King of the MoonshinersLewis R. Redmond in Fact and Fiction
Stewart, Bruce, ed.
Paper Edition, $19.95s
Paper ISBN: 1-57233-640-4
Status: In Print
DescriptionLewis R. Redmond was an archetypal moonshiner. On March 1, 1876, the twenty-one-year-old North Carolinian shot and killed a U.S. deputy marshal who tried to arrest him on charges of illicit distilling. He then fled to Pickens County, South Carolina, where, within three years, he gained national notoriety as the “King of the Moonshiners.” More than any other individual moonshiner in southern Appalachia, Redmond captured the imagination of middle-class Americans. Then, as now, media coverage had a lot to do with his reputation.
This book includes three publications that helped to transform Redmond into a national celebrity. The first is a newspaper interview of Redmond, published in the Charleston News and Courier in June 1878 and subsequently reprinted in newspapers throughout the country. This sympathetic portrayal made Redmond a household name. The second publication is Edward B.Crittenden’s 1879 dime novel (and fiction it certainly is), which solidified Redmond’s reputation as the most dangerous man in southern Appalachia. The third place was written shortly after Redmond’s capture in 1881, allegedly to set the record straight.
Through these original documents, contemporary readers have the opportunity to relive that fascinating time.
Bruce E. Stewart is an assistant professor of history at Appalachian State University. He has contributed articles Georgia Historical Quarterly, Appalachian Journal, North Carolina Historical Review, and Journal of Southern History.
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