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Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

The Original Pineville

The original Pineville was rough and woolly despite the efforts of circuit riders. Alcohol was an important part of many early settlers' culture. As they moved west from North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, they brought their “corn crackers” and made moonshine dip pin’ whiskey. It was a profitable business and an early version of a “value-added” enterprise.

But alcohol-fueled more than a warm glow. It made violence no stranger to the little town. Pineville was located about 15 miles from the Indian Territory. There was no shortage of customers and if trouble arose, the miscreants simply hied off to the Territory until things cooled down.

On March 29, 1879, the Farmer & Chenoweth store was burned in a protest against alcohol. Later, Dr. Chenoweth was assassinated by Garland Mann. Mann was later lynched by an angry mob who broke into the Neosho jail where he had been thought to be safe.

The conflict between the “wets” and “drys” raged for years.

Enter Lora LaMance, the wife of a prominent merchant. Among her many activities, was her ardent campaign against liquor. She became the local, then county president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).

She wrote a genealogy book that reported proudly that she put on a hot campaign and took the county dry by local option. She went on to become the National President of the WCTU where she was an organizer and lecturer.

In her book she wrote “…in 21 years she has traveled over a half-million miles, spoken in every state and in every Canadian province but two and has visited over fifty countries.

After Mrs. LaMance’s efforts, alcohol was banished from public view. However, more than one prominent figure was known to quietly keep a bottle somewhere in his office.

Moonshine is still available if you have the right connections

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