"Sometimes the highway patrol comes up the valley, but nobody is worried to see men with badges."The story has long been told and is known by all the locals:
One fall morning, the revenuers and some deputies for the local Sherriff came to bust up the still for the Richardsons and Ensors. They pulled up in their cars at the Grindstaff store at the base of Hurley Hollow at Sadie, Tennessee. Knee-deep in the Great Depression, most of the locals were toiling in the fields and apparently paid them little mind.
The old men who always seemed to hang around the store watched in silence until their rifles and shotguns came out of the trunks of their cars. The old men started snickering and immediately knew what was going to happen.
"I wouldn't go up there looking for those boys," the men with badges were warned, "They's all gone across the water." The old men, of course, were referring to the Great War in France. They had all served in the trenches and the locals knew that those lessons had not gone unheeded.
The rifles and shotguns were loaded in silence, and off the men with the oversized badges went, up into the hills.
Over an hour passed and the old men suddenly heard the staccato echoes of rifle fire. Lot of it. As quickly as it started, it ceased.
An hour after that, the men with the badges came back, all limping and all injured in some way. The old men noticed that none had serious wounds, which they all immediately agreed was intentional. Those boys up in the hollow had learned where to shoot someone without killing them as they'd had plenty of experience against Germans in the trenches of France just over a dozen years before.
That was just over a decade ago. the moonshine stills are mostly quiet now. You can't get the 'fixings' for them now with wartime rationing on. All the young men are off across the water again, this time for a war across both oceans. Once that gets straightened out, the old men sitting in front of Grindstaff store declare, they'll be right back at it.
The law hasn't come up here looking for moonshine stills since that day they tangled with those Great War veterans. Sometimes the highway patrol comes up the valley, but nobody is worried to see men with badges. Everyone assumes they'll get right back at it once this current war is over.
I am aware of that, but during WW2, moonshining along Stoney Creek came to an utter halt in the area. Nobody could get the stuff they need to make 'shine, and most of the able-bodied men were either 'across the water' or working in the twin rayon mills in Elizabethton."Sometimes the highway patrol comes up the valley, but nobody is worried to see men with badges."
The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) in those days was heavily involved in the illicit liquor business. To the extent that they might be interested in the moonshiners at all, it was as possible competitors, not looking for them as lawbreakers.