‘Bad Boys’ set to hit Easley stage Thursday

3-11 Page 5A.inddEASLEY — Murder, mayhem and moonshine will come to the stage in the play “Bad Boys of the Upcountry,” an original docudrama about the lives and families of two famous men who lived by their own laws during the brutal years of Reconstruction in Upstate South Carolina.

Considered a Robin Hood by many and a murderer by federal troops, Manse Jolly, a native of Anderson County’s Lebanon community, was a Confederate soldier who never surrendered.

A master moonshiner of the region, Lewis Redmond was said to have made the best liquor in the nation, albeit illegal. He was more famous in his time than Jesse James and had his life, both fact and fiction, splashed across the pages of national and international newspapers.

Anne Sherrill Jolly, played by Annette Sutherland Garland, brought up a family of 13 children in Anderson County, among them Manse, one of her seven sons who served in the Confederacy and one of the two who came home. In the play, Anne shares details of the hard life faced by women and children in the region in their struggle for survival.

Manse Jolly, played by Philip Cheney, explains in the play why he waged war against the federal occupation and military law in Anderson County and how he evaded capture before striking out for Milam County, Texas.

Adeline Ladd Redmond, played by Olivia Fowler, was the wife of Lewis Redmond. In the play, she gives a first-person account of her brother Amos Ladd’s murder by revenue officers and the ambush and capture of her husband.

Lewis Redmond, played by Robert Wood, talks in the play about the business of moonshining and describes his killing of U.S. Marshal Alfred Duckworth. Both Jolly and Redmond were a product of the times and the region, and both had $10,000 rewards issued for their capture at one time.

The play, sponsored by the Birchwood Center for Art and Folk Life, will be performed at the Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library in Easley at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, as part of the Reunion of Upcountry Families. Seating will be limited to 200, and admission will be $10 and may be paid at the door.