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Lewis Redmond, “King of the Moonshiners”

RedmondOn March 1, 1876, moonshiner Lewis Redmond murdered U.S. Deputy Marshall Alfred Duckworth near East Fork in Transylvania County.

Duckworth was killed while serving a federal warrant on Redmond for the illegal manufacture and sale of distilled liquor. The crime marked the beginning of Redmond’s career as the legendary “King of the Moonshiners.”

Born in 1854, Redmond grew up during a time when the production of distilled alcohol was an additional source of income for many Southern farmers. In the post-Civil War South, many illegal distillers, or moonshiners, attempted to circumvent the payment of taxes on their products, leading to conflict with the Federal Bureau of Revenue.

Following the death of Duckworth, Redmond fled to Pickens County, South Carolina—to an area known as “Dark Corners”—where his moonshining and brushes with the law continued. His activities were fictionalized in a number of publications that gained him national status as a folk hero.

In 1879, he moved to Swain County where, two years later, he was captured and tried for violating the revenue law and for criminal conspiracy. He pled guilty and was sentenced to ten years in federal prison. Serving only a few years, he was pardoned in 1884.

Redmond died in Walhalla, South Carolina, in 1906.

Visit: The Mountain Gateway Museum & Heritage Center in Old Fort, which has several exhibits related to moonshining

Other related resources:

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