Moonshiners: What is the Legend of Jim Tom?

Moonshiners: What is the Legend of Jim Tom?

If you routinely watch the television show Moonshiners, there’s a better than average chance that you’re wondering exactly how you can learn more information about individual people that have become your favorites on the show, not to mention learning more about the history of moonshining in the area. As it turns out, it’s a little bit of a challenge to find out more information about not just the characters, but about the history as well. When you really stop and think about it, this makes perfect sense. After all, making moonshine is illegal so it only stands to reason that they would protect their secrets and their history, therefore failing to divulge this history to the general public.

At one point or another, you might have heard someone mention Jim Tom or the legend of Jim Tom. You have probably heard it, especially if you watch the show a lot but you might be wondering what in the heck the legend of Jim Tom really is. In reality, Jim Tom really was a legend in his day and he has served as not only the inspiration for all the people that are currently on the show making moonshine, but also as a true mentor to the majority of them. In other words, you could go as far as saying that without Jim Tom, the people who are currently making moonshine in the area may not be making it at all. In fact, they might be doing something completely different. Some would even go as far as saying that without him and the contributions that he made during his heyday, there would be no television show that chronicles their activities in the first place.

Jim Tom is no different than any other legend, at least not in the areas where it counts the most. He was something of a pacesetter when he was in his prime and he definitely was the person that was most well known for his efforts in moonshining. He also paid a steep price for his chosen profession, spending a great deal of time in jail due to those activities. He basically defined moonshining at a time when there was little, if any, direction among those who made and sold it. Even though he was arrested several times for his moonshining activities, the very fact that he was arrested seemed to make him even more popular with those who had been born into this type of lifestyle.

He was arrested a number of different times and over the years, he spent a large portion of his adult life in jail, especially if you total all of those different times up. Nevertheless, he never regretted his decision to make moonshine and every time he was released, he would go right back to doing the same thing again. It seemed that each arrest only made him more resolved to make more of it and sell it to more people. Make no mistake about it, he was making a good living and it got to the point where he considered it something of a personal challenge to be able to increase his business, so to speak, without getting caught.

Of course, all of this made him the legend that he eventually became. Just like any other legend, newer people that didn’t have the experience looked to him for guidance. He had become such a legend by this time that for every new person coming up through the ranks making moonshine, it was a goal to run their business in the same way that he had run his when he was most active. The thing is, he wasn’t just some obscure legend that people read about or even told stories about that was intangible. He was more than willing to pass that knowledge on to newer people and in many cases, he began to mentor them and help them figure out how to make and sell moonshine in the same way that he had. He took everything that he had learned the hard way and brought people under his wing so that they could learn without going through all the same trials and tribulations. This only served to endear him even more to virtually everyone in this business.

Today, his legend is larger than life and it’s easy to understand why. He reached true celebrity status within the moonshining community but it was actually his willingness to pass that information on to others that made him the mentor and teacher that he eventually became.

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