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Monday, November 19, 2012

Moonshine Whiskey and the Revenoors

Welcome to Golden Pond, Kentucky...

Before I get into a tale that my mother-in-law shared with me years ago I thought I'd give you a bit of background on the town that she and my father-in-law grew up in.   Yep, this is where they grew up, and this sign is the only thing left to show that Golden Pond even existed.   It was a tiny town with lots of backwood roads and not much going on.

This is an aerial view of Golden Pond which is known as Land Between The Lakes, a huge resort where people have homes and come during the summer months to vacation
My mother-in-law grew up during the depression and times were tough.  Jobs were scarce and people sometimes had to barter and trade off to have enough food to eat. Her mother, Stella (we called her Miss Stella as did everybody from the area) and her husband, Loy Forgusen had 6 children, five girls and one boy.  One of the girls died in early childhood before my mother-in-law and her twin sister was born.  Miss Stella was a wonderful, hard working and sweet woman who was not at all happy with her husband's choice of work during this period of their lives.

Loy, not being able to find work did what a lot of men did back in 1929, he made moonshine whiskey.  Unfortunately, it was during the period of Prohibition, 1920 to 1933 when it was illegal to manufacture, sell or import liquor and if you got caught brewing it, (which he did)  it was punishable by serving time in jail (which he also had to do (6 months) adding further to the hardship they suffered.

This is what I think his still looked like...pretty basic for the times
In the woods behind their small wooden house and near the river, he had a still set up and was making "moonshine" whiskey. His still was usually hidden from view and moved off and on so that the "Revenooers" wouldn't find it.  Usually, while he was brewing the whiskey some of the mash (fermented corn used in the whiskey) could be found in or around the still.

Jean, the oldest was in charge of helping Miss Stella, her mother take care of the twins. One day, Miss Stella had to go into town and left Jean in charge of the twins.  The twins, my mother-in-law and her twin left the house and walked down to the river and guess what they found?  Yep, you guessed it their dad's still which was making whiskey.  They came across some of the mash around the still and started tasting it and upon deciding that they liked it because it was sweet proceeded to eat it and ended up getting snookered! Jean, realizing that the twins were missing started a frantic search for them hoping to find them before her mom returned back home.  She took off towards the river and low and behold guess what she happened upon?  You guessed it, two drunk 4 year olds sitting on the ground eating the mash.  Well, needless to say she knew she was in trouble so she tried to round them up which was pretty hard to do as they were laughing, and unable to stand up.  But somehow she managed to get them home but not before Miss Stella arrived and saw them coming up the drive. Upon finding out what happened, Jean was punished and the twins bathed because they were full of mud, and put to bed to sleep it off. Ha

I will say that Loy was very good at making "moonshine".  Story is, that he was nick-named "Pepper" because he brewed the hottest whiskey around.  Once, after my mother-in-law and father-in-law were married they took a bus to Detroit, Michigan to visit my father-in-law's sister.  After departing the bus and waiting for my father-in-law a man making conversation with her asked her where she was from.   She told him Golden Pond, Kentucky.  He said "I used to know a man from there who used to make the hottest whiskey around.  He told her his name was "Pepper".  Imagine that, who would have thought that traveling 567 miles from home you would run into a man who knew your dad!  Ha


  1. What a wonderful story Kris! My husband is addicted to a show about some guys making Moonshine.

    Isn't it amazing what they went through back then? I love old movies and I've watched many dealing with the depression and prohibition. My mom and dad were both born in England, during WW2 and something as simple as an orange or a small piece of chocolate was something reserved for Christmas only!

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely story about your in-laws, love the drunk twins part!!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my friend:)

  2. That is a fabulous story, and your literary style is delightful. I look forward to more stories. What an amazing coincidence!


  3. Love the story, it´s so nice when you tell them! :-)

  4. Loved this, it's so interesting. Love history!! I've heard of many back then making moon shine. Love hearing the stories that make up your family. Beautiful. I hope you are doing well doll & have a great day!! xox

  5. Love reading your tales from your childhood Kris - so much fun getting an insight of places I have never been.
    Hope you are having a lovely week.

  6. oh Kris! This is such a story. Is like I have been telling to some friends lately: there have always been hard times. We just wasn't there. But somebody else was...
    and indeed it's a small world!

    lots of love to you my friend : )

  7. HejKristie, thanks for all the nice and kind words that you write to me, you make me so happy
    Now we are waiting for some snow so we will in the Christmas mood.
    Many warm hugs to you / Ingela.

  8. I love your family stories. My, how things have changed - can you imagine the furore if social services found out about drunken little ones these days ... !! M x

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