wrote, “Hell Hole Swamp, exuding an aroma of spirituous liquors which reeked throughout the Southeast, was a stench in his nostrils.” Despite Richards’ attempts to drain Hell Hole Swamp of its highly profitable bootlegging business—and the repeated raids by the state and federal revenue agents known as “Prohi” men—the illegal corn-liquor trade flourished.
Mason jars filled with Hell Hole Swamp moonshine were shipped by the boxcar-full to Al Capone’s Chicago, lined the shelves of speakeasies in New York, and filled the teacups at the blind tigers in Columbia, Savannah, and Atlanta.
There was a time in the history of our country, a 13-year period between 19, when a pesky inconvenience called Prohibition was made law.
This was a nationwide ban on the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages—except for the religious wine served at communion.
Those who remained were a hardy lot, but some had become almost as feral as the swamp.Closer to home, it kept the citizens of Charleston in the afternoon cocktails to which they were long accustomed.As one elder matriarch of Holy City society quipped, “Of course we continued to drink during Prohibition. It was just delivered to the back porch every morning with the milk.” Hell Hole Swamp While there are probably topographical maps showing distinct geographic boundaries for Hell Hole Swamp, the name generally refers to an area of forlorn and unforsaken swamplands and dense, piney woods that stretch from Jamestown on the Santee River to Moncks Corner on the Cooper River, and from Awendaw and Cainhoy upwards to Huger, Cordesville, and St. From the beginning of colonial settlement, this misbegotten area has been called “Hell Hole;” the name shows up on maps that predate the Revolutionary War.There was a time that this region had a wealth and prosperity brought by the great rice plantations that once lined the rivers.Starting in the late 1600s, the French Huguenots were among the earliest to settle these lands, joined by colonists from the British Isles and the Caribbean.In fact, General Francis Marion gained fame for the ease with which he and his partisan rangers eluded the British in Hell Hole’s murky recesses, earning the nickname, “Swamp Fox.” Even today, Hell Hole Swamp is better left to the alligators, bears, bobcats, foxes, snakes, panthers, and other denizens that crawl, slither, and stalk its indefinite boundaries.