The hootch was in the toy chest all along! Great Genealogy Story.



This is a true story.  My mother, who is 91 now used to tell about going to her Aunt's home to visit cousins in Oklahoma.  Banty, Durant,  Oklahoma in the 1930s was very dry and dusty.  You could see a car coming at a fast pace for miles by the size of the dust cloud it was kicking up.

Mom was only about 5 years old and her baby sister Corrine was only about 3.  Marvin, her big brother was about 8.  Since her father died in 1929, from the effects of mustard gas from a leaky mask during WWI, Marvin was the man of the house now and watched out over the little girls.  On this trip, Marvin held Corrine on his lap and they watched the old white house rise out of the dust.

Arriving at this run down wood house with a large porch, Mom saw her Uncle.  He was crippled and would sit indian style and walk using just the knuckles of his hands.  His children all had snow white hair and ice blue eyes.  She said, "To this day, those children were the most beautiful children I had ever seen or ever will see."  This is a picture of her cousin Opal, so you know that Opal's   babies mentioned in this article were just as beautiful.
The story goes that Opal's husband had a very difficult time making a living for his family, so he would make "hootch" in a home made still in the woods and sell it to local people, since he couldn't drive.  This was a time of Prohibition and it was illegal to have your own still, much less sell it.  Little Carrie, Launa and VJ were little toddlers at this time.  Mr. Hunt would sit by the window and watch for the "Revenuers".  These were the people who could potentially put him into jail if they found alcohol on his property.  In the window, on the ledge of the sill was one piece of wood with a secret hiding place.  When you lifted the piece of wood, the wall was hollow and there was a place to hide a bottle....his own private bottle.

One day he was watching out the window and saw a fierce dust cloud and knew that these old  cars could really get going and throw up a lot of dust the faster they went.  He was judging how long it would take but somehow, hid the bottle in the window ledge and got away with it.

This is where my story from my Mother ends.....and the miracle of the internet begins.  Upon posting this story on Ancestry, I received a letter from someone I had never met.  She was Launa's daughter and had information to share about our family tree.  Alethea told me that she told Launa, her  mother, that story and she verified it was true.  Not only that, Alethea mentioned she lived in that house right now!  She went over to the window and there was the window ledge.  After all these years, she was able to lift the piece of wood and look inside.  It would have been amazing if there had been something hiding in there, even though I don't drink, but she said it was empty.  The interesting bit of information that Launa gave was priceless.  When asked, "How did he keep from being arrested all those years?"  She said, "When they saw the Revenuers coming up the road, they would pick us up and set us on top of the toy chest.  The toy chest was where the "hootch" was hidden!  The "Revenuers" searched and searched but never thought to lift the beautiful children off the toy chest!

Truth be told, I would have never met my 2nd cousin online or verified this story and learned more about my relatives had I not been doing my family history research.  

Start today.  Start with what you know.  Then we will build on that.
Use a sheet like this to document your relatives lives.
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