By James C. Haught


Shortly after I was born, the United States Congress passed an amendment to the constitution repealing the Volstead Act. It had not been legal to produce, sell and consume alcohol in the United States.

A few moonshiners still produced some whiskey mainly for their own consumption.

We lived on Mt. Zion Ridge. Many weekends we visited my material grandparents, James and Lydia Hoskins on Spring Run. These were wonderful, carefree days. I could play, roam the hills and hollows with my cousin, Bob Moneypenny.

"Little pitchers have big ears," so the saying goes.

My father, Horace Haught and my grandfather, Jim Hoskins were talking and the subject got around to moonshining. My father asked if so-in-so made moonshine. Pap said, "Yes, he did. He made it in a small place over in Sumpter Hollow."

Sumpter Hollow paralleled Spring Run to the east. In those days a great deal of the land was cleared for farming. This was true for both Spring Run and Sumpter.

My cousin and I were up for adventure.

We crossed the hill at a low gap and walked up the hollow about a half mile. Sure enough there was a small shelter cave. It was dark inside, but on a rock ledge were several quart jars. We checked them but they were all empty. There would be no chance for two boys to drink a little moonshine.

About that time we heard a noise outside the cave. My cousin, Bob, who always seemed afraid, suddenly shot out of the cave like a dog with a full dose of hokey-pokey.

I had no idea what to do. Each hair on the my neck stood straight out. I could have measured my heart beat by the pulse on my neck, but I couldn't count that fast. I did have a little time to think before I died.

I decided to face the music. I mustered as much courage as I could. If I was going to die, I wanted to do it bravely.

I calmly walked out of the cave. There standing before me was a Hereford cow. I calmly walked home.

Bob had been home for some time. He had got a group of men consisting of my dad, my grandfather, my uncles Buster Hoskins and Clay Moneypenny and neighbor, Clark Stalnaker to come for my rescue.

My grandfather, James A. Hoskins, said that no sooner had the prohibition law gone into effect when men around Arnoldsburg began making "really bad" moonshine.

He said Homer Norman from over on Beech came into Arnoldsburg one day and met with Worth Cottrell who was living on Anthony Run at that time.

Homer walked up to Worth and took out a bottle of moonshine and offered Worth a drink. When Worth said he didn't care for any Homer pull out a big pistol and said, "I said take a drink."

Worth took the bottle and took a big swallow. Homer then handed Worth the pistol and said "Now, you make me take a drink."

We had some wonderful and exciting times in Calhoun County.

It was a great place to program ones life.