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Excerpt: A revenuer remembers a busy year

    "In 1904, I had to arrest a woman, Ella Pittman, for the illegal sale of moonshine whiskey at a Baptist camp meeting.  This was in Raleigh County, and I also found the still where it was being manufactured.  She had a partner, S. T. Willis, and they were taken before United States Commissioner Rollinson at Falling Spring and after examination committed to jail to await prosecution...
    "Also in 1904, I had to arrest Postmaster McCormick at Shady Springs on a charge of selling liquor illegally.  The accused was taken before United States Commissioner Hugh A. Dunn of Beckley and will answer to the federal grand jury at the next term of court in Charleston.
    "The oldest moonshiner in the state of West Virginia, or perhaps in the Union, is Wiley Hall.  He is now serving a sentence in the Raleigh County jail at Beckley.  Judge Keller refused to send him to the penitentiary on account of his age.  Next April, he will be 83 years old.  He began making white lightning, as he calls it, in 1839 in Patrick County, Virginia.  Hall came to West Virginia in 1870 and has run moonshine stills in Mercer, Raleigh, Wyoming and Summers counties.  He has been a dangerous man in his time, but of late years has preferred to retire into the brush rather than face the revenue officers...
    "Hall is a confirmed blockader and will likely die in the business...  He has raised a large family and most of all of them are moonshiners, as are many of his relatives, some of them pretending to be preachers."

Source: Deputy U.S. Marshal Dan Cunningham, 1904.


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