Glassy Mountain Township—the northeastern corner of Greenville County’s Appalachian hills—is the nucleus of the area that has been known as Dark Corner for over 175 years. Its first settlers were Celts that left the lowlands of Scotland, Ulster in Northern Ireland and borderline England to immigrate to America. These Celtic descendants brought with them the ancient Celts’ knowledge of distilling grains to make “the water of life,” which was viewed as a divine creation due to its curative powers and economic value. The making and selling of whiskey was virtually the only way many families could get ahold of actual money in a barter society.
After the Civil War, a Federal excise tax was levied against private distilleries. Dark Corner settlers began placing their distilleries in wooded areas far from roadways and conducting distilling operations at night so that the smoke would not be visible to revenuers searching for illegal sites. Thus, “Moonshine” became the name for homemade whiskey.