By Carol Prewitt
Was Madison County’s first drive-in liquor store in Newby? Maybe.
In the early 1900s, a man in Newby who made his own liquor had a covered porch with a dirt floor at the side of his house.
When a thirst over came you, you could drive under the porch roof in your horse and buggy and up to the window. You just stated your need, and it was handed out the window. It was legal at the time.
Then came Prohibition. A lot of those places were closed down. But, of course, we know a man’s thirst didn’t go away.
So, people went “underground,” so to speak. Stills started popping up in the hills and hollers. Newby had its fair share, as did the rest of the county.
Some were only for “medicinal purposes.” Some were for profit. There were two on Ham Branch. Another just down New Road. Business was good, but it was a secretive and pretty competitive business.
When Prohibition ended, the government saw a way to make its own profit from the sale of whiskey and began taxing it. Now, the fellow in the holler didn’t think he should have to pay the tax.
One man in Newby bought himself two new cars, each a different color, to make his whiskey runs. When the revenuers got wise to one car, he would switch to the other one. When they got wise to both, he painted them. Sometimes he painted them three or four times a year.
One fellow had such a thirst that he went to get his jug and paid for it by check. It took about 10 days for a check to clear the bank. Then the seller learned he had a cold check and began looking for his customer.
The whiskey was long gone, and the fellow was working in the field with his father. The father looked up to see a man on a horse up on the ridge. “Who is that?” He asked the son. “I believe it’s (name withheld),” the son said. “I believe I gave him a bad check.”
The son went up to the man on the horse and told him he had given him a check on the wrong bank and gave him another check.
Well, it turned out to be another cold check, and this time the son had to disappear. He stayed that way for a long time.