2 Replies Latest reply on Jul 22, 2021 9:01 AM by History Hub Administrator

    Seeking records of raids on Moonshiners in East Tennessee

    Samuel McKinney Wayfarer

      I have heard stories of my GG Grandfather moonshining in East Tennessee in the 1890s.  The story goes that Federal Agents would raid their still and chase my Grandfather.  I also heard he started selling his whiskey in Bristol, Tenn.  Would anyone know where I might find information about any of this?

        • Re: Seeking records of raids on Moonshiners in East Tennessee
          Charleen Vocca Scout

          Dear Mr. McKinney,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series titled Records of Seized Property, 1895 - 1899 in the Records of the Internal Revenue Service (Record Group 58) that includes the destruction of illegal stills. Each record shows the district number and the number of the congressional district in which the property was located.  For more information, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at Archives2reference@nara.gov


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          There may be records at the Police Department in Bristol, TN if your grandfather was a suspect or charged with a crime or possibly, in the Municipal Court records if he was fined or went to trial.


          For general information on the topic, you may wish to review the After the Moonshiners; A Book of Thrilling, Yet Truthful Narratives by George W. Atkinson that is partially available online through HathiTrust, or you can request it from your library. 


          We hope this is helpful.  Best of luck in your family research!

          2 people found this helpful
          • Re: Seeking records of raids on Moonshiners in East Tennessee
            History Hub Administrator Tracker

            While the time period you mention (1890s) pre-dates the National Prohibition Act, our staff had this additional guidance:


            Violators of the NPA (National Prohibition Act) loaded up District Court dockets for the years 1920-1933 - everyone from gangsters to housewives. Anyone who is researching someone who may have been involved in illicit alcohol consumption or sale should contact the location who holds court records for that jurisdiction. Some of these cases have verbatim testimony from the Prohibition Agents/police and the accused, as well as evidence (maps, photos, labels for the booze or still parts).


            We hope this is helpful - best of luck with your research!