1779
Patrick Cassidy serves under Captain Luke Ryan, an Irish smuggler and pirate who is hired as a privateer by Benjamin Franklin to command the secret Black Fleet during the American War of Independence. Benjamin Franklin is regaled by the Irish sailors with tales of the so-called ‘Elizabeth’s Treasure’—lost riches of the Spanish Armada wrecked off the coast of Ireland in 1588.

 

1795

In debt from the Revolutionary War and fixated on the late Franklin’s stories, George Washington commissions an Irish privateer to seek out Elizabeth’s Treasure. Patrick’s old ship, The Hidden Spirit, now captained by his son, Jack Cassidy, is chosen by the newly formed US government for the voyage. Successful in his mission, Captain Jack’s crew finds chests laden with gold, along with barrels of stolen uisce beatha (Gaelic for “water of life”)—medieval alchemists’ whiskey, distilled with age-old secrets of elixirs. Jack’s father spoke of it as “the golden shimmer” from ancient myths of the Ó Caiside line of Druid physicians. When the American governor aboard Jack’s ship refuses to pay the crew fairly with the bounty they salvaged, Jack kills the governor, and he escapes with his crew to José Gaspar’s pirate kingdom in Spanish Florida.

 

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1798

Jack spends the next few years rumrunning for Gaspar, before he returns to Ireland and uses his share of Elizabeth’s Treasure to fund the efforts of the United Irishmen. Comprising of Gaelic Irish alongside Ulster-Scots, they unify in support of republican ideals, which leads to the failed Irish Rebellion of 1798. With his rebel compatriots massacred, and wanted by the British, Jack gathers other survivors and they emigrate to the US to join a large settlement of Ulster-Scots at the base of the Appalachians in Wilkes County, North Carolina.

 

1801

Jack bonds with a local farmer by the name of Maggie McBride, whose family fled to North Carolina from Pennsylvania after the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. Maggie and the other Scots-Irish farmers distil their excess corn into unaged whiskey, which is easier and more profitable to transport over the mountains than the more cumbersome maize. Jack learns the ways of distilling from Maggie. They get married and have a son, James Cassidy.

 

1864

James grew up learning the whiskey business from his parents, and passed it onto his own son, Billy Cassidy. During the American Civil War, Billy joins the underground pro-Union group the “Red Strings” a.k.a. the Heroes of America. Billy helps guide escapees from Salisbury Prison over the Appalachians to safety. He becomes close with Clara “Clyde” Read, a young woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for the North.

 

1870

At the end of the Civil War, Billy and Clara got married and ran the old Cassidy distillery in Wilkes County. However, with the steep tax on liquor reintroduced at the onset of the war, lawmen are now actively patrolling Appalachia for tax-evaders, so Billy and Clara go underground, turning to bootlegging and distilling at night—moonshining—to continue undetected. The famous Appalachian corn whiskey of Billy’s Scots-Irish ancestors has become widely known as moonshine.

 

1876

The conflict between moonshiners and revenuers is getting violent, and the cash value of Appalachian farms is decreasing. So, Billy and Clara move out west to the prosperous state of Kansas to provide a better future for their young son, Clyde Cassidy. They settle in Reno County, near Hutchinson. Billy and Clara become honest farmers, prospering off the vast and fertile land, with the Hutchinson railroads making for booming trade. Clyde grows up hearing the stories of the Cassidy family’s colourful past of moonshining, rebellion and piracy—a far cry from life as a farmer.

 

1899

Following his father’s death and mother’s remarriage, Clyde ran away from home, desperate for a life of adventure. He befriended Bob Parker, whose gang he helped rob a bank in Telluride. Bob, or “Butch”, started using the alias Cassidy in honour of his young accomplice. Within a couple of years of riding with Butch, Clyde was soon forming his own gangs, committing bank and train robberies throughout the Midwest. Clyde was handsome and charismatic, attracting many women and hangers-on during his escapades. However, after breaking loose from a shootout in Dodge City, a badly wounded Clyde ends up in the small town of Coldwater and falls in love with Ada Adams, a saloon keeper who nurses Clyde back to health at her family’s saloon.

 

1904

Clyde gave up the outlaw life for Ada, and they were now happily married. Unfortunately, Ada’s saloon was at risk of going bust, so Clyde had to covertly return to his criminal ways to keep the saloon afloat. He followed in his parents’ footsteps and started moonshining. But after a few years of moonshining in-house, Cassidy’s makeshift still can’t keep up with the high demand for moonshine, so he turns the saloon into a clandestine meeting point to strike deals with notorious moonshiners and distillers, and expand his Moonshine Empire. It isn’t long before the law gets involved, and the county sheriff gets shot.

 

1920

Following World War I, the United States adopt national prohibition. It bans the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcoholic beverages—but not consumption. Individuals can still enjoy drinking in the privacy of their own home. After the saloon is forced to close, it reopens as ‘Cassidy’s Pharmacy’. Clyde starts fulfilling (and forging) prescriptions for “medicinal whiskey”, selling and delivering to locals. After his run-ins with the law, Clyde has his stills moved out to the mines in Southeast Kansas. His moonshine becomes known as “Deep Shaft”. It quickly starts supplying all parts of Kansas, and travels as far as both coasts and overseas, celebrated for its high quality. If you want the best whiskey in Capone’s Chicago, you ask for Cassidy’s.

 

1934

Between 1915 and 1934, the self-styled “King of the Moonshiners” had a thriving empire across the whole of the United States, operating from various hideouts and speakeasies. Clyde’s gang distilled and supplied millions of dollars’ worth in illicit liquor. Clyde’s sons Bobby and Billy beg to join the family business. Reluctantly, and against Ada’s wishes, Clyde agrees, but this is where the law finally catches up with the Cassidy clan. Bobby and Billy land in Kansas’ Leavenworth Penitentiary. And, after being caught smuggling moonshine behind bars, they’re transferred to the new maximum-security Alcatraz Penitentiary—Bobby in Cell Block C, and young Billy in Cell Block A. But Bobby is undeterred. With a covert system in place for smuggling in contraband through the canteen, Bobby manages to have liquor flowing through the prison for the inmates to enjoy.

 

1889

Following his father’s death and mother’s remarriage, Clyde ran away from home, desperate for a life of adventure. He befriended Bob Parker, whose gang he helped rob a bank in Telluride. Bob, or “Butch”, started using the alias Cassidy in honour of his young accomplice. Within a couple of years of riding with Butch, Clyde was soon forming his own gangs, committing bank and train robberies throughout the Midwest. Clyde was handsome and charismatic, attracting many women and hangers-on during his escapades. However, after breaking loose from a shootout in Dodge City, a badly wounded Clyde ends up in the small town of Coldwater and falls in love with Ada Adams, a saloon keeper who nurses Clyde back to health at her family’s saloon.”

1899

Following his father’s death and mother’s remarriage, Clyde ran away from home, desperate for a life of adventure. He befriended Bob Parker, whose gang he helped rob a bank in Telluride. Bob, or “Butch”, started using the alias Cassidy in honour of his young accomplice. Within a couple of years of riding with Butch, Clyde was soon forming his own gangs, committing bank and train robberies throughout the Midwest. Clyde was handsome and charismatic, attracting many women and hangers-on during his escapades. However, after breaking loose from a shootout in Dodge City, a badly wounded Clyde ends up in the small town of Coldwater and falls in love with Ada Adams, a saloon keeper who nurses Clyde back to health at her family’s saloon.