Used To Be Skywater

Saturdays we got up even earlier so as to get the chores done before setting out. If Carl’d stayed sober Friday night, then the delivery would be ready. That hadn’t been the case for months.

It was just getting light when I got to the still. Jody was already there, wrapping the mason jars in burlap so they wouldn’t rub, packing them into them wooden case flats we got from Albany Peach Company and stacking these into the pull-wagon. We was always real careful at this part since the time the wagon got away from us and we’d busted half a load.

The Casino was the first stop, being full up with the gentry from Atlanta and Macon. Carl like to say “they come for the waters but they stay for the shine.”

I heard that Marie Curie come to Skywater once to test the springs for the radium, which is why they changed the name.


What Pegman Saw: Radium Spings


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  1. k rawson

    The voice is perfect. Love the line “they come for the waters but they stay for the shine”. Without knowing the history, I’m wondering if the moonshine is made from water with radium?? And if so, the story is all the more intoxicating.

  2. 4963andypop

    I didnt connect prohibition with the era of taking the waters, but there certainly was an overlap, and I can see how people may have derived medicinal benefit if not from the waters, then at least from the easy liqor and the gambling. Nice slice of the black market at the time.

    • J Hardy Carroll

      Actually, bootlegging continued in the South long after the eighteenth amendment was repealed. Part of that was tradition, part of it was economy, and part of it was the sense of defying the United States federal government. Moonshine would go for $3 a jar, while bonded whiskey could sell as much as $10 a quart. The Moonshine was higher proof too. Interestingly, many of the pioneer drivers of NASCAR got their start running moonshine from the Hills into the cities and towns.

Don't just stand there.