Subdued capture of a holy terrorPublished 5:56pm Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Moonshiner Wade Bowers had a reputation throughout the Dark Corner and among revenue officers for being a holy terror. He was even accused of shooting a minister at one point.
In December of 1908, Deputy Marshall Reuben Gosnell, State Constable J.W. Goldsmith and two other revenuers came to Glassy Mountain to locate and destroy an illegal distillery that had been reported to be operated by Bowers and Luther Crews.
They easily found the distillery, which was in operation at the time. Both men ran immediately at the first sight of the revenuers, but only Bowers escaped their clutches. Luther Crews was arrested just a few yards from the distillery and watched as the entire operation was destroyed.
He was taken by two of the revenuers back to the area where their team of horses had been tied.
Reuben Gosnell and J.W. Goldsmith proceeded across the mountain about a mile where Wade Bowers lived, figuring he would eventually return home. They lay on the cold frozen ground and watched the home until late afternoon.
Unbeknownst to them, Bowers had hightailed it home while they were cutting up his still. Figuring they would come to the house looking for him, he deliberately went away from the house and hid himself in a large woodpile, dropping a few pieces of wood to cover any track he might have left when climbing into it.
About three o’clock in the afternoon, Gosnell and Goldsmith slipped into the yard and easily got into the house. Not finding Bowers, they went into the yard again. Looking around, they still did not find him, but they did notice a short, snorting like sound coming from the large woodpile in the side yard.
Approaching the woodpile cautiously, they determined the snorting sound was actually a snore. Bowers had grown warm underneath the layers of wood and had gone into a deep sleep.
Both officers were expecting a battle with him since he had boasted that he would die rather than give up. Had he not been asleep, it is quite probable that they might have had to kill him during the arrest.
Taken completely by surprise, the holy terror was easily subdued by the two officers before he could gain a footing.