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Posts tagged ‘moonshiner’


Join us in the 2019 A to Z Blog Challenge as we celebrate historical fiction. These posts will also be shared in the weekly newsletter, Pages of the Past, which debuted April 5th.



gma_gpa2.jpgMoonshine has become a romanticized part of our Jones family history. Papa Goss, my great-father, was the moonshiner in the Arkansas Ozarks, in Myrtle, outside of Harrison. Casey Jones, my grandfather, was the ‘runner’, driving down to pick up a trunk load of moonshine and running it back to Chillicothe, Missouri. During these trips down south, Casey met the moonshiner’s daughter, Beatrice Goss.  In 1935 they married, and the rest as they say, is history.

But Grandma, even though she was the moonshiner’s daughter, was not fond of that part of her family history. She also wasn’t fond of Grandpa’s use of the ‘shine’. It was many years, several children, and many, many arguments later – but Grandma’s stubborn streak prevailed and alcohol was no longer part of our family history. By the time I arrived, alcohol never passed Grandpa’s lips and he was an active and faithful deacon of the stone church on Glendora Avenue.

But yet, many of us grandchildren find that we have a soft spot in our hearts for the moonshine part of our family’s past. After all, it is how Grandpa and Grandma met.

If you’re writing a story set during Prohibition, or even in the post-Depression years after Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the illicit part of alcohol – moonshine and speakeasies – may be part of your character’s lives. There’s a whole culture around moonshining. Here are a few fun sites that can give you a peek into what times were like for them.







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Fat and Sassy: The Holler

Tuesday TalesIt’s Tuesday Tales! This week we’re writing to a picture prompt.

This week I’m writing a snippet from a new WIP, FAT & SASSY. This will be my NANO project, so the next few weeks will center on this story.

Fat and Sassy: Bea was the daughter of a ‘shiner in Arkansas. Casey was the charming young man from Missouri who ran the shine up to Missouri – or Misery as many called it. Several children and years later, life did not hold the same promise. Money was next to non-existent. But four young children, with another almost due, liked to eat. And needed clothes. After a trip to California looking for work, the family finds themselves back in Arkansas, staying with Papa, while Casey looks for another job.



TT_fall sceneBea dropped the water pails on the ground with a clang. “Casey Jones, get that thought out of your mind right now!”

Casey jumped, his reverie interrupted. His look was pensive. He stood staring at the hollow at the rear of the property. He was not admiring the fall effects of the foliage beginning its ascent, turning from green to yellow, on the path to eventual reds and oranges. “I was just thinkin’.”

His wife knew better. “You’re not going back to runnin’ shine again. You stay out a’ that holler.”

“We need the money.”

“We don’t need the money that bad. Daddy may still be cookin’ his mash. I don’t have any say over that old man. I do have a say over what you do. You’re a father now. You’ll find work. It will be honest, respectable work. Now, git these pails down to the spring and bring us back some water if you want some supper.”

Casey bent to pick up the buckets and headed down the path.

Bea added to his back, “Stay away from that still on the way!”

His head lowered, Casey ambled away, his frail frame looking defeated. There wasn’t the spring in his step that he had when he met Bea on this land four and a half children ago. Lost jobs, moves across the country looking for work, and more mouths to feed kept him discouraged and weary. Bea didn’t notice that the spring was missing from his steps. She had her own demons to fight. Usually it was she on her way to the spring. In between she kept up the laundry, did the cooking, and watched the children. The Depression was officially over. The reality was that most of the country still suffered.

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