Moonshine got its name from the alcohol being moved by moonlight to decrease the chances of being detected, but there was a distinction. Moonshine, according to Ozark folklore, was made at night; white lightning was made in the day; and white mule was the stuff that was made so far back in the hills it took a mule to haul it out.
Making whisky in the Ozarks was a craft, just like making candles, soap, or musical instruments. Almost everyone did it. Bill Holman’s dad was a local law enforcement officer during prohibition. Holman said, “Moonshine was so popular in the Ozarks, that at one point a local man offered $10 to anyone to pick a house between Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and Gateway, Arkansas where it wasn't for sale. “ No takers.
A number of years ago a former Benton County Sherriff, and one-time moonshiner, told a Hobbs Park interpreter, "At one time there were so many moonshiners in Benton County that you had to wear a name tag to tell each other apart."
It was a risky business, but with great rewards. Corn was worth more by the gallon than by the bushel, and the feds were tough in the Ozarks. According to Ozarks Watch, “In the 40 years that followed Prohibition, 6,000 stills were seized by federal agents in Arkansas and Missouri.”
Susan Young, outreach coordinator at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, (and wonderful story teller) will present Stills in the Hills: A History of Moonshining in the Ozarks at Hobbs State Park. Young will speak about the history, the craft of making moonshine, and share stories from some oral history interviews she did in Madison County with folks who shared their memories of moonshine and moonshiners. Don’t miss her revealing and fun program.
Where: Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy. 12/War Eagle Road intersection
When: February 18, 2018 2:00 pm
Cost: Free – Public invited
For more information, call: 479-789-5000