The Franklin County Historical Society
We are a 501(c3) organization operated five days a week
by volunteers.
Hours 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Wednesday & Sunday

(540) 483-1890


If you are traveling, we
recommend calling to be
sure we can meet you!



The Franklin County Historical Society holds special events throughout the year to foster interest in our area's rich past. We're catching up after the 2020-half of '21 health crisis. Watch for our 2022 event list!



The Law Won - Sometimes. No. 2 in a limited edition of 25 prints from an original by award winning artist Carol Yopp. $5 a chance. Drawing July 3 at The Coke & Shine Exposition at Franklin County History Museum.

    From an original photo in the Library of Congress (reprinted in Jess Carr's The Second Oldest Profession). Carol painted her original oil from an oversize copy of the print hanging in The Coke & Shine Exposition. The scene shows a couple of illegal moonshiners being arrested and their turnip style still. The men are believed to be a Prillaman (left) and a Rakes in the southwestern end of Franklin County. The revenuer on the right is believed to be Pat Cash. The other government man is unknown.

      The raffle giclee print is framed.

      Tickets are available at the History Museum (call 483-1890 and we'll meet you out back) - at Virginia Office Supply - at Blooming Deals - and at Carter's Fine Jewelry where the No. 1 print is on display.

       A rare chance to own a piece of real Franklin County history!

Moonshine Memories...Old & New

We're doing it again! The 4th annual event will be Saturday, Sept. 25 from 10 - 2 at Jimmy and Nancy Cannoy's property in Snow Creek. Signs will mark the way from US 220 and VA 40 East. This is our only scheduled fund raiser for 2021 - so we're offering free admission and hoping folks will make donations toward our work.

    Jimmy's installed some new artwork and found more "treasures" for us to enjoy. And we've got a huge bucket of moonshine-theme goodies for the annual raffle. We've also got all kinds of "gifts" for the car owners' drawing. Be ready for the 50/50 drawing - new unique T-shirts - and other fun stuff. Floyd Anderson and his mouth ( system) will be back to help out. Buddy's BBQ will be back with food.

     As always, no registration fee for car owners - just bring your ride and park it to show. We welcome all vehicles that either hauled moonshine likker back in the day - or could have - or, well, maybe does now. Parking is on well maintained grass.

Thanks to everyone who made our 3rd annual event Saturday, Sept. 25, 2020 a huge success!Hearty thanks to Jimmy  & Nancy Cannoy for sharing their beautiful property and collection of cars and more. We had lots of cars and people for this - our only fund raising event for 2020. Thanks to our team of volunteers who made it all happen and to Buddy's BBQ who brought great food for us. We appreciate all the donations and kind words plus support of all kinds. We couldn't have made it this year without help from our history buddies.

See It in the Museum!

The first picture is from a new collection. Diagnostic snakes! Circa 1860s. Kept by Dr. Henry Dillard in this Civil War-era whiskey bottle to help patients identify the snake that bit them. When we're open again, you can see many items from this local doctor's practice. Thanks to donors Drs. Frances Amos and Jack Bumgardner for this wonderful collection. We hope to be able to share it soon.


April is Moonshine Heritage Month in Franklin County!

Since you aren't able to visit us, we decided to post a photo of an item in our Moonshine collection each Wednesday. The first one, April 1, 2020, is a folding skeleton key from the Mountain Rose Distillery operated by Joe H. de-Hart. We've got lots of artifacts from this mostly legal moonshine distillery. Joe carried this key in his pocket. Wasn't it a smart idea to make big keys folding back in the early 1900s?!

Moonshine Jar Passports!

Coming back in 2022! Watch for the date and details.

It's time to plan for fun.

We'll do Find it! Snap it! Post it!

Plan to pick up your Moonshine Passport at the History Museum and participating businesses when the new date is announced. Then the hunt is on - big bucket drawing among those who find all the jars and return the completed Passpsort.

Find it! Visit local business places on your Moonshine Passport to locate the "jars". Have an employee initial your find.

Snap it! Make a photo of yourself with the jar.

Post it! Transfer that photo to our Moonshine Passport FaceBook page.

Find all the "jars" in Rocky Mount businesses - find real glass Mason jars using hints in your passport out in the county. Find it! Snap it! Post it!

Various levels of prizes - find 5, find 10, find all the glass ones - find 'em all for a chance at the big bucket full of moonshine-theme goodies. Because of the prizes offered, you must be 21 for the drawing. (You can get help hunting from the younger generation.) Watch for updates.

We know how to have fun - and we can prove it!

Honoring a Mother - and Patriot

Cancelled. Watch for a new date. We have a project book detailing the history of the Robert Hill Indian Fort and our preservation work. If you'd like one, plan to pick up on our back porch - or we can mail a copy. $15 plus $6 s/h. It's spiral bound - with color photos and lots of information about the Hill family's contributions to our local area, the state and nation.

Work is continuing on the latest preservation effort. Master mason Russell Whalen did a great job on rock work. Virginia's Old Carolina Road Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution installed bulbs and plantings in November. We are anxious to show it all off. The site is on the Christian Heritage Academy campus, Rocky Mount. If you visit during school hours, please remember to go by the school office to sign in. This is part of the security protocols for CHA and us. When we can, we will dedicate a historic marker for Vialetta/Violet Linus Hill, mother of Revolutionary War soldier sons Swinfield and Thomas Hill. Violet herself provided material aid to soldiers. She married Robert Hill in Newgarden, Pennsylvania, Nov. 12, 1741 and journeyed with him to the area that would become Franklin County, Virginia, and later the United States of America. Join us as we honor her and her patriotic family at the ruins of their old home - a blockhouse/fort built to protect the family and neighbors in time of Indian attack. The latest restoration work at the site plus some new benches will hopefully be completed by the time of the new event date. Our thanks to Daughters of the American Revolution Virginia State Regent LeeAnn Turbyfill for providing a grant for this latest work. We also are receiving donations from individuals to supplement the work and appreciate each and every one.

Watch for details.

We're assisted by Virginia's Old Carolina Road Daughters of American Revolution, Jubal Early Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy and other heritage organizations.

Veterans Memorial Day

Cancelled again this year by COVID-19. Watch for a new event and date!

Veterans Memorial DayFranklin County Historical Society honors Franklin County casualties of all wars and military conflicts each year. Special emphasis is  placed on veterans of the War Between the States as this war touched literally every household in the county.

We are assisted by Jubal Early Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy, Virginia’s Old Carolina Road Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, area chapters of Sons of the American Revolution and Sons of Confederate Veterans, War of 1812 organization – and representatives of other heritage organizations.

The event is free. Features include a guest speaker and firing of a military salute. We encourage the public to join us and show your patriotism.

Moonshine Express - Cancelled for 2021.

Our plans for this year did not materialize due health concerns and more. We plan to be back in 2022. Watch for the date.

In the meantime, we've got 2019, 2020 (and a few previous years') t-shirts available for special discounted purchase. Shirts come in a glass Mason jar. Send a message if you're interested.

New shirts - 2022 edition - ready in June in time for the June 12 Court Days event in Rocky Mount. We'll have some of the old ones and some other moonshine-theme items on our table at the Farmers Market.

When we can produce Moonshine Express again, we'll STILL have fun and we'll STILL tell tales  - just at another time and in a slightly different way!

Our sponsors for the 2020 event are greatly appreciated and will be featured in the next tour booklet. If you see them, please say thanks on our behalf.  The list is below.

The History Museum stocks books about the likker trade all the time. Plus our own custom-designed T-shirts, other folks' T-shirts, postcards, a Cat's Meow Village rendition of our still out back and other gifts for you or others. 

Sponsors for 2020: The Town of Rocky Mount, Haywood's Jewelers. Carbo Inc., Shively Electrical Co., Henry & Mary Fulcher. Franklin Dental Associates, Franklin County Tourism program, CAPPS Home Building Center, Flora Funeral Service, Lynch-Conner-Bowman Funeral Home, Flowers by Jones, Dillon Docks.

Moonshine Express

Thanks to the moonshiners - we mean "legal distillers" - who help us entertain guests: Joe & Robert Bondurant of Bondurant Brothers Distillery, Chris & Anna Prillaman of Twin Creeks Distillery, Henry Lee Law (and Kenny, too) of Law's Choice and Tim Smith of Tim Smith Moonshine. Thanks to Lane Rakes as well - who talks about the other side of the law - and former ABC agent Buddy Driscoll who represents "the law."

Old Mansion 1820 - Cancelled

We celebrated the 200th birthday of the Boon-Bernard-Crockett house in the Cahas Historic District of Boones Mill in a different way. The professional video is available on line now on the Old Mansion 1820 site. Check out the Facebook page: Old Mansion 1820 for details. Old times truly are not forgotten in Boones Mill! Watch for other details soon about more plans for celebrating this history home and the folks who live/lived there.

Holiday Remembrance

The annual ceremony to remember Confederate veterans buried in the historic High Street Municipal Cemetery, Rocky Mount, was cancelled for 2020. We did mark veterans' graves as usual with holiday greenery using natural materials gleaned from the home of Will and Joyce Young in Franklin County and fashioned into grave sprays by members of Jubal Early Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy and Virginia's Old Carolina Road Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. We invite everyone to visit the veterans' final resting places - and take a look at other graves which hold many other movers and shakers of our town and county. Revolutionary War and Confederate veterans' graves in Tanyard Cemetery, Rocky Mount, also received holiday sprays made by the heritage groups' members. The DAR recognized Rev War vets with a short ceremony in the cemetery.

Contact us for more information: 540.483.1890 or

Coke & Shine Exhibition - open as soon as we get the all-clear!

Visit! The collection is growing. This part of our complex will open to the public first. We have enhanced exhibits and more items to show. Among them is a collection shared by Jake and Jane Waller, former Coke employees, and long-time collector Betty Jones. Plans will be announced.

So many people to thank for our June 1, 2019 grand opening/open house.

And thank you, Empire Bakeries for the cake! Not only was it pretty - the cake was very good. So were the moonshine cookies and the Coca-Cola cookies. Thanks to chef Janet Faye West.


During the festivities, we officially thanked "the boss" of the project - our director Henry Fulcher. He kept us in line, oversaw all the work (plus did much of it himself), provided tools, materials and more.

    Among people to thank for our annex becoming the Coke & Shine Exposition are our Platinum donors. The main one had been anonymous until the June 1 opening. We are happy to now announce that this donation is in honor of Mr. & Mrs. Albert Gene Stratmann. Mr. Stratmann is deceased and his wife was hospitalized and unable to attend the festivities. We appreciate this support and interest in history.

      Another Platinum donor remains anonymous.

      We appreciate Gold donors: Mary Fulcher  who made and sold lots of Santa ornaments - aided by Becky Pendleton (whom we also thank for the flooring and more "anonymous" gifts!); Aida Morgan who is  descended from Confederate soldier Edward Trent Bridges; Patricia Woods Baynham  in honor of her ancestor, Franklin County's first sheriff Robert Woods; Peggie Foster, Millard Lemon, L.D. Arrington.

     Many thanks to Silver donors: Robin Burke in honor of her parents Johnny & Feny Robinson; Todd Mason, Elizabeth Webster, Will Young, Marvin Hale, Julia Griffis, Sam & Ruth Cook, Henry & Lynda Messenger, Betty Fimiani in honor of William Buck Perdue; The Sink Family in honor of Confederate Pvt. Jonathan Sink; Rebecca Walker in honor of Linda Stanley.

     We also thank Bronze donors: Frances Dillon in honor of Claude Holland; Virgil H. Goode Jr., Addie Lang, Jackson Hale, Linda Stanley in honor of Martha Young; Lee & Doris Eames.

      And thank you to Copper donors: Steven Young, William Pop Hill, Donald A. Bull, Janice Holland, Nina Payne Ross, Bill & Shelley Clarke White.

      Sincere appreciate is extended to Linda Rucker Hubbard who donated toward the building signage in honor of her brothers Jimmy & Sam Rucker. Thank you to Mary Turner of Indigo Signs for the wonderful antique Coke signs and the design work. Thanks also to Turner Ready Mix for the front porch; Seven Oaks Landscaping; Kirk Willing for carpentry and more. We appreciate all the others including donors who provided the displays and those who worked behind the scenes in many ways.

     Thank you also to Mayor Steve Angle for kind words and to Donna Wray, president of the Community Partnership for ribbon cutting duties.

Here are some of our visitors for opening day: Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Metz, Ruth Meador, David Smith, Betty and Jack Dillon and Ruth Cook.


August 24, 2018

We celebrated our 50th anniversary with lots of friends! Thanks to everyone who came, who bought tickets and didn't make it (but supported us anyway) and especially to those who purchased auction items.

Special thanks to Carilion Clinic who helped us secure music by Ernie Power, Jay Shelton, Rodger Doss and Gene Parker! And to those who made monetary donations including Robin Robinson Burke, Bob Camicia, Henry & Mary Fulcher. We appreciate all of the donors of time, money and stuff!

A great big thank you to Empire Foods for beautiful - and delicious cakes! Some of us are posing with happy faces after seeing the cakes - left to right: Doris Eames, Johnny Bowman, Linda Stanley, Zach Wimmer and Allen Jones. (Thanks to Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce for the sign - which we recycled with the help of Indigo Signs - to make it our own.)

And thanks to the folks who donated items for the auctions and the event and helped make it happen: Franklin County Parks & Recreation, Charles & Sarah McDaniel, Franklin County Distillers, Carter's Fine Jewelers, Haywood's Jewelers, Angle Hardware, The Growing Place, Homestead Creamery, Cliff & Marsha Faye, Johnny Bowman, Kenny's Painting, WoodGrains, Cooper Classics, Ruth Meador, The Willard Companies (Westlake Golf Course/Westlake Cinema), Blooming Deals, Brenda Raine, Frances Dillon, Janet Faye West, Doris Eames, Shirley Dent, Martha Hubbard, Lee 'Butch' Eames Jr. - The Wood Doctor, McDonald's, Flowers by Jones, Zach Wimmer, Henry Fulcher, Ann Lewis Edmundson, Bud & Carolyn Blanchard, CAPPS Home Building Center.