From: "Don Hamrick" <[email protected]>
THE BATTLE OF ATHENS, TENNESSEE — FROM MY OWN
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 outside writer:
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
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
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 are numbered.
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
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
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 Lincoln
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
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 McMinn County.
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
SOURCE: The Knoxville Journal, August 10, 1946; Page 1, 2.
Arkansas GIs Threat New Riots
Say Athens, Tenn., Outbreak May Be Mild In
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
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
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
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,
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
SOURCE: The Chattanooga Daily Times, Thursday, August 8,
Repeat on Athens Narrowly
Crockett County Just Misses Election Day
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 violence."
Butler said his opponent was supported by "a machine."
The Chronology of The Battle of
Election Day, August 1, 1946
Voting poles opened. Voter turn out was heavy.
The First Flare Up — Precinct 1 (Courthouse)
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
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
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
"This is causing a lot of bitterness, and a lot of it will come later
today," a man remarked.
The Shooting of Tom Gillespie
Precinct 11, Athens Water Company Building
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
Gillespie protested to Deputy Windy Wise, "I've always voted here
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 treatment.
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
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,
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
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
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 Street, Athens.
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
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
"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 frame.
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 Commission Office.
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
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 came near.
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
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
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
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 the engagement.
Transport Seven Captured Deputies Out of Town
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
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
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
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 Threaten
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 Ellis.
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 structures.
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
Last Warning! Deputies Threaten Hostages'
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 jail.
GIs Escalate The Fight With Use of Dynamite
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 stopped.
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 scarred jail.
Riots & Destruction Begin
Automobiles belonging to deputy sheriffs overturned in streets, smashed
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 victory.
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
Cleansing & Restoration
4:00 p.m. Friday to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3
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 town.
GIs on Patrol
7:00 p.m. Saturday Aug. 3 to Sunrise Sunday, Aug. 4
Athens is patrolled by GIs and citizens.
George Woods Returns to McMinn County Under GI
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
"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 gunfire.
"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 majorities.
"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:
Frank Carmichael — Trustee
Bill Hamby — Circuit
Charlie Pickle — Register of Deeds
Campaign Mgr for the
G-Is was Jim Buttram.
George Woods returns to McMinn County under protection by the
Sheriff Mansfield Resigned
5:00 p.m. Sunday
Word is received from Nashville that Mansfield had resigned as
George Woods Declares GI's Elected
10:00 a.m. Monday, August 5
George Woods signs election certificate declaring GIs officially McMinn