My Town

A map of southeastern USA reveals a small northwest corner of South Carolina tucked in between Georgia and North Carolina. My town of approximately 1,000 people is the hub of this hilly red dirt area.

Back in the nineteen twenties and thirties the area was called “Dark Corner”. During these prohibition years liquor stills adorned the area. As a lad I frequently heard this sound coming from the mountains – BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! My father said this was Revenue Officers breaking up liquor stills.

The surrounding rural areas and towns had outhouses or septic tanks. My town was progressive and established a central sewage system. This was constructed in 1928 and was financed by Rural Development, a department of the Federal Government. My part of town was not included in this system.

Sometime in the past my town also built a public water system. Standing on my front porch, I looked up and North to a very large mountain named “Hog Back”. It stood about 3 miles away, and near the bottom or south side was a small mountain named “Byrd”. A reservoir was built on Byrd and a stream of water from Hog Back flowed into it. No pumping was needed anywhere. Pure gravity brought great pressure to every home in town.

It is really something to see how this little hick town had these facilities. I have lived in wealthy towns without either or both.

But troubles may arise. In springtime of a year in the early thirties, after a rainy winter, the reservoir dried up. The town fathers pursued the problem and found no stream, but a dry basin. They followed this for over one half mile into the mountains. Lo and behold they discovered that moonshiners, to become better hidden, had dug across and diverted the stream into another valley.

Everyone knew each other. There were no arrests or legal problems. The distillers apologized for the stupid mistake and agreed to rectify it. The town fathers went home and the manufacturers of fine corn liquor moved to another stream.

David T. Daniels
Southbury, CT 2012

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