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The Moonshine Stills of Turkeycock Mountain

17 January 2011

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A few days after locating the still in the previous post, I received another tip from my friend about a possible old still site on Turkeycock Mountain. I decided to go and check it out today, so I drove over to the mountain and parked on the side of the road. I walked into the woods, following a creek up into a hollow.

Still #1
Within minutes I saw an old still site on the banks of the creek. It was just a low pile of rocks, but it had that same “U” shape that I had seen at the first still site I had seen. It’s hard to tell in the photo I posted, but this was definitely an old still furnace. A tree grew out of the corner and you could almost see this site from the road, so I assume the site is very old.

Surprisingly, this didn’t match the description of the still site that my friend told me about. I decided to continue walking up the creek to see if I could find the still he had described to me…

Still #2
After walking about a thousand feet up the creek, I came upon the remains of another still. This time it was just the boiler that I found. I couldn’t find any rocks or remains of what might be a still furnace, but the old pile of metal had the telltale nail edge that I had seen before. However, this site still didn’t match the description my friend had given me, so I continued walking up the creek…

Still #3
I walked about one hundred feet up the creek and I found another still. There was quite a bit more to this moonshine still site. It looked like there were the remains of several sheet metal boilers, all constructed the same way – round or oval shaped with wood ends nailed in place. There was also a heavy gauge metal ring in the creek. What they used this for, I have no idea.

This site still didn’t match the description, so I continued walking up the creek…

Still #4
I came to a spot where the creek split, so I walked up the smaller branch. The creek got steeper and this little holler was much more secluded. To me, it looked like the perfect place to place a still. And of course, it was. After walking a few hundred feet up this branch I found the remains of an old still furnace. Again, it’s really hard to see it in the photo I posted, but it was very distinct looking.

I was now traveling in a different direction than where my friend had told me to look, but the creek looked good. I continued following the creek up stream. I wondered what the chances were that I would find a fifth moonshine still…

Still #5
Pretty good I guess. After walking up the creek for about 100 yards I found another still! The site was located near the head of the small creek where the water seeped out of the ground. There was just a small amount of water flowing in the creek, but it seemed enough to cool down a condenser. The site had a large still furnace and a large boiler lay in the creek. Rusted barrel hoops, a few pipes, and other bits of metal littered the banks of the creek. The site appeared to be largest of the operations so far and I tried to imagine the logistics of transporting the still, heavy wooden barrels, and hundreds of pounds of grain and sugar this far into the woods.

I never found the original still site that my friend had described to me, though I only walked about a half mile up the creek. It’s absolutely amazing to me that I could find five separate moonshine still locations along a small stretch of creek on some random mountain, but I guess this is Franklin County – the moonshine capital of the world.

Franklin County, Old Still Sites, Virginia Moonshine

One Comments to “The Moonshine Stills of Turkeycock Mountain”

  1. [...] times on the mountain and both times I’ve easily found the remains of old moonshine stills (Pt.1 and Pt.2.) My previous hunting was along Machine Creek and during this trip I wanted to check the [...]

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