March 20, 2009

Popcorn Sutton

A Likker Legend's Last F.U.

Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton was told to report to federal prison tomorrow for an 18-month stint after he was busted yet again for making his famed White Lightning. On Monday, Sutton went out on his own terms.

Sutton was one of the last of his kind: an unrepentant Appalachian moonshiner with a reputation for great "likker" and a penchant for pissing off the authorities

Click here to see his tombstone.

Famed bootlegger chose death over prison, widow says

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Famed Appalachian moonshiner Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, whose incorrigible bootlegging ways were as out of step with modern times as his hillbilly beard and overalls, took his own life rather than go to prison for making white lightning, his widow says.
"He couldn't go to prison. His mind would just not accept it. ... So credit the federal government for my husband being dead, I really do," Pam Sutton said Wednesday from the couple's home in the Parrottsville community.
A few hours earlier she had buried Sutton, 62, in a private ceremony in the mountains around Haywood County, N.C., where he grew up.

Sutton — nicknamed "Popcorn" for smashing up a 10-cent popcorn machine in a bar with a pool cue in his 20s — looked like a living caricature of a mountain moonshiner. He wore a long gray beard, faded overalls, checkered shirt and feathered fedora. He made his home in Cocke County, where cockfighting and moonshining are legend.

Sky Sutton is a New England historian and raised in Massachusetts who discovered while researching her paternal genealogy that her biological father was Popcorn Sutton.    Her blog contains excerpts from her book, Daddy Moonshine.

“It isn't surprising that Popcorn has attracted so much attention. His slippery craft and his old-timey antics appeal to something in our collective past. His overalls can be seen as the blue denim flag of old pick-up trucks and cork-plugged clay jugs. His colorless hat is the nod of a gentleman, his beard the badge of a wild man. His high reedy voice carries the echoes of banjos and fiddles. His stealth and focus speak volumes for the cunning and moxie of who he is: a Smokey Mountain moonshine master.”

You can hear his high reedy voice on his YouTube video showing how to make moonshine

 

Posted by Jill Fallon at March 20, 2009 9:29 PM | Permalink