Even though national prohibition didn't become law until 1920, good ole NC took the lead in the fight of good vs. evil and was the first southern state to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages 11 years earlier, all the way back in 1909. Of course," ain't nobody got time for that" and moonshine and liquor stills throughout North Carolina answered the call. Moonshine and North Carolina have a long and sordid history together including the area known as "The Harricanes" which encompassed parts of Wake, Franklin and Granville Counties in North Carolina.
The Harricanes was a place nobody claimed and nobody went to. To this day no one can tell you exactly where it begins and ends. I don't know precisely where it begins and ends but I do know when I'm IN it. If you take Highway 96 west of Youngsville and take a left at Pokomoke and travel west across the Granville County line where the road becomes Bruce Garner Road while you are in Granville County, and stay on that road until it crosses into Wake County where the road name changes to New Light Road then you are IN the Harricanes. Exactly where it begins and ends north, south, east and west of that is anyone's guess. Some say it runs all the way to Highway 50 to the west and Highway 98 to the south, and Pokomoke to the east, with the Grissom area of Granville County being just about dead center of the Harricanes. The Harricanes isn't on any map you will find, that's for sure. While you might find folks now that will admit to living there, back in the day if you asked the folks around there, you would get a different answer each time. That is, IF you got an answer at all. Most times the answer was "just up the road a ways" and up the road they would tell you it was "back that way" or "just over yonder". Because nobody lived in the Harricanes, or to rephrase that ,nobody SAID they lived there. The Harricanes was always someplace else.
Only the brave or just plain foolish intentionally went to or even through the Harricanes. You didn't just go for a Sunday drive through the Harricanes. The people of the Harricanes looked out for one another and had each others back. If you crossed one, you crossed them all and revenge was sweet. These folks stuck together. They were resourceful, independent and hard working. Despite what went on in the Harricanes that nobody talked about, they would all be in church come Sunday!
Folks from the Harricanes liked the bad reputation the area had and that bad reputation served a purpose. It kept people out and they liked it that way. The fewer strangers snooping around, the better. The only good reputation the Harricanes had was that some smooth, strong moonshine came from there if you were lucky enough to get your hands on a jar. Even if you heard about moonshine from the Harricanes through the grapevine, it was still only available if you knew somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody and even then it was doubtful. Even the Revenue Officers didn't like to venture into the Hurricanes looking for stills. There are a few stories of when they did, rarely successfully.
|My Mother, Betty Matherly, age 16|
|Back of my Grandparents home on Bruce Garner Road, Granville County, NC, about 1960|
These days the Harricanes roads are mostly all paved and the area is full of subdivisions with homeowners who have never heard of "The Harricanes". All these years later nobody still can tell you where the Harricanes is. I'd say they did a pretty good job of preserving their secrets. The legend lives on.
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