The tradition has always held that this Big Still was the property of the Big Boss of the Moonshiners.
It is a relic of the old days some forty or fifty years ago when it was not a crime to make your own liquor. The owner of this still has always watched it mighty close. It has been jealously guarded from the officers, so jealously guarded in fact that very, very few men have ever been able to see it.
When the cowardly murder of the Montgomery Boys was committed up in that same section a number of years ago, a wave of righteous indignation went over the whole land, and a determined effort was made to put a stop to this liquor making traffic.
The owner of the old Big Kettle decided that it was time to take a rest. So, it is said that a deep hole was dug not far from the banks of the creek and about a mile or two over in Lafayette County and the old Big Kettle was laid to rest. According to the story, there it stayed through all the years until the Bone Dry law and National Prohibition put the booze lover up against it for his favorite beverage, and raised the price sky high.
Then it was that there came a day of Resurrection, and the old Big Kettle was brought into use again.
But her days were destined to be short in the land.
One night last week, Mr. Buchanan, a Raiding Officer, which is a new place created for just such a purpose by the United States Government, arrived here. Accompanied by Sheriff Will Wright and Ernest McCormick, he made his way up to the county line of Calhoun and Lafayette and then located a big hogshead of …er ready for the making.
They knew that there was a monster still thereabout but ... one putting appearance to set it up and begin operations. Finally they notified the man whose house it was real near that they were going to make a search of his premises for a still. He did not raise any objection, so the search began. It lasted five hours, and was awarded by the discovery of a mammoth Big Copper Kettle of 80 gallon capacity sunk in the bottom of a pond of water. It was as nice and smooth as could be, with every joint and seam fit and proper, not a dent on its sides. That it had been well cared for was very evident.
The man was arrested and carried to Oxford and put under a thousand dollar bond. The still was carried to Oxford and will there be destroyed.
Was it the old “Big Kettle,” that I have heard so much of? Well, we don’t know. It looks kind o’ like it doesn’t it.
Anyhow, we are glad this ... has been removed.
The Editor of the Water Valley Herald sure is one hard fellow to please.
We have about decided to give it up as a bad job.
Here is Editor Barber’s latest complaint:
“The Herald follows the intation of The Monitor and has read the story of the Sheriff grabbing the moonshiners indeed carefully. It only confirms our former conclusion that Calhoun supplies the liquor for Yalobusha County. If the “durn” sheriff and other officials of Calhoun were not zealous in the performance of their duties, the editor might get a little liquor to put in his mince meat this winter.”
Just a few weeks ago, the editor of the Water Valley Herald was raising sand over the proposition that as he claimed Calhoun was furnishing him and his Yalobusha neighbors liquor. Now, he takes it out on our officers because they won’t allow Lafayette county moonshiners to furnish him his liquor.
As we say, we’ll just have to give it up. We can’t please him.
Just one more word however, and that is that any man who can’t think of any better way to use liquor than to put on mince meat, we’ll say he don’t need no liquor.
Sheriff C. R. Young, accompanied by his deputies Messrs. Sam H. Smith and W. J. Reid, went over on Cowpen the other night and brought back with them a splendid specimen of the Wildcat still. Too, they brought back about five gallons of the finished product, which, while the Editor didn’t get a chance to taste, had a most aromatic smell, and was evidently of a high class brand of Moonshine.
The still was found about 1 mile north of Lantrip schoolhouse and surrounded by a large number of barrels of mash ready for making into whiskey. The still itself was well arranged and was a big one, fifty or sixty gallon capacity.
Sheriff Young says that contrary to the usual course, this still was given away by the whiskey men, rather than law abiding citizens.
The raiding party drove up in their car to a point somewhere near the still, but the moonshiners were evidenly [sic] just leaving. They had finished their run, cleaned up, filled the kettle again, drawn the fire, and were laughing and talking as they moved off.
The officers immediately gave chase to them and the liquor men fled, dropping their jug of newly made liquor as they ran. The officers chased them for some half mile, but finally lost them.
Then the officers came back found the abandoned jug, and then found the still.
Besides the jug, there was a candy bucket two thirds full of new moonshine, which the heartless officers poured into Cowpen Creek, which no doubt accounts for the peculiar antics reported among the catfish lower down the creek on Sunday last.
The still and jug were placed behind the bars of the County jail here and have been the center of attraction for a number of curious people since that time.
On Monday night some enterprising and thirsty individual or individuals, introduced a pipe or some kind of hollow container through the bars of the cage and into the jug and siphoned about a gallon out of captivity, and are no doubt enjoying a “Merry Christmas.”
Nine panes of glass were broken out of the jail windows the day following the putting of this open jug into the cage, by the Bumblebees trying to get in to the scent.