Newspaper Articles
Jackson County, Alabama

Winchester, Tennessee
November 22, 1862

The true object for which the Lincoln government is prosecuting the war, is well illustrated in an incident which occurred during the Federal occupation of Jackson County, Alabama: A patriotic matron annoyed, but not intimidated, by the uninvited visit of a Federal soldier, asked him-“What are you Yankees fighting for anyhow?” He returned for answer the stereotyped lie-“Why for the Union and the Constitution.” “Well,” said the matron, “I suppose you found the Union and Constitution when you stole Mrs. Simmon’s fat gourd, t’other day?”

Alexandria, DC
September 5, 1863

Gen. Burnside telegraphs that he took Kingston on Wednesday with a portion of Minty’s Brigade. He has met with no obstinate resistance, the country being mostly evacuated. His march from Kentucky across the Cumberland Mountains is represented as having been very wearisome and trying to his troops, consisting principally of cavalry, mounted infantry, and a strong force of infantry from Gen. Rosecrans’ Army. The headquarters of the army of the Cumberland are at Stephenson, in Jackson County, Alabama, a part only of the army having crossed the Tennessee River, with the design of destroying the Georgia Railroad and Breaking Bragg’s line of communication.

Shreveport, Louisiana
December 23, 1893

Dannie Roden of Jackson County, Alabama has had one of his legs three times broken by the kick of a calf.

Newberry, South Carolina
August 8, 1913

In Jackson County, Alabama the people voted a bond issue of $250,000 for road improvement and improved 24 per cent, of the roads. The census of 1900 gave the value of all farm lands in Jackson County at $4.90 per acre. The selling value at that time was $6 to $15 per acre. The census of 1910 places the value of all farm land in Jackson County at $9.79 per acre and the selling price is now $15 to $25. Actual figures of increased value following road improvement are shown.

Edgefield, South Carolina
March 2, 1921

Chattanooga, Tennessee, February 27.-
Renewed activities of night riders around Bridgeport and other Alabama towns resulted in an appeal today to federal authorities for protection by residents who have been attacked in their homes. The jail at Scottsboro is under special guard of state law enforcement officers as a precaution against mob violence as an aftermath of night riding in that section the past week.

According to reliable information reaching here today the farmers in the Bridgeport and Stevenson sections are keyed up to a high pitch of excitement over developments of the past few days. Jodie Beavers and John Brown, two farmers arrested Saturday by state law enforcement officers sent to Jackson County by Governor Kilby, are confined in the jail at Scottsboro. Brown is suffering from a wound alleged by the officers to have been sustained in the course of a raid on the home of Harry McGowan Thursday night by a band of 15 or 20 night riders. Both Beavers and Brown, it is said, have been identified by McGowan as members of the gang of alleged night riders who attacked his home. Both men deny having participated in the raid.

Information reaching Chattanooga today stated that night riders in Jackson County, Alabama, have dragged men from their homes and whipped them unmercifully and others have been warned to join the tenant’s union or take the consequences. Members of the union, while denying any part in the outrages, are charged with either taking part or inspiring these attacks. It is alleged that the night riders are attempting to enforce the principles of the tenants’ union, the raids being on homes or tenants who have refused to join.

Rock Island, Illinois
May 24, 1922

By W. G. Foster, Consolidated Press Correspondent
Chattanooga, Tennessee, May 24.-
The news from Washington that special platoons of federal prohibition agent are to invade Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas in a war on moonshine whisky means unquestionably that blood is to flow freely in the mountain districts of these southern states.

The prohibition commissioner will need to send sturdy men to cope with the illicit distillers and mountaineer bootleggers. There will be no comic opera Izzy Einstein and Mose Smith stunts in the wooded depths of the Appalachians. The statement of the national prohibition commissioner that this is to be a rifle and shotgun campaign shows some comprehension of the task in hand.

Already the feud between the moonshiners and the officers of the law has reached such a stage of bitterness that “shoot on sight” is almost the unwritten law of the hills. Within three months two sheriffs and three deputies have met death in courageous efforts to stop the flow of whisky into the city of Chattanooga alone. The moonshiners or bootleggers following many of the battles Have spirited away their dead and wounded, but the edge of the struggle is believed to rest with the officers.

“God-Given Right”

In the old days when the sale of liquor was legal, the moonshiner in this section of the Appalachians, unlike his relative farther north, was a law-abiding citizen, except that he made white whisky because he considered it his God-given right. Fatalities were rare even in the old revenue days, the owners of the stills more often surrendering when unable to make a getaway. With the coming of absolute prohibition the old-timer has either quit the business or has been transformed into a murderous individual with gun ever cocked; and his force have been augmented by the sporting fraternity who have been lured into the hazardous business by its tremendous profits and when brought to bay usually give no quarter and ask for none.

Sentiment has been somehow divided and feeling runs high on both sides of the conflict in the three states converging near here. Some officers of the law have been held for the grand jury because they used their shooting irons too freely. The state courts have held that if the sheriff fires first the moonshiners have the right to return the fusillade. Moonshiners, nevertheless, have been convicted of murder in such circumstances. What the complications will be when the federal officers begin their promised campaign no one can foretell.

Many Killings Already

The illicit liquor trade has made many notches in its gun, but the sheriffs have been able to hold their own because they know the mountains and the mountain ways. In this the problem of enforcement differs from the city cleanup the prohibition officers have been able to make in the north.

Beginning with the killing of Sheriff Catron of Walker County, Georgia, last fall, there have been almost daily battles in the moonshine country. Catron was trying to arrest a party of men who were coming to Chattanooga with a big load of liquor. He was shot by an unknown assailant and died almost instantly. A man named James Douglas was arrested soon afterward and convicted, but the case was reversed by the supreme court because the jury prayed for divine guidance over the grave of the sheriff.

Moonshiner Is Killed

Several battles without fatality followed in the wake of the sheriff’s death, but the officers did not even the score with the liquor men until some time in January when in Jackson County, Alabama, just west of the Georgia line, two deputy sheriffs and two enforcement officers in raiding a still found four men stationed there. The four started to run and the officers opened fire. One of the moonshiners, Harry Gerby, was killed; his mate, Oscar Hill, was terribly wounded, and John Allen was crippled for life. Friends of the moonshiners attempted prosecution of the officers and proved that not one of the men at the still was armed. There is a law in Alabama, however, which makes it lawful for an officer to shoot any man detected in the commission of a felony.

“It is our only chance,” said L. L. Phillip, state enforcement officer of Alabama. “We have to have the right to shoot to get the drop on them, or enforcement of prohibition would be impossible.”

As chief of police of Anniston, Alabama, before being promoted to the state position, Phillips followed to their graves eight of his policemen who were killed in efforts to arrest violators of the liquor laws.

Two Officers Die

The next scene in the liquor ware drama was laid in Walker County again, when Deputy Sheriff J. C. Parrish, accompanied by his nephew, Will Parrish, and John Neighbors, attempted to stop Will Partain, Tom Partain and Otto Boss, suspected of having liquor with them. The challenge was hardly given when guns flashed. All stood their ground until both Parrishs’ were dead and Neighbors, outnumbered, beat a retreat. Tom Partain also was killed. Will pertain and Boss were arrested, but owing to the difficulty of proving who fired first, the prosecution has been extremely difficult.

Madison County, Alabama, furnished the next act in the death play. State officers flushed a large party at a still and bullets flew fast for many minutes. At last the moonshiners fled. The officers escaped without injury, but a new made grave near the home of Dave Johnson showed that their aim had been true. After a few more days the body of Fayette Jones, with four pistols strapped to a belt and a rifle by his side, was found.

Sheriff Is Victim

For several weeks the honors in the bloody war lay with the officers, but then came the killing of Sheriff L. L. Smith of Madison County, Tennessee. Subsequently Luther and Jasper Borin were convicted of the murder, notwithstanding the charge of the court that if the sheriff fired first, the defendants’ acts were justifiable. The court’s position was that officers have no right to fire on moonshiners in Tennessee, unless the latter show fight, as making liquor is only a misdemeanor in this state.

On March 18, J. W. Morton, aged deputy sheriff, was shot to death at Durham, Georgia, four miles south of here, by George and Ralph Baker, moonshiners. John Miller, revenue agent, shot and killed Steve Baxter as the latter was trying to escape from a still in Cocke County, Tennessee. In this case feeling ran so high against the revenue officer that he has been held for the grand jury under heavy bond.

Need Brave Deputies

The position of a law enforcement officer has become so precarious in this section that none but the bravest now apply for the jobs. Just before he was killed, Sheriff Smith has discharged three deputies on the charge that when they found a still in operation they were afraid to arrest its operatives but waited until the men were gone then destroyed the still and claimed the reward.

This is the situation as the federal officers are about to begin their war.

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