Around the Hur area, my neighbors and relatives, the Riggs, Stallmans and Millers made the best product and sold it to keep their families together.

Not long ago I fell into a hole off Joker Ridge once occupied by a mash barrel. - BOB WEAVER - 1996


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