Wednesday, November 3, 2010


. . .Maybe A Bunch's Still There!

I don't drink liquor. Well, that's a little fib. Now and then I might imbibe but I don't have a stomach for it.
Long ago, like about 67 years ago, I learned a lesson when a bunch of GIs in England, feeling sorry for me on New Year's Eve when I pulled a CQ duty night and couldn't leave camp, bequeathed me a few bottles of soda (?).
They knew I was not a drinker so they told me the stuff they gifted me with was clear English-made soda. I had naught to do that night but write letters or read.
Weeks later my dear departed mother back in America, cried her heart out when she read a letter her baby wrote that night which made no real sense, having been penned by a son far under the influence of that clear soda. (Gognac)
Since then my imbibing (it had made me terribly sick that New Year's Eve of 1943) has been limited to my wedding day, once or twice or so with friends at a formal dinner and a few times when I had a wine cooler at the American Legion hall.


Those above paragraphs lead into the story of the rumrunners of the Mohawk Trail.
After living in Pennsylvania 10 years I moved with my family to Adams, Massachusetts and eventually we bought a vacant rundown restaurant atop Hoosac Mountain and along the Mohawk Trail in North Adams, transferring it into a rock and mineral shop and gift store.
After a few years we decided our five acres might also support a campground so we attempted to plan one, carving out a few one-lane trails. While doing so we ran into little hills now and then.
Describing them one day to a friend at the newspaper where I worked, the friend launched into a story about rumrunners and opined that I might have stumbled onto one of their stashes of bootleg liquor.
I decided to investigate, poking a shovel into one of the mini-hills which promptly exploded as I hit a glass bottle.
I told my newspaper friend what had happened . He decided to see for himself.
We climbed up a hill for a few hundred feet and found a sizeable mound. I worked carefully and uncovered several bottles.
We opened two and took a swig. I choked and quit while my friend glugged the contents of his bottle to the end, remarking as he drank "this the best moonshine I've ever had."
Tom McShane, a true Irishman , was the guy's name, sports editor at the paper, years older than me and full of stories. He launched into a yarn about the Mohawk Trail, relating that besides being a trail the Mohawk Indians followed for eons, it also was the pathway for rumrunners, men who transported illegal booze from Boston to points in New York and westward.
Tom reasoned that my five acres, atop the mountain just overlooking the city, was the ideal place to stash the booze while they made sure there were no feds in North Adams, just down and around the Hairpin Turn, who might end their journey.
Hiding the liquor therefore was done by digging hiding places in the dense woods. Why was there still such a big stash on our propeerty? No doubt the last rumrunners who hid a stash in the hills were picked up by feds in the city before they could get back to the trail.
Wonder if that stuff is still there?
- 30 -

1 comment:

  1. Great way to start my day:-) Thanks Charlie
    love and hugs, Nancy