Moonshiners exacted revenge on lawmen…like Wade Plumley

Published 2:54 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2010

While a handful of lawmen, such as volunteer Constable Holland Howard or Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall Rufus Springs, lost their lives in the destruction of illicit distilleries, there were other local Dark Corner magistrates or constables who were victims of retaliation by moonshiners.

Sometimes their acts of revenge reached barbaric proportions.

Wade Plumley, a constable for his brother, Magistrate J.D. Plumley, bore the brunt of this barbarism back in February of 1908.

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He went outside early on a Monday morning and discovered his cow lying in a pool of blood. Her throat has been slashed.

Walking to his barn, he discovered that his fine buggy had been ripped, broken and splintered, and found other depredation done by night visitors.

He knew immediately he had been visited by irate moonshiners. On the previous Saturday, he and his brother had been members of a raiding party that cut up several stills.

Anger against raiding lawmen appeared to increase with multiple cuttings of distilleries. Rather than one or two moonshiners being upset over the cutting of their single still, something akin to a mob effect resulted when multiple stills were destroyed.

There was no way of ascertaining the identity of the barbaric perpetrators who did their deed under the cover of darkness.

Numerous retaliatory incidents, such as Wades, were committed over the years with not a single perpetrator ever being identified.

Animals horses, mules, cows or pigs were favorite targets of vengeful night visitors.

Other retaliatory deeds included cutting down fields of corn and setting fire to corn cribs or outbuildings containing cotton or other valuable materials.


The final day for the Dark Corner Moonshine – Mayhem – Mystery exhibit at Greer Heritage Museum will be on Saturday, June 26. The documentary DVD will be shown at 11 a.m. and I will be available all day for questions and answers and local commentary. Admission is free; donations are appreciated. For information, call 864-877-3377.