29 July 2012

Try To Kill Her Husband? Just Wait Till She Gets Her Revenge

     In 1918 someone tried to murder my 3x Great Uncle, Walter Sprouse. According to a newspaper article that I found, Walter was taking an active role in speaking out against illegal stills. Someone ambushed him at night while he was attending to his mules and shot him in the face and neck. The wounds were not severe enough to kill him, but did put him in the hospital.  The newspaper article reports that the sheriff was worried about vigilante violence in the wake of the shooting.

     Apparently his wife, Mary, wasn't going to stand for the attack on her husband. A few months later, she got her revenge. This newspaper article is quite humorous. (numerous typos copied from the original)

"Women of Lincoln In War On Stills
Visit Site of Moonshine Manufactory to Destroy It-Bent on Running Out Corn Liquor.
     Athens, Ga., September 21. Deputy Inspector Scott Jackson of the U. S. Intermal Revenue department Friday received a message from the revenue headquarters in Atlanta to proceed immediately to Lincoln county, Ga., where according to reports received by the Athens office, several moonshine stills were in operations. Accompanied by Deputy Collector M. F. Kimsey, Mr Jackson made a hurried trip to the place where the still were supposed to be located, about eight miles northwest of Lincoln. Approaching the place slowly and cautiously, the officers esiped two women, with dinner pails in their hands, making their way in the direction of a clump of woods. 
     The first though that flashed across the minds of the deputies was that the women were carring dinner to their husbands who, perhaps, were making moonshine in the secluded woods. They decided to advance cautiously and surprise the moonshiners as they were in the act of eating their noonday meal.  Creeping throug the underbrush, they finally arrived at the place where the women were apparently headed and found to their consternation the women whom they thought were aiding the illict distillers, hammering a way with all their might in a determined effort to destroy the still.
     The revenue officers were agreeable surprised and upon questioning the women, who reluctantly gave up their job to the officers, ascertained that one of them, Mrs. Walter Sprouse, was the wife of a prominent Lincoln county farmer who was shot by the moonshiners in that vicinity last winter because he had been a leader in waging a war against their illicit operation.
                                                                 Ben on Breaking up Still.
     Mrs. Sprouse was accompained by Mrs. McLain and they told the story of how the moonshiners had been operating within a short disance of their homes and after the citizens of the county had tried time after time to run them out, had continued making the stuff that was undermining the young men of the community, grieving their mothers, and sending many of them to their untimely graves.
     The lives of some of the brightest and most promising young men of the community had been almost wrecked, and homes that had been the center of happiness and b liss had been transformed into a veritable hell. These good women had seen the suffering mothers and sweethearts, and with their husbands had waged a campaign against the outlaws without avail. But they did not give up. They finally decided to take the law into their own hands and when they were found by the revenue officers they were accomplished just what they had set out to do.
     The officers had hardly completed the destruction of the still when the sound of several shots rent the air. They admonished the women to make a hasty retreat to their homes, but they found they were not dealing with women of the hysterical type; these women had seen too many homes made unhappy at the hands of the moonshiners and they took their place on the top of a knoll and watched the revenue officers as they completed their work. It was a mighty lucky thing for the officers that they did, for they had hardly reached the top of the hill when they discovered a man pistol in hand, crouching beneath some underbrush.
                                                                   Gun in Dinner Pail.
     Then the dinner pail mystery was solved. Quick as a flash, the hand of Mrs. McLain reached to the dinner pail she was carrying and instead of a Georgia yam, she brought forth a shining six shooter and emptied its contents in the direction of the fleeing moonshiner who upon seeing the women had vaulted several bushes and carried his carcass toward tall timbers.
     Deputy Jackson states that these women were as cool as the officers and while the moonshiners were signalling one another with pistol shots fired in rapid succession, the women showed no signs of being frightened and showed the officers where they could capture another still.
     The section where these stills were located is thickly populated but in some manner the moonshiners had succeeded in keeping their secrets from the county officers. They were aided in doing this no doubt by locating their outfits some distance from a stream, using wells for their waters supply."

Articles from the Augusta Chronicle, Augusta, Georgia.

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