The Rum-running Queen

1921 photo of confiscated barrels and bottles.                                       (Photo source: Library of Congress)

I was just nerding-out to a show about American history on Netflix when something captivated all my attention: The mention of a woman by the name of Willie Carter Sharpe who was an outlaw in 1928 during prohibition. At 26 years old, she ran bootleg-liquor across the border of Virginia, to other states, often with police chasing her, shooting at her tires. They called her the Rum-running Queen.

“It was the excitement that got me… Cars skattering, dashing along the streets.” -Willie Carter Sharpe.

Wouldn’t that be an awesome premise for a movie? “The Rum-Running Queen”

When you look her up on Google, there is very little information about her: Just a few blurbs here and there including this brief mention from the Franklin News Post.

“Some of those witnesses [from a trial], called rumrunners, said they had moved more than a million gallons of whiskey out of the county during the period covered in the indictment, traveling in caravans at high speed with ‘pilot’ cars running interference to ‘ward off any officers that tried to stop them.’ (One of those rumrunners was a woman, Mrs. Willie Carter Sharpe, who said she moved more than 220,000 gallons between 1926 and 1931.” 

I would love to know more about this interesting historical figure.

Here is the brief clip about her from the history show. For whatever reason, I could only find it in French. But it gives you the idea. (Fast forward to :39 to see Ms. Willie Carter Sharpe)


Franklin News Post. “Moonshining built on long history” 2015. Web. 2015. 

“America: The Story of Us” Season 1 Episode 8. Directors, Marion Milne, Jenny Ash, Clare Beavan, Andrew Chater, Nick Green, and Renny Bartlett. Netflix. April 2010. Web. April 2015.