Luke Alexander Denny was born November 21, 1917. (I really never heard much about his early childhood years.) I do have an old picture of him and one of his cousins sitting on a horse when he appears to be about 3 years old. He is also shown in the group photograph of the Rock Spring students made in 1924. At the time, he was in the first or second grade. Luke never went to high school for he felt he would have to wear denim overalls, rather than khaki pants and a nice shirt. He never struck me as being particularly interested in farming. I do remember one time after he returned from the Army, he was doing some plowing and you could hear him cursing the mules from a long distance away.
Luke primarily hauled moonshine whiskey. He said that as a teenager he started stowing away in the vehicles used by some local haulers. When they caught him hiding away, they said to him: “Well, if that’s what you want to do, go ahead and come with us.” From that time on, he was a regular “rumrunner.”
Early in WWII, evidently he got caught and the judge gave him the choice of volunteering for the draft or going to jail. He chose the draft. He was a machine-gunner in Patton’s Third Army. I don’t know if he participated in either of the beachhead landings in Italy or not. I do know that he was in the Battle of the Bulge in Germany. He never was wounded during combat. I seem to remember him saying that one of the GI’s who replaced him during a battle was killed shortly after he took over. He never talked much about his wartime experience, but neither did many of the GI’s.
While he was away in combat in Europe, his aunts were agonizing over his safety which prompted Granny Tennie to say, “Why, I wouldn’t worry about him for he’s been dodging the Law for so long that he won’t have any trouble avoiding the Germans!”
Mama said that Sissy faithfully checked the mail every day for a letter from Luke and she said she could tell by the way she walked back home from the mailbox whether she had received any mail from him that day.
Except for that possible one time, he managed to elude the local police. He said one time he had a load of booze in the back of the car, and came up on some local deputies who stopped him and said they had heard that a “Luke Denny” was coming that way with a load of whiskey. They asked him who he was.