Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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Oconto County, Wisconsin
Mountain Memories
Pages  - 88 & 89

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Page 90 - 91 

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.'Moonshine"
During those years of hardship and depression the community was working just as hard to get ahead, but the money just wasn't to be had. In the early 20's a new industry had begun growing up in these woodlands, though no one was supposed to 'know about it1. . .Moonshine ! At any given time there were probably 8 to 10 of these stills in operation, their locations can be recalled in various places throughout this area.
Gangsters from Chicago set up one of these stills on the old Melum farm a few miles north of the town, to be hidden inside the barn. Three wooden vats, 7 feet high and 10 to 12 feet across, were used to produce the mash which was then distilled into alcohol. Trucks came from Chicago every week bringing the supplies needed at the site, such as grain, sugar and coke, and then returned to Chicago with the finished product. One gallon metal containers served for storing the moonshine, no one was the wiser.
In the spring of 1931 the 'Feds1 appeared here in Mountain, they came in goodly numbers bearing the adequate tools in which to 'raid' this still and dismantle the operation. They hired some local men to do much of the work that had to be done, and then headed north out of town, their goal to be soon accomplished.
Knowing that 'good against evil' was about to prevail, a group of boys from town quickly gathered to walk up to the farm in order to watch the activities about to happen ! I was one in that group who was not about to miss out on this event.
Entering the barn, the men chopped holes in the vats and smashed a few boards out of the sides of the barn wall. The mash poured out into the barnyard where several pigs were kept, and soon the pigs gathered at the opening to fill themselves on the potent brew. Before long they staggered off and fell to the ground to lay in a drunken stupor ! About twenty chickens also came to avail themselves of this elixir; they ran around cackling and gyrating in a ridiculous manner, until they too, fell asleep, victims of their own appetites.
The men were busy hauling out bags of sugar, coke, and grain which they piled outside. The bags of grain and sugar were split open, their contents spilling to
the ground to spread where they may. The cans containing the 'evil spirits', poured their liquids onto the . ground as the men split them open with hatchets.
In the ensuing confusion some townspeople found the time to cart some of the metal containers away from the premises to a safe place, and it was bantered a~ bout that much of the confiscated supplies were salvaged during the night to be put back into good use by the local moonshiners.
Another still, located on Old 64 east of the town near Farr Lake, was raided by the Feds a year later. This still was put to an end for good by torching it!
Not one of the culprits responsible for these illegal operations were ever apprehended, Prohibition coming to an end in 1933 with the Repeal of the Prohibition Amendment, our Twenty First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
The U.S.A. has a new President
The election of 1932 changed the whole scenario of this area. A feeling of hope was beginning to erase the despair that had gripped Mountain and the entire nation for the past three years.
The Federal Government commenced to buy up the tax delinquent lands in northern Oconto County as well as in other counties and states that had suffered this dilemna and helped to get the nation 'back on their feet1.  The idea, born in the nation's capital under the guidance of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was to bring new birth and prosperity to all. It was called the New Deal, the foundation for new job opportunities and employment which would begin to ease the burden of a depressed economy.
President Roosevelt tackled financial problems, problems that had hampered industry and agriculture, unemployment, education, business administration. Social Security, the list is endless. So many new governmental agencies and bureaus were created during these years that we refer to them as the 'alphabetical agencies'.
The CCC's
On June 13 in 1933 the passenger train pulled into the station at Mountain with 5 or 6 coaches brimming with passengers. Everybody from town was in attendance