Katherine Brant, And so...

Welcome to the life and times of Katherine Ione Brant, born June 7, 1909. These stories appear in no particular order; however, the first couple of stories will give a little background and information concerning the storyteller. From time to time, I will write information and stories about Miss Katherine from my perspective. Most of the stories are related to me and recorded by Miss Katherine. Hopefully, by the end of this year, there will be a book ready for publish. If you know Miss Katherine, have photos or stories to add to this collection, please send an e-mail with the information. Miss Katherine would love to hear some comments from you. Thanks and enjoy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bootleg, Moonshine and White Lightening

In South Carolina, a lot of people were making bootleg whiskey with a homemade still.  Well, I guess some are still doing bootleg whiskey.  There are doing it everywhere.  I think they are still doing it around Jacksonville.  But anyway,  I had this good friend, Pearl Hydrick, and her husband, Tom Hydrick was a revenuer and he searched for people who made that bootleg whiskey.

 My Daddy was mayor of  Yemassee and every now and then his policemen would get some bootleg whiskey and bring it in.  Somebody said that Tom who use to get it, too, decided he was going to use it in the radiator, in his car. And so, he poured everything out of his radiator and he poured that bootleg whiskey into the radiator of his car.  I mean he filled it up.  Well, when I heard that, I said,  "Daddy,  can't, you get me some of that bootleg whiskey to put in our cars, in the radiator?"  He said, "I  never heard of such a thing."   I said, "I just heard that Tom  got some and put it in his and it is working fine."  

And so, he did get me some and I was out in the yard pouring it in my car, mine and my mama's car,  when this man came down from Augusta,  pretended to be a good friend of my brother.  I don't think he was such a good friend, well anyway,  he said, "What are you doing?"  I said. "I'm putting some bootleg whiskey in my radiator."  He said, "What?"   I said, " Bootleg whiskey."  He said, "Give me that whiskey.  I like bootleg whiskey."  I said, "Well,  you're not going to get this."  He said, "Give me that bootleg whiskey.  I'll go over to the whiskey store and get you some good whiskey."   I said,  "I'm not going to put some of that in the radiator."  And, he couldn't get me to give him that bootleg whiskey.  (Where I'm from, that is also called moonshine or white lightening. )

So, he liked that bootleg whiskey.  He said,  "Where did you get it."  I said, "I got my Daddy to get it for me."  One of the policemen brought some in.  They found a fellow who was doing some bootlegging.  I guess,  I don't know really how he got it, but, they got it and brought it in.  They had a place they stored it.   And I asked him  to bring me some, because Tom put some in his radiator and it was working fine and I wanted to try it, too. And so, my dad got me some.  I don't know, maybe a gallon or so, I don't remember.  (giggle giggle) That fellow sure wanted that whiskey so bad.  I said, "You're not going to get this."  "Well, tell me where you got it, I want to try to get me some," he said.   I  said,  "You're not going to get it from my Daddy, cause that's where I got it.  He's the mayor and he knew the policeman, he was working for him, and he found the bootlegger with the whiskey and he's got it stored somewhere,  and he's not going to give it to you to drink."  

I can't imagine, putting bootleg whiskey in the radiators on the car.  But that's what we did and it worked jut fine. When it  got freezing weather that radiator didn't freeze.  I guess it worked like antifreeze.

I said to my friend at the barber shop, Leonie,  I said that if you ever see anybody with a mark across his nose, you know that he has been drinking bootleg whiskey from an old  fruit jar.

Well, Miss Katherine, you have a mark on your nose.  Have you been drinking bootleg whiskey from a quart jar?  Miss Katherine quickly retorted, "I don't know what that is on my nose, but I never did drink any of that whiskey."

Amazing to think the turn in American history had "bootleg whiskey" been used for antifreeze instead of consumption.  If, Miss Katherine had patented the idea of antifreeze for use in automobiles.

The first commercial plant in the US was in South Charleston, Va. in 1925. US Patent 1,213,308 was issued to Hibbert for the use of ethylene glycol for lowering the freeze point of water in automobile cooling systems. Following its first manufacture of glycol in a large commercial scale in 1925 Carbide sold small amounts of uninhibited glycol. Three years later research revealed that untreated ethylene glycol could become corrosive to the cooling system metals. From this time on the major participants in the antifreeze coolant market place adapted the corrosion package to meet the changing engine and cooling requirements.(http://www.acustrip.com/)

The first commercial plant in the US was in Yemassee, South Carolina, way back in the woods on the north side of town, off a small dirt road. 
the "still", made of copper tubing and huge vats, distilled the "antifreeze".  Even though, the vats and cooper tubing had been mutilated by the revenuers, a good welder got them back to working condition. The US patent was issued to Katherine Brant for the use of bootleg whiskey in automobile cooling systems.  The "antifreeze" can be purchased in quart fruit jars or gallon jugs.  She doesn't know how or why this works, but it does.  And so, you had better use it to keep your radiator from freezing up in the winter time.

1 comment:

  1. i love this one. well, i have to say that i love all of aunt Katherine's stories. this one is particularly funny and poignant. we look forward to our visit with you Aunt Katherine over thanksgiving! i will bring my camera and let's get some more photos for your book! lots of love, the girls Aniya and Raimee send their love, Sabrina