The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Custom

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1983-2012

Issue: November, 1983

There is a story that is told about a man from Franklin County. Many years ago he supposedly set up a still and operated a thriving business. It didn’t take the revenuers long to get wind of it and they decided to catch him in the act.

One morning, this gentleman finished his morning chores and headed for his still. Sure enough, there were the government agents and he was arrested.

When he was sent to trial at Roanoke, the proceedings went something like this:

The prosecuting attorney asks him if he was at the still on the certain date he was arrested. He replied, “Yes sir. I heard somebody set one up on my land and I was going to try to find them and tell them to take it down.”

The prosecuting attorney then asked, “Did you not walk up to the still and take your coat off and hang it on a limb?” “Yes sir. It was a hot day.”

Then the prosecuting attorney then asked, “Did you not sit down right on a box of illegal whiskey?” The man said, “Yes sir. I was tired from the long walk.”

The prosecuting attorney then had a gleam in his eye because he knew he had the man on his next question, “Tell us, if you are innocent, why did you run when we tried to arrest you?”

The man calmly replied, “Why sir, that is simply an old Franklin County custom.”