The MARC Scavenger Hunt – July/August 2013

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The MARC Scavenger Hunt

We’re looking for artifacts, documents, letters, photos, and historic information all the time and we need your help to locate items to include in our exhibits and historic interpretation.

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JULY / AUGUST 2013 – SCAVENGER HUNT

.The name “Subsistence Farmers” describes most of the frontier settlers of Colonial America. Many, to make their passage to America, had contracted their work for a period of years as indentures, binding themselves to work for another. When they completed their indenture, they were free but largely penniless. They headed with their families to the frontier where distance and danger made for the cheapest land and many merely squatted on land until they were run off by owners. They and their families “subsisted”. They grew enough to feed the family. They could not grow enough to take to the far off markets but for some purposes they needed money. The source of that money became whiskey which they could easily make and sell for good money. When the new government began to tax their lone product, whiskey, the country experienced the Whiskey Rebellion in PA. One of the reasons that President George Washington in 1791 visited this area, then Guilford County, was to talk with leaders and see for himself what kind of conflict that he had simmering on the frontier over whiskey.

Whiskey was always considered a personal use crop but government recognized it as a product that was taxable. In most periods, whiskey was a sub-surface contest between citizen and government. Liquor can be considered the first product manufactured in Rockingham County. It is a necessary component of the history that we want to cover in the story we will present with the Rockingham County Museum.

More recent history mixes stories of moonshine, stills in every hollow, “revenuers”, whiskey runners, copper kettles and coils, mason jars and dippers in buckets. Liquor delivery is considered the inspiration for NASCAR. I grew up hearing stories of stills in every gully in the Buck Island hills above Danbury, hair raising races through Danbury and Walnut Cove, pursuit by the sheriff and delivery to the Country Club area of Winston Salem. The wild parties at Reynolda House needed their regular supplies of Stokes County moonshine.

We are on the lookout for all kinds of objects and archival material connected with the phases of the liquor industry. It is to us an important and continuous part of our story. It is much of our “folk history”.  Let the Scavenger Hunt begin.

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If you have what we’re looking for, please contact us at the MARC. If you know someone who might have these things, please contact them and pass the word on.

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