Researching in Georgia - Taliaferro, Toliver, Lawrence, Brewer, Askew, Dorsey, Jackson, Poole, Butler, Allen, Gilbert, Crawford, Middlebrooks, Gates, Parks, Thompson, Alford, Favors, Guise, and related surnames.

24 October 2009

Alexander “Alex” Taliaferro - Running A Blind Tiger

In genealogy we research to find out the Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Those are the basics. But, if you are like me, you often wonder what everyday life was like for your ancestors. What did they do; where did they go; and who did they see. We know that they had to work and take care of their families; deal with the struggles of day-to-day living. Of course, many attended church and school, and were probably involved in community activities. I am in constant search of anything that can shed more light on the daily life of my ancestors, and their extracurricular activities. I have found that historical newspapers are an excellent source for conducting this type of research. You never know what you might find.....and, as they say, be careful what you ask for.

A few days ago while on, I came across this interesting notice in the March 24, 1902, issue of the Atlanta Constitution:

My Taliaferro ancestors have a history in East Point, GA. The WHERE of this story fit with my research facts. Alexander "Alex" Taliaferro was my great, great uncle; son of Miles Taliaferro, my great, great grandfather; brother of my great grandfather John Wesley Taliaferro; uncle of my grandfather John Robert Taliaferro; and great uncle to my father John Lawrence Taliaferro. Alex was born about 1858 in Fulton, GA, and died sometime after this 1902 incident, probably in or close to East Point, GA. That’s the WHO and WHEN. But, WHAT in the world was a "blind tiger" and WHY was Uncle Alex running one?

I had never heard or seen the term "running a blind tiger" before. A quick search on Google revealed the following definitions: Blind Tiger - a place where illegal intoxicants were sold; Running a blind tiger - selling liquor without a license. So, now I have the WHAT. Uncle Alex and his buddies were selling liquor, illegally!!!! As the old folks say..they were running a liquor house. That really cracks me up, especially considering his brother John Wesley and his nephew John Robert were ministers.

All that remains unanswered is the WHY. Why was Uncle Alex selling illegal liquor? Was this a way to make extra money? Probably. Was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Maybe, but maybe not. Or, were dear Uncle Alex and his cohorts just up to no good? Possibly. I wonder if I can find out the outcome of the case. Like so many other questions in genealogical research, the WHY will unfortunately probably remain unanswered. At least I know something about one day in the life of my great, great uncle..Alexander "Alex" Taliaferro. I think I’ll go and have a glass of wine (or two) in honor of Uncle Alex!!


  1. That's a great post, Sandra. I know what you mean about wanting to find any little tidbit. I hope that I can add a Footnote subscription to my budget soon!
    I hope you enjoyed your wine! :)

  2. Excellent post Sandra,
    I to am interested in the daily doings of our ancestors. To me, it makes our research worth while to actally know what they did on a daily basis. As you can see, one of Uncle Alex's partners was drunk, so they could have been making it fo themselves. I to will have a glass of wine in honor of Uncle Alex!

  3. I found your blog while trying to find information for you. Please consider bringing the EP Historical Society copies of your East Point research so that we can have a record of your family. Want to add, there is a chance that were your folks lived could have been in a villiage located exactly where Tri-Cities High School is located today, It is much older that what they now call the East Washington community which was the set residental area for African American after 1912. There are a copule of other areas, one being where South Fulton Hospital is now and it was refered to as "Blakesville and Grabball". Please come to the East Point Historical Society and search through what we have on the early African American communities and see if you can find mention of your folks.


  4. Sandra,

    Great find. Even though I've not found anything, yet, that's why I have a subscription to Footnote.

  5. **Renate, I subscribe on the monthy plan. That way I can stop it when ever I'm not getting any results. I drop it for a few months then sign up again. That works best for me.

    **Felicia, Yes, I thought they were probably making it. Guess Uncle Alex just decided to go along quietly and didn't resist.

    **Steven, What a surprise!! I guess blogging is paying off; glad you found me. I will definitely get something together for the Society. I appreciate you helping me; maybe my research can help some other researcher.

    **Mavis, Just keep looking. I am finding some nice info on my family, and things on the slaveholders too. Some intersting stuff.


  6. That's cool to have found that old clipping about Uncle Alex. Shoot, Uncle A was just trying to survive the Jim Crow South & doing what he had to do!:-)