Posted By Bill Payer on Feb 16, 2021 | 0 comments

If you weren’t able to join us for tonight’s (2/16/2021) Zoom meeting, Moonshine Prohibition in the Lowcountry, you missed a fascinating presentation by archaeologist Katherine Parker.

Among the many highlights breakdown of who were the moonshiners.  Turns out it transcends social class, ethnicity, and geography. The cliché is Appalachian rednecks, but it had a big role here in the Lowcountry.   The common threads…the desire for alcohol and the increasing money to be made as government tried to tax alcohol production and sales.

Parker’s research centers on the Francis Marion National Forest.  Why was illegal booze big there?  Again, money paid a big part.  The forest was crisscrossed by rail spurs built to service the timber industry but also conveniently located to ship moonshine.   Seems Al Capone was heavily invested in railroads ????.

Berkeley County during the early 20th century was a hotbed of moonshining action…to the point where it was known as “Bloody Berkeley”.  Two local families, the Villeponteaux and the McKnights fought to control the local moonshine scene with various local officials and politicians frequently taking sides (and a slice of the profit) See the 1926 newspaper clipping below.

Parker’s research is getting international attention…as witnessed by this hours old article in Britain’s Daily Mail    CLICK HERE

If you missed this session (via Zoom), here’s a link to the video via YouTube…. CLICK HERE

And here are the stills used in Katherine Parker’s presentation: CLICK HERE

To learn more about Katherine Parker CLICK HERE

The following is a newspaper clipping from the Gaffney Ledger re the shooting of Ben Villeponteaux and two others.

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