|By Bob Weaver|
It was moonshine and madness during America's great experiment with
the prohibition of alcohol, encouraging
many of our family members and neighbors to rearrange their economy by
manufacturing and selling moonshine.
Hence comes the Little Creek Speakeasy, a small wooden shack at the
mouth of the first hollow above Creston
and the Wirt-Calhoun line.
It was erected for the distribution of
spirits to the general public, and said to be under
the direction of one Roy Bell. It was the rip-roaring "twenties."
Customers came for miles around, including many
a stopover consumer from the prosperous river village of Creston.
Some said the local physician, Dr. D. S. Stewart
obtained the local elixir and re-bottled the product to make it
legally available to customers and clients in Creston -
by "prescription." Dr. Stewart was a Burning Springs physician, but
moved up stream to Creston after the oil boom
"If you saw someone wandering around Creston with a big pair of gum
boots, you could almost be certain
that there would be some bottles stuck down in them," according to
81-year-old Edgar Cooper of present day
Edgar remembers the day when word spread that federal
agents were a'comin' to raid the speakeasy, he
being a small child. "Hunter Pell, who lived up in Creston, came to my
dad's house (Sam Cooper) and we walked
around the hill and set up a telescope which he brought to see what
was going on. The agents brought out the booze
and poured it in the creek."
Cort Cunningham in front Joe Webb in doorway
How many pistols can you count?
Dolly Schrader, who furnished us with this wonderful speakeasy picture
of her father, Cort Cunningham and his
cousin, Joe Webb, told about her father-in-law, Harry Schrader going
down Little Creek to the speakeasy and
getting into a racket with some men, nearly "whipping them all" until
they shot a bullet across his scalp. We could
not determined the longevity of the speakeasy, nor what happened to
All over Calhoun County there
were moonshiners, and many of them got arrested and sent to jail,
mostly those off the West Fork who did not have
the luxury of selling the product to the "boys in Grantsville."
Around the Hur area, my neighbors and relatives,
the Riggs, Stallmans and Millers made the best product and sold it to
keep their families together.
Not long ago I
fell into a hole off Joker Ridge once occupied by a mash barrel. -
BOB WEAVER - 1996