A fine line — a mighty fine line, they realized

At first, the trial was, as murder cases go, pretty straightforward. William Hall and Andrew Bryson were friends in their early 20s who lived near each other in the mountains north of Murphy. When the moonshine still that the two of them used went missing, they blamed each other. Then Hall, accompanied by a friend, John Dockery, hunted down Bryson. And on a warm summer day in July 1892, way up on a ridge, they confronted each other. Hall raised his Winchester rifle and shot Bryson dead.

“Hall and Dockery found themselves some good lawyers who brought up an interesting point. The ridge, it turned out, formed the state line between North Carolina and Tennessee….”

— From “How a Tar Heel Moonshiner Got Away with Murder (in 1892)” by

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