Claire Hertzler talks “The High Sheriff of Greene,” with Harbor Club Book Clubs, combined meeting, March 5, 2020, Lake Oconee, Greensboro, GA. These folks were eager to read and learn about the history that happened all around them. Hertzler found it fun to interact with such an enthusiastic group.
L.L. Wyatt was recruited, at age 21, to Greene County during Prohibition of the 1920s to break up a thriving moonshine industry. Known as the moonshine capital of Georgia, this little area east of Atlanta was the source of liquor for the best hotels in Atlanta and across the South. Young Wyatt’s battles with the bootleggers soon made him a larger than life figure. Stories of his fearlessness, his agility, his honesty and his fairness in enforcing the law rippled throughout the county Greene and swept all citizens up into the aura of L.L. Wyatt. Bolstered by a sense that God was protecting him, Wyatt was totally fearless. He was “shot at, spit upon, bitten, and cursed,” but in five years, he transformed the reputation of Greene County to one of the most crime free in Georgia. For 52 years, he was on the job confronting the ongoing battle between good and evil. Wyatt, at 70, received national acclaim and the attention of Hollywood when he stopped the car of armed bank robbers and freed two hostages.
More than a story out of the past, Sheriff Wyatt shows the reader that one person can change his/her culture. His ideals challenge law enforcement and society alike to hold a firm respect for the law while enforcing it in a manner that preserves dignity. Long before integration, Wyatt was known as “the black peoples’ friend” and the “white people’ friend.” He was a community-oriented lawman before anyone ever heard of one.
This story is set in an area rich in Georgia history described well by the author.
Meet Georgia's Version of Elliot Ness in Claire Hertzler's book
The High Sheriff of Greene County
The True Story of the Legendary Lawman L. L. Wyatt
Saturday - March 16
11am to 2pm
The Southern Pen Bookshop
(located inside the Monroe Mercantile)
Georgia was knee deep in moonshine during prohibition. It flowed as freely as the mountain streams of North Georgia. But, the capital for moonshine was located in Greene County. A rural county east of Atlanta. It supplied Atlanta with the fiery white liquid that whetted the taste for alcohol and line the pockets of those on the wrong side of prohibition and a few that were suppose to be upholding the law.
All of this changed with a young sheriff named L.L. Wyatt. Claire Hertler's book, The High Sheriff of Greene County tells both the myth and the legend of this one man's efforts to clean-up Greene County despite the threats and dangers against him.