From a JPFO Supporter
THE BATTLE OF ATHENS, TENNESSEE
— FROM MY OWN RESEARCH —
I have done my own research into the
Battle of Athens, Tennessee, 1946, and even traveled to Athens,
Tennessee, for that research. The following are the pristine
examples of a fight for freedom that I uncovered from my
SOURCE: The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tenn., August 7, 1946;
pages 1, 6.
Mrs. Roosevelt Grasps Local Facts
Better Than Most
Editor's Note — Our attention has
been called to Mrs. Roosevelt's column upon McMinn. She seems to
have grasped the facts and significance better than any other
McMinn A Warning — By Eleanor
New York, Monday — After any war, the
use of force throughout the world is almost taken for granted.
Men involved in the war have been trained to use force, and they
have discovered that, when you want something, you can take it.
The return to peacetime methods governed by law and persuasion
is usually difficult.
We in the U.S.A., who have long boasted
that, in our political life, freedom in the use of the secret
ballot made it possible for us to register the will of the
people without the use of force, have had a rude awakening as we
read of conditions in McMinn County, Tennessee, which brought
about the use of force in the recent primary. If a political
machine does not allow the people free expression, then
freedom-loving people lose their faith in the machinery under
which their government functions.
In this particular case, a group of
young veterans organized to oust the local machine and elect
their own slate in the primary. We may deplore the use of force
but we must also recognize the lesson which this incident points
for us all. When the majority of the people know what they want,
they will obtain it.
Any local, state or national
government, or any political machine, in order to live, must
give the people assurance that they can express their will
freely and that their votes will be counted. The most powerful
machine cannot exist without the support of the people.
Political bosses and political machinery can be good, but the
minute they cease to express the will of the people, their days
This is a lesson which wise political
leaders learn young, and you can be pretty sure that, when a
boss stays in power, he gives the majority of the people what
they think they want. If he is bad and indulges in practices
which are dishonest, or if he acts for his own interests alone,
the people are unwilling to condone these practices.
When the people decide that conditions
in their town, county, state or country must change, they will
change them. If the leadership has been wise, they will be able
to do it peacefully through a secret ballot which is honestly
counted, but if the leader has become inflated and too sure of
his own importance, he may bring about the kind of action which
was taken in Tennessee.
If we want to continue to be a mature
people who, at home and abroad, settle our difficulties
peacefully and not through the use of force, then we will take
to heart this lesson and we will jealously guard our rights.
What goes on before an election, the threats or persuasion by
political leaders, may be bad but it cannot prevent the people
from really registering their will if they wish to.
The decisive action which has just
occurred in our midst is a warning, and one which we cannot
afford to overlook.
SOURCE: The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tenn., August 21, 1946;
Lincoln Said It And It Applies Now As Then
BY JOHN PECK
"The government, with its
institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever
they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can
exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their
revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." Abraham
We have seen the latter part of the
above quotation exercised here in McMinn County. We now have the
opportunity to see the first part of it carried out.
What Lincoln meant was just this: The
government of any group of people is in the hands of the people
and they must carry on an active part in maintaining their
government unless they want to abide by the rule of a few
unscrupulous persons who find ways and means of getting the
reins of power in governmental offices. If the people as a whole
do not maintain a vigilant watch over matters of government a
few people, grasping for power and domination find it easy to
undermine all the principles of democracy.
It has been said that the situation now
prevailing in McMinn County puts its citizens in the best
position of any county in the state and possibly in the nation
as to the control and manipulation of its government.
We are in just that position if the
people as a whole will attend the county-wide mass meetings
tomorrow night and participate in the election of the
representatives of their respective communities who will serve
on the Board of Directors of the Good government League of
The people who are elected must have
the knowledge that they have the backing of all the people in
their community when they go to the various meetings of the
Board of Directors and vote on the matters of government that
come before that body.
The choice is in your hands; 1. Take an
active part in your government, as is your duty and privilege as
a citizen, or 2. The next time you find that your government has
fallen into the hands of unscrupulous politicians just say,
"It's my own fault, I had a chance to do something about it
but slept through it."
SOURCE: The Knoxville Journal, August 10, 1946; Page 1, 2.
Arkansas GIs Threat New Riots
Say Athens, Tenn., Outbreak May Be Mild
Little Rock, Ark., Aug. 9 (UP) —
Determined veterans' opposition to entrenched local political
machines flared heatedly in several Arkansas counties today, and
one GI candidate said the Athens, Tenn., rioting would be
"mild in comparison if there are any irregularities"
at the polls.
At Malvern, William Weaver, veteran and
candidate for sheriff in Hot Springs County, charged his
opponent, Ed Deere, was "custodian" of the ballot
boxes and warned that "what will happen here" would
eclipse the Tennessee GI political revolt.
In Yell County, near the Oklahoma
border, a crowd of 1500 veterans prepared for a mass meeting
tonight to draft an independent ticket to oppose the machine
slate of Chancellor John E. Chambers in general elections in the
"free state of Yell."
In Hot Spring County, Weaver and Coyle
Collie, veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, are trying to
overthrow the long-entrenched machine of Sheriff Jack Knight.
GIs at Malvern planned a meeting
tomorrow night. Weaver said "we just want to get a foot in
the door of Knight's 'little Tammany' machine."
Meanwhile, a five-man committee of
veterans found an 87-vote discrepancy in votes cast for county
treasurer, thus placing Norman Gray, veterans' candidate, in a
runoff with incumbent Treasurer Ernest Stroud. The first
official count declared Stroud the winner with a majority, but
disgruntled GI forces appointed the committee last night to
examine the ballots.
In Ouachita a hot election loomed in
which veterans are opposing veterans.
Despite a no-political clause in its
constitution, the Arkansas Department of Veterans of Foreign
Wars entered the picture with a statement by State Commander Bob
Ed. Loftin, who charged politicians were trying to
"use" the VFW vote to influence undecided voters.
In Hot Springs (Garland County), a
final move to defeat the only successful GI candidate against
Mayor Leo McLaughlin's potent local machine, failed today.
Prosecuting Atty. Curtis Ridgeway,
defeated by ex-Marine Col. Signey McMath, demanded a recount,
but the new totals changed only two votes.
McMath was the only veteran-supported
candidate to win the recent primary.
SOURCE: The Chattanooga Daily Times, Thursday, August 8, 1946
Repeat on Athens Narrowly Avoided
Crockett County Just Misses Election
Alamo, Tenn., Aug 7 (AP) — a Crockett
County political leader revealed today that violence similar to
that which marked the Tennessee election at Athens last week was
narrowly avoided here.
J. T. Green, post commander of the
American Legion, disclosed that two mass meetings of veterans
were held to dissipate tension among the supporters of an air
force veteran, John Paul Butler, 26, who ran for state
"Our boys were ready to go,"
said Green, "but we didn't want an Athens job here. We want
to see what can be done legally in the matter."
Butler, whose campaign was managed by
Green, was defeated by former State Sen. W. H. Stallings of
near-by Friendship by 14 votes. Green said the result would be
contested before the state primary board. "It would have
been the same as Athens here," said Butler, "except
that we quieted our boys down. We talked them out of using
Butler said his opponent was supported
by "a machine."
The Chronology of The Battle of Athens
Election Day, August 1, 1946
Voting poles opened. Voter turn out was
The First Flare Up — Precinct 1
The Jailing of Walter Ellis
Shortly after 10:00 am
Conflicting reports as to when Walter
Ellis, GI election judge was arrested, one account says 9:30,
another says shortly after 10:00 am, but the overall details are
consistent. Ellis was summarily arrested and hauled off to the
county jail. He was replaced by Fred West. Dispute over who
exactly Fred West was immediately erupted. The sheriff's office
described West as another GI; Jim Buttram, the GI ticket manager
described him as a deputy sheriff and local bartender.
Ellis was held incommunicado at the
county jail, and Sheriff Mansfield's men flatly declined to
permit either reporters or Buttram to see him. Magistrate Herman
Moses, when asked what charges had been placed declared Ellis
had "attempted to perpetrate a fraud" by marking
ballots in Precinct 1, at the courthouse. Buttram admitted
frankly he did not know what had happened in the voting precinct
prior to Ellis' arrest but said Sheriff Mansfield's men refused
to permit him to make bond for Ellis or to tell him what charges
had been placed against the ex-GI.
The Courthouse (Precinct 1)
11:00 am-2:00 pm
The corridor of the courthouse was
crowded with voters, both men and women. Ellis already had been
removed, but evidently in fear of some disorder, about 20
deputies, hands on pistols, and blackjacks ready, pushed through
the crowd to the voting precinct.
This overgrown combat squad was
reinforced by several uniformed and armed city policemen and a
state highway patrolman with his hand fingering a heavy
The deputies ranged themselves around
the voting precinct and several, including one dressed like a
character from a western movie, placed themselves on the steps
where they could watch the entire corridor. Ex-servicemen regard
the day's proceedings with varying attitudes but most of them
displayed a bitterness seldom seen in the fighting lines. One
ex-soldier watching the guarded vote counting before it was
moved to the county jail said: "Over there we had something
to fight back with." Another remarked, "We just aren't
well enough organized and we haven't got guns. We haven't got a
chance with this gestapo."
"This is causing a lot of
bitterness, and a lot of it will come later today," a man
The Shooting of Tom Gillespie
Precinct 11, Athens Water Company
Tom Gillespie, a [black] farmer came
into the Athens Water Company building, which was serving as the
11th Precinct, to vote. It is not clear which of Cantrell's men
positioned himself behind Gillespie to observe his vote but when
he was observed to be preparing to vote "the wrong
way" the Cantrell man told Gillespie, "You'll have to
get out of here. You're voting in the wrong precinct."
Gillespie protested to Deputy Windy
Wise, "I've always voted here before."
For this monumental impertinence, Wise
slugged Gillespie with brass knuckles and shot him with what was
said to be a U.S. Army .45 as he stumbled out the door.
Gillespie suffered a flesh wound in the small of the back and
was taken off by deputy sheriffs for what they said would be
Just to show that the racial question
didn't enter into this travesty-on-an-election, the gold starred
deputies directed their attention to the GI election clerks and
women who were witnessing the count.
Apparently, their presence was
embarrassing to the professional election thieves. Election
Judge (and deputy sheriff) Karl Neil, pistol on hip, ordered Mrs
H. A. Vestal and five other women to leave the polls. "Get
out!" said Neil.
The women stood their ground. "We
have a right to watch you count the ballots," one said.
Go on, get out of here!" shouted
Neil, and the women filed out, protesting.
This wasn't enough. Four GI's remained
to keep the ballot thieves in line. They were James Edward
Vestal (Mrs. Vestal's son), Charles Scott, Jr., Charley Hyde,
and J. P. Cartwright.
The [Cantrell] machine had six of its
bigger bicep boys there, three wearing sidearms. Deputy Neil
then ordered Cartwright and Hyde to "go up in the front and
sit down." They said they couldn't see the count from
there. "Go on up front and sit down, you don't have to see
us count 'em." snarled a muscular thug.
Cartwright said he wouldn't stay if he
couldn't witness the count, so he and Hyde left. This left
Vestal and Scott as the only GI watchers for Precinct 11.
When Cartwright and Hyde emerged, a
roar of anger went up from the hundreds of citizens across the
street. The eight or nine deputies in front of the waterworks
office fingered their weapons. Charles Scott, Sr. sent word in
to his son and Vestal to "come on out. We don't want you
boys alone in there with those gangsters."
GI Judge Bob Hairrell Beaten 3:15 pm
Bob Hairrell, GI judge, beaten by Minis
Wilburn, officer of the election, 12 precinct, North White
The First Poll Closing (Illegally)
12th Precinct, Dixie Café
The first closing come at the 12th
Precinct, back of the Dixie Café and next to the county jail.
The legal closing time was 4 pm. The door was locked and Sheriff
Mansfield's men lifted an automobile to the sidewalk, placed it
directly in front of the precinct door. Two other cars were
placed across the narrow alley to block access to the area of
the voting place, and sheriff's deputies, hands on their
pistols, guard against entry into the area.
While GIs watched with a scowl Sheriff
Mansfield and a dozen of his deputies piled into two cars and
drove off to the 11th Precinct at the Water Commission office.
There, deputies, with guns ready, kept all observers away from
the sidewalk in front of the office, and a throng of several
hundred watched silently from across the street.
11th Precinct, Water Commission Office
Inside, according to stories the GIs
told later, Charles Scott, Jr., and James Howard Vestal,
watchers for the GI ticket, were ordered to take seats in front
of the room, while the vote counting, by Cantrell men, went on
at the rear. Vestal and Scott demanded that they either be
permitted to see the ballots or be allowed to leave the area.
The sheriff's men refused and ordered them to, "Sit down,
you're staying right here." They sat down. A few minutes
later, Scott told the machine politicians again that they were
leaving. At this, the machine men barricaded the ex-GIs behind a
counter and locked the door.
"We jumped on the counter, climbed
over it and tried to get out. The door was locked," Vestal
said "and Charlie hit it with his shoulder. They were right
at us and trying to slug us with knuckles and their guns. He
broke the glass and we stumbled through. Charlie was cut around
the shoulders. I got cut a little too, and fell down coming
through the door." The door was a plate glass set in a wood
A Sickening Sight
Then over a thousand people witnessed a
sickening sight. Vestal who was until January of this year a
first lieutenant in the army engineers corps and twice wounded
in the Pacific, scrambled to his feet, blood dripping from a
gash in his left hand. Scott too, picked himself up. Through the
broken glass, immediately on their heels squirmed Deputy Sheriff
Wendy Wise, a shiny .38 revolver poked out in front of his nose.
He shouted something which was lost in the moan which went
through the crowd. Women screamed; one shouted, "Oh, god,
here it comes." From a long line of ex-soldiers on the
sidewalk across the street came gasp's, then cries "let's
go get 'em!"; "No, we got no guns, stay away from them
.45s." Vestal and Scott, whether heeding Wise's orders or
through quick instinct, threw their hands high above their heads
and walked slowly and alone across the empty street to the
refuge of the crowd. Wise leveled his revolver at their backs,
then whirled with the instinct of the gunman to one side and
then the other to insure against a potshot at himself from the
crowd — then aimed again at the backs of the veterans. George
Spurling, another deputy, popped up at Wise's side and slowly
brought his pistol down in the direction of the retreating boys,
aiming either at them or some of the jeering GIs on the sidewalk
to which they were going. He and Wise for a few seconds gave
every appearance of being trigger happy. It seemed to us,
standing just across the street, that Spurling was in the act of
pressing his trigger when another deputy half grabbed his arm,
gave him a half-dozen swift slaps in the ribs as a signal not to
fire. As Vestal and Scott completed their long, measured march,
their GI comrades, boiling mad by now, cried to Wise and other
deputies, "Throw down your guns and come out in the street
and we'll fight you man for man.
Wise ducked back into the Water
But further activity was forestalled
when Chief Deputy Boe Dunn drove up in a blue sedan, with two
ex-soldiers, Felix Harrod, election clerk, and Tom Dooley,
election judge, for the all GI ticket were, being forcibly held
and transported by Dunn's group, as six men piled out. The
deputies formed a cordon from the precinct to the car and Dunn
himself went in and stole the ballot box. At least 15 pistols
were trained on the citizens of Athens as the deputies rolled
away with the ballot box. They went straight to the county jail.
Several citizens broke from the crowd, shouting, "Get your
guns, boys, get your guns!"
Vestal and Scott Taken To The Hospital
Vestal's wounds were treated by Dr.
C.O. Foree in the physician's clinic. Two stitches were required
to close the slash on his ankle. He also suffered a cut hand.
Vestal was a first lieutenant in the 3rd Combat Engineers, 24th
Division. He was overseas 30 months, was hit by a Jap hand
grenade once and wounded by artillery fire once. "How did
today compare to fighting overseas?" he was asked. He was
quiet for a moment. "Well, today it made you madder than it
did over there. And it was closer range."
First Violent Incident in McMinn County
Kennedy's Essankay Tire Company
W. O. Kennedy, Republican election
commissioner and crowd of veterans walked to Kennedy's garage
and tire shop near the center of town. Two deputies, with badges
and sidearms walked toward the crowd. This was a mistake as this
was most assuredly seen in the abstract a representation of a
decade of tyranny and oppression of a despotic government, the
Cantrell political machine. The crowd was quickly inflamed at
the arrogance of the two deputies and suddenly there were yells
of "Kill them, kill them" sounded in the streets. The
deputies drew their guns and prepared to shoot down anyone who
It is the trained and instinctive
nature of veterans of war to react offensively at such an
oppressive act committed by the deputies. Otto Kennedy and his
civilian task force accepted the challenge. They rushed across
the street and overwhelmed the two deputies before the pair
could choose a target for their fire.
W. O. Kennedy, his two brothers and
several other furious vets attacked the deputies with a proper
assault and battery upon their faces and ripping their clothes.
The crowds packing the main square
heard of an impending attack by the sheriff's force and rushed
to the scene.
First False Alarm
Cries of "here they come"
sent the onlookers scattering wildly for shelter but the garage
garrison stood firm and waited for the assault. When no more
gunmen appeared alter five minutes the crowd came out from the
hedges, homes and parked cars.
By now there were literally thousands
of people — mostly men — strung along a three-block area.
They were frightened people, and people who were ashamed of
their town's politics, but something in the attitude of these
embattled veterans held them.
Second Alarm Netted Two More Deputies
The veterans waited. The mob huddled
back against the store as soon as the shot came. Another
thunderous warning, "Here they come," emptied the
streets. It was an anti-climax. There were no onrush carloads of
deputies. Only two deputies appeared.
They had guns of course. But the group
at the garage had two guns now. Kennedy's rangers made short
work of them as they had the first two. The second pair were
marched into the garage to join the first pair. Chattanooga
Times reporter Richard Rogers attempted to mingle among the
crowd when he was spotted as an unrecognizable intruder by a
veteran and that veteran challenged him for his business being
there. The reporter identified himself and was promptly escorted
into the garage were the captured deputies were. In any act of
revolt there is the human nature to extract the same king of
punishment upon the tyrannical proponents that they had
inflicted upon the citizenry. The veteran guards over the four
deputies, in using intimidation and humiliation tactics common
in any war goaded any one or all the deputies to attempt
anything to give justification in the veteran's desire to shoot
them, saying "Go ahead, you sons of --------. I'd love to
kill every --------- one of you. The reporter's escort pushed
him closer to the deputies quite possibly to provide the
reporter the opportunity to interview the prisoners, saying to
the deputies, "Here's a reporter."
Third Alarm Nets Three More Deputies
This interview arrangement was
interrupted with another alarm warning from outside. "Here
they come!" The reporter's escort spun around, and ran
outside again. One guard ran after him. This left the four
deputies with one veteran guard and the reporter. The lone guard
threatened the prisoners saying, "If those guys get in here
and get me, I'll kill you first." Another yell bellowed
from the street. A veteran stuck his head through the door and
shouted "Watch out! They're going to rush us." The
reporter ducked behind a stack of tires.
Just then there came the loudest most
frightening, skin crawling roar of voices those people could
emit. The reporter saw the lone guard waving one gun in his
direction and upon seeing its muzzle, comparing it to the size
of Chattanooga's Braided Tunnel, he jumped through the window
which was behind him and the stack of tires.
Now out on the street the reporter had
seen that the crowd had grown and saw one carrying a 12-gauge
shotgun and another had a repeating rifle. Unexpectedly, three
deputies appeared on the street. Two were overcome immediately.
The third was overpowered by Otto Kennedy, throwing himself upon
the larger man, shoved his own .45 against the fellow's face and
the fight went out of the deputy. That was the last capture of
Transport Seven Captured Deputies Out
The crowd remained in the streets. The
veterans pleaded for volunteers to haul the deputies out of
town, and one by one, citizens came forward with automobiles.
One of these was an aged gentleman who
operates a hardware store near the Essankay garage. He
introduced himself as Emmett Johnson. "Do you live in
"I do. And today I'm ashamed of my
home. These gangsters have disgraced us. If the boys want my car
they can have it. They can have anything. They should have
started cleaning up on those crooks a long time ago." As
the deputies lives were in grave danger they were put into cars
and driven out of town. Then the crowd was told to scatter. The
crowd reluctantly dispersed.
W. O. Kennedy Interviewed By Five
Chattanooga Times Staff Reporters Kennedy agreed to an interview
with the Chattanooga Times. Five of the Times staff drove a mile
into the country to Kennedy's home. At the Kennedy home were
Otto Kennedy introducing his brothers J.P. and C.O.; J.B. Adams,
his son-in-law, and Frank McCracken.
Otto Kennedy revealed the deputies were
out-of-towners. And one claimed he got arrested this morning on
a traffic charge and instead of paying the fine they made him a
deputy and gave him a gun.
Second Ballot Box Taken To Jail
The sheriff's men, assisted by state
highway patrolmen and city policemen removed the automobile from
in front of Precinct 12 (Dixie Café) and carried the ballot box
into the McMinn County bastille, where presumably, Ellis and
several other GIs still were being held incommunicado. As the
sheriff's men carried the box across the jailhouse lawn, they
were preceded by two men armed with shotguns and followed by
four more equipped with heavy-gauge shotguns and high-powered
rifles. Apparently pistols, of which several hundred were on
display, were not longer considered to handle the occasion.
GI's Gather At GI Headquarters
GI's Converge On The Jail
A crowd of about 500 armed with pistols
and light rifles moved on the jail.
Ralph Duggan, a former Navy lieutenant
commander and a leader of the ex-GI's said the crowd was
"met by gun fire" and because they had "promised
that the ballots would be counted as cast," they had
"no choice but to meet fire with fire." Violence
flared anew with GIs reported firing on the county jail.
Shooting began around 9:00 pm for the first time. Sheriff Pat
Mansfield Interviewed By Chattanooga Daily Times Via Telephone
Sheriff Pat Mansfield breaks off
telephone conversations to Chattanooga Daily Times, stating
"I can't talk anymore — there's mob violence at the
County Jail right now. Things are too hot here now. I haven't
got time to talk to you — I'm standing in front of the
door." he said hurriedly as he hung up the telephone.
Sheriff Pat Mansfield and Deputies
Sheriff Pan Mansfield and deputies
threatened to kill three GI hostages held within the jailhouse.
The three GI hostages are Felix Harrod, Tom Dooley and Walter
Thousands of Rounds Exchanged
11:35 pm-12:40 am
Thousands of rounds of shots were
exchanged between ex-GIs and an estimated 75 deputies barricaded
in the McMinn County jail. No state guardsman had arrived at
12:40. Former soldiers were pouring lead into every opening in
the brick jail. The officers' returning fire was weakening. Some
GIs were firing from ground level across White Street. Others
were on roofs on the Power Company Building and other near-by
Tennessee State Guard Mobilized?
12:00 am (midnight)
State Adj.-Gen. Hilton Butler announced
that he was mobilizing the Sixth Regiment of the State Guard in
connection with election violence in McMinn County. This report
was later proven untrue.
GIs Cut Telephone Lines To The Jail
GIs cut telephone lines to the jail.
The officers, inside the jail, were out of ammunition or running
extremely low. Firing of the GIs included rapid bursts of 10 or
more shots. Apparently they were using some automatic rifles.
Last Warning! Deputies Threaten
Deputies sent out last warning that
they would kill three GI hostages within the jail immediately if
the firing did not end.
GIs Replied With Ultimatum Of Their Own
GIs issued an ultimatum to the deputies
to come out with hands upraised or the crowd would rush the
GIs Escalate The Fight With Use of
The ex-GIs went into action with
demolition charges — home made, but effective. After a fourth
blast had rocked the jail one of the deputies leaned from the
building and shouted "Stop that blasting. We'll give up —
we're dying in here. Firing continued a few moments then
The Deputies Surrendered
The officers began filing out of the
battered building. They were searched, and roughly, by the
attackers and marched back into the building to be locked in
cells under guard of the ex-GIs. When Wyse came out, several in
the crowd surged forward and mauled him with fists and elbows
before he could be returned to comparative safety of the bullet
Riots & Destruction Begin
Automobiles belonging to deputy
sheriffs overturned in streets, smashed and burned.
4:00 a.m. Sunrise.
Battle over. The veterans armed with
rifles were patrolling the streets to maintain order by sunrise.
George Woods Concedes
By telephone George Woods concedes GI
Paul Cantrell Concedes Defeat
Frank Cantrell, Mayor of Etowah issued
the following statement: "In behalf of my brother Paul
Cantrell, I wish to concede the election to the G.I. candidates
in order to prevent further shooting. (Signed) Frank Cantrell.
Deputies Released From Jail 9:00 a.m.
GIs Disperse 10:00 a.m.
Three-man Commission Elected
4:00 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3
Three man commission chosen as
governing body by mass meeting at Court House. Volunteers by
hundreds offer assistance in setting up government framework.
Cleansing & Restoration
4:00 p.m. Friday to 5:00 p.m. Saturday,
Curious crowds mill streets as the new
government cleans up "hot-spots." Beer sales banned.
Town is orderly.
Rumored Biggs-Mansfield Invasion Sets
GIs On Alert
9:00 p.m. Saturday
Rumor and newspaper story from
Knoxville sets off high strung nerves with the report that Biggs
and Mansfield will attempt to storm Athens.
1,500 Citizens Converge On Athens
Fifteen hundred citizens pour into
Athens with firearms to back the new government. Telephone calls
from neighboring cities pledge aid if needed in defense of the
GIs on Patrol
7:00 p.m. Saturday Aug. 3 to Sunrise
Sunday, Aug. 4
Athens is patrolled by GIs and
George Woods Returns to McMinn County
Under GI Escort
4:00 p.m. Sunday, August 4
G-I CLAIM ELECTION TO OFFICE — ISSUE
This special announcement was hand to
the Daily Post-Athenian and Radio Station WLAR at 3:02 A.M. by
the Non-Partisan Candidates for immediate release shortly before
the exodus of imprisoned officials in the county jail:
"The G-I election officials went
to the polls unarmed to have a fair election, as Pat Mansfield
promised. They were met with black-jacks and pistols.
"Several G-I officials were beaten
and the ballot boxes were moved to the jail. The G-I supporters
went to the jail to get these ballot boxes and were met by
"The G-I candidates had promised
that the votes would be counted as cast. They had no choice but
to meet fire with fire.
"In the precincts where the G-I
candidates were allowed watchers they led by three to one
"THE G-Is ARE ELECTED AND WILL
SERVE AS YOUR COUNTY OFFICIALS BEGINNING SEPT. 1st, 1946."
The G-I Candidates, thus claiming
election to officer are:
Knox Henry — Sheriff
Frank Carmichael — Trustee
Bill Hamby — Circuit Court Clerk
Charlie Pickle — Register of Deeds
Campaign Mgr for the G-Is was Jim Buttram.
George Woods returns to McMinn County
under protection by the GI-Citizens Government.
Sheriff Mansfield Resigned
5:00 p.m. Sunday
Word is received from Nashville that
Mansfield had resigned as sheriff.
George Woods Declares GI's Elected
10:00 a.m. Monday, August 5
George Woods signs election certificate
declaring GIs officially McMinn County Officers.