How a One Eye’d Mountaineer’s dog sent him to Prison for Life!

In the 1930″s nearly everyone was making Corn Liquor in the hills of Virginia, but only a few made the best. One of those old mountaineer’s was a man named Tom Quesenberry. No one really knew how he had lost his eye and he didn’t talk a lot, he just made Liquor. He had several stills set up across the the mountains of Virginia near Evergreen Mills just above Goose Creek.

All he had was his rifle, dog and his bible.

In early March of 1935, the revenue men had caught wind that Tom was making Liquor and decided it was time to bust him. A gang of officer’s made up of Sheriff Deputy’s Alexandria Police and federal Agents decended on Tom’s mountain.

When a Federal Agent named George Kirkpatrick was climbing a hill near one of Tom’s stills, Tom spotted him and fired his 30-30 rifle grazing him in the arm and chest. Tom retreated deeper into the woods and a posse pursued him.

The next day, they located one of Tom’s hiding spots and started firing on him. Tom returned fire and by doing so killed Alexandria Police officer Clarence McClary. Clarence was a husband and father of four kids.

The search for Tom continued and two days later he was captured. Tom was taken to jail and held for trial. He pled not guilty, but mid-way through his trial, he changed his plea to guilty and received a 20 year sentence. In court after the judge had agreed to the sentence of 20 years (which was probably a life sentence for old Tom).

The widow of Clarence McClary spoke loudly to the court, Tom and his lawyers. She said, You killed my husband and he ain’t never coming back. You have left me with four kids to raise by myself. Looking at Tom and his lawyers, she said If I had a gun I would shoot all of you dead right here right now.

Tom spoke to the widow and said, I’m sorry that I killed Mr McClary and explained that he would never had shot anybody if they had let him alone in his whisky making business on the mountain. Tom was given a 20 year sentence and it was later found that he had a fugitive from justice warrant from Wisconsin, where he had served 10 years of a 25 year sentence for killing two men.

When the sheriff was asked to explain how they had caught old Tom and brought him in alive, he explained that when they had gotten close to his hiding spot, that his little white dog had barked at them approaching. Tom, was asleep and never heard them coming, and that’s how a little white dog sent Old Tom Quesenberry to prison for life.

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