Talk:Battle of Athens (1946)

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Missing section[edit]

The article is missing the, um, battle. Could somebody tell us about it? Speciate (talk) 13:13, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I fear that the people who are passionate about this subject assume that the rest of us know all about it, so the article is filled with interesting trivia but fails to tell the main story. As near as I have been able to make out, citizens (mostly ex-GIs) succeeded in ensuring a fair election by taking the law into their own hands against the corrupt crowd that controlled the county. My main source of edification was -- a reference cited in the article that provides a long account of the event (and in which it is hard to identify the main event in the midst of the colorful details). --Orlady (talk) 14:34, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the above comment. But, even more that what happen in the battle, who won? I knew nothing of this event, read the entry and was left hanging. After looking it up at another site, I added a sentence to the article stating that Knox Henry won the election. There needs to be a description of the battle AND the aftermath. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:13, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

As Speciate said, there is nothing here about the "battle" itself. I request that those knowledgeable about the subject, such as the members of the various WikiProjects above, please put information about the actual Battle of Athens into the article. Otebig (talk) 14:11, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, this article did lack the "battle" part (before). I have just recently added the "battle part" and some important events leading to it from the first article in the External Links section. It's far from perfect obviously, but better than nothing. 16 April 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Totally agree the "battle" needs to be described here. Please. Someone? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:13, 22 March 2012 (UTC)


What's going on on this page? This article's text is copied verbatim from the first external link! (talk) 19:27, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

One or more portions of this article duplicated other source(s). The material was copied from this URL: It was introduced on April 16, 2008. Infringing material has been removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a license compatible with GFDL. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or printed material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use external websites as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Battle and its aftermath[edit]

I have tagged this article as needing information about the battle and its aftermath, as this is the material that had been inserted in violation of copyright and removed. This article could subsequently use some attention from somebody familiar with its subject to ensure that coverage is complete, while remaining copyright compliant. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:42, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Semi protection[edit]

I've indefinitely semi-protected this article as there has been repeated insertion of massive copyright violations for the description of the battle, copied from a Guns & Ammo magazine article by numerous IP editors. While it's clear that we need to describe the incident, we cannot do it in a way that violates the law. Established, registered editors can add it directly, or IP editors can place a draft here on the talk page and use the {{editprotected}} template to request that the draft be copied to the article. Toddst1 (talk) 14:58, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, that didn't work very well; The copyvio continues to be inserted. I've changed the protection to full. Please propose any suggested changes here on the talk page using {{editrequest}}. Toddst1 (talk) 14:03, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

See No Dispute[edit]

In my careful review I do not see any dispute or lack of authenticity. Well-documented in every way!

Terry Hoggard — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:13, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Scant accounts[edit]

There are few accounts of this action and in true typical fashion, The folks that both witnessed and participated in this unpleasant requirement for freedom were not very eager to speak about it.

 The ONE book that I've been able to find, that documents this part of Tennessee
History deals with 1st hand accounts by a native of McMinn county and is an excellent read.
"The battle of Athens" by C. Stephen Byrum, gives account from both points of view
and so far as I've read, proves the adage that 

"you cannot rule a free man, nor chain him. the best you can do is kill him". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:12, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Incorrect Link[edit]

The first reference is a bad link. I'm not sure how to fix it. This is the correct link..... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:42, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Please WebCite and correct the above-noted link, at a minimum. If the event descriptions below aren't copyvios, add them too. (And if they are, delete 'em! I've no reason to think they would be, other than the editprotection history; I haven't looked at the editors edits or the article's history.) --Elvey (talk) 15:19, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done --j⚛e deckertalk 23:51, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Some Sources, outline of facts of the altercation.[edit]

I found three original sources you can work with. First, The Toledo Blade , August 2, 1946, pages 1 and 4, the article entitled Gun Battle with Deputies Won by Tennessee Voters,269557&dq=battle-of-athens&hl=en

The facts which can be gleaned from this article are as follows:

The altercations started on August 1, 1946. Two ex-G.Il. observers, Charles Scott, Jr. and Ed Vestal had gone down the voting place at the city light and water building. At the voting place were seven "special deputies" sworn in the day before by the sitting sheriff. The special deputies had been sent to all the voting places, and many of them were from out of the area. The deputies reputedly threatened to kill Scott and Vestal, and refused to let them leave. When the deputies were distracted by a couple of newpapermen, Scott and Vestal escaped by breaking through a glass door. Next a group of ex-G.I.s went to the light and power company building and overpowered and seized the deputies. At about the same time, the G.I. contingent received news that Thomas Gillespie, 50 an African American farmer had been shot by one of the special deputies at another voting place. At Niota, a small community close to Athens, the G.I. faction took over one of the voting places. Sheriff Mansfield at this point sent between 4 and 12 special deputies to each voting place. The deputies started driving people away from the doors to the polling places, fistfights broke out in several places. The Sheriff had all the ballot boxes hauled to the jail. The G.I. poll watchers started getting beaten up and about 20 of them were hauled off to jail, along with the ballot boxes. The G.I. group surrounded the jail, demanding that the poll watchers be released, and the ballot boxes be counted in public. Someone in the crowd shot at the courthouse and the people inside replied with substantial fire at the crowd. This paper reports that the mob had submiachine guns, rifles, pistols, shotguns, tear gas, knives and clubs. A general gun battle lasted into the small hours of the next morning. Just after midnight one of the special deputies threatened to "shoot three of the veterans in here, ulness you break it up." It does not appear in this article, but soon thereafter several sticks of dynamite were ignited near the jailhouse, and those inside the jail finaly surrendered. The deputies, in leaving, ran a gauntlet and some were beating up pretty severely, until a couple of people in the G.I. faction made speaches, telling them that they didn't want to be involved in murder.

A second article, is at,2620229&dq=battle-of-athens&hl=en The Tuscaloosa News, August 7, 1948, page 3 Firewords in Tennessee Election. This article mentiones the dynamite attack, and tells that the defenders of the jail were then taken to the courthouse, but later returned to the jail, put in cells. It also describes a minor riot thereafter in which cars with decals supporting the old faction were torched and burning for hours thereafter. Deputy C.M.Wise was knocked down repeatedly and was released only when a man named Bill Cook cautioned the crowd against murder, as did a veteran named Ralph Dugan who was a major player in the G.I. Nonpartisan movement. The G.I. campaign manager was named James Buttram, and he too was a major player in the movement.

A third article is,4362590&dq=james+buttram&hl=en The Pittsburg Press, August 2, 1946, 75 Besieged Deputies Surrender; Governor Cancels Militia Call. pages 1 and 8. It adds that all the special deputies were eventually released by the G.I. faction, other than Windy Wyatt, who was charged by the veterans with shooting the African American farmer, Gillespie, at the polls. Wyatt was badly beaten by the mob. A similar conflict was threatened at Etowah, eight miles to the east, but there the machine people conceded before it got out of hand, and allowed the G.I. poll watchers to keep charge of the ballot boxes. Some of the major players were the GI's candidate for sherif Knox Henry, and the machine's candidate Paul Cntrell,who had held the job job three terms previously. Sheriff Pat Mansfield, who swore in the special deputies disappeared when things got dicey, and Mayor Paul J. Walker, left town three days before the election. The Governor had called out the National Guard initially, but withdrew the order before it was implemented. The G.I.s won the election.

Among the three articles, you can get enough of the gist of what went on to draft up a discussion of what went on.

Hypercallipygian (talk) 20:34, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit request[edit]

Please change the current {{pp-semi-indef}} template to {{pp-protected}}. Thanks Tbhotch. Grammatically incorrect? Correct it! See terms and conditions. 21:19, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Check. Danger High voltage! 21:48, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

VFW Magazine[edit]

VFW Magazine has an article on this event:

Gibson, Kelly. "Ex-GIs Battle for the Ballot," VFW. Volume 99, Number 10 (August, 2012), pp. 26-28. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:06, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Blocked Editing[edit]

Just was hoping to get a time frame on when the block would be lifted, if any administrator would know that. I would like to contribute to this page. Hope it opens soon.DaltonCastle (talk) 08:35, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

PS. Why did it get blocked, out of curiosity. I am still a newer editor, so I am still learning the ways of the Wiki.DaltonCastle (talk) 08:37, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

I have lowered the protection. Please edit away. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 09:23, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Redlink pictures[edit]

Two links to photographs in the article are now redlinks. I don't find them on Wikipedia or on Commons searching with the string

Battle of Athens Tennessee

If they are not available, the picture links with captions need to be removed. Consider adding the Tennessee Historical Commission marker photo in Commons, File:Battle-of-athens-tennessee-marker1.jpg to the infobox.
SBaker43 (talk) 23:03, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

I have reduced the protection. Please make the edit yourself. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 09:24, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Done. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 00:33, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Added battle and aftermath sections[edit]

They are (I think) pretty bare and straightforward. I used three sources not previously cited on the article. No copyvio (how easy was that?) The aftermath section could perhaps be expanded. Some sources speak of the limited impact of the event, while others link it to a postwar movement involving dissatisfied veterans taking back their rights. Anyway, at least now there's a description of the incident. Richigi (talk) 03:01, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Latest Edit to battle removed historical reference to voter suppression[edit]

Actually, I'm requesting edit because I cannot edit the page due to semi-protection.

The edit before Jan 1, 2013 stated:

Polls for the county election opened August 1, 1946. About 200 armed deputies turned out to patrol the precincts—the normal complement of 15 deputies significantly augmented by reinforcements from other counties. A number of conflicts arose before the polls closed, the most serious of which was when deputy CM Wise shot and wounded a BLACK man who was trying to vote.[3]

Black was removed. This is a historical reference due to the use of southern governments to suppress the Black vote. Especially black veterans. This part of the document should be restored. I cannot edit this. AlexG-inUSA (talk) 17:21, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

I have restored the word as requested. I removed it because none of the rest of the article talks about race, and it seemed irrelevant for that reason. -- Dianna (talk) 18:19, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

I am attempting to add the reference to the Hallmark film without success. Please note reference: Jogershok (talk) 06:46, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 10 January 2013[edit]

The link to the American Heritage description of the battle is incorrect. It should be Smithkl42 (talk) 00:03, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Done Jnorton7558 (talk) 03:47, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Object to removal of polictical parties[edit]

From: [1]

"In 1936 the system descended upon McMinn County in the person of one Paul Cantrell, the Democratic candidate for sheriff. Cantrell, who came from a family of money and influence in nearby Etowah, tied his campaign closely to the popularity of the Roosevelt administration and rode FDR’s coattails to victory over his Republican opponent."

Link: [2]

It does the integrity of history no justice to omit the party where election fraud and ballot issues are the main subject. A reference exists to substantiate the information.

I request unlocking the page for addition of this relevant fact and reference.

Dave Thacker RadicalRC — Preceding unsigned comment added by RadicalRC (talkcontribs) 16:59, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

15 Feb 2013 Edit Request[edit]

The battle is mentioned in the novel Unintended Consequences. Please add text to this effect in the "In the media" section or other suitable place.

Please also add the following text to the Aftermath section:

Less than six months after their victory, the veterans were rent by divisions. Four of the five leaders of the GI Non-Partisan League declared in an open letter on January 11, 1947: "We abolished one machine only to replace it with another and more powerful one in the making."

Source: New York Times. "Athens, Tenn., Regime Set Up by GI's Falls". January 12, 1947; p. 6.

Thanks. (talk) 06:09, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

X mark.svg See WP:TRIVIA Toddst1 (talk) 06:46, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Toddst1, not sure how WP:TRIVIA applies to the second part of above request. Richigi (talk) 12:43, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
For the second part, form a proper citation if you want it added. I'm going to do your work for you. For example you should request something like the following be added:

In ''[[McDonald v. Chicago]]'', 561 U.S. 3025 (2010), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.<ref name="">{{cite news|last=Liptak|first=Adam|title=Justices Extend Firearm Rights in 5-to-4 Ruling|url=|accessdate=December 17, 2012|newspaper=The New York Times|date=June 28, 2010}}</ref>

Toddst1 (talk) 20:43, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I can make the edit myself, so no extra work for you. I was just checking to make sure that you didn't have some unstated reason for rejecting the second part of the above anonymous request. Thanks for clarifying. Richigi (talk) 21:13, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think WP:TRIVIA applies to either part of the request. The opening paragraph of the Battle of Athens article includes the following sentence: "The event is sometimes cited by firearms ownership advocates as an example of the value of the Second Amendment in combating tyranny." Unintended Consequences is one such example. According to the WP article on it, the book "has sold over 60,000 copies over four printings." The book is especially popular among Second Amendment advocates, including Timothy McVeigh. (talk) 19:19, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

23 Feb 2013 Edit Request[edit]

1) The battle is mentioned in the novel Unintended Consequences. Please add text to this effect to the "In the media" section; books are a form of print media. The opening paragraph of the Battle of Athens article includes the following sentence: "The event is sometimes cited by firearms ownership advocates as an example of the value of the Second Amendment in combating tyranny." Unintended Consequences is one such example. According to the WP article on it, the book "has sold over 60,000 copies over four printings." The book is especially popular among Second Amendment advocates, including Timothy McVeigh.

2) Re: "A number of conflicts arose before the polls closed, the most serious of which was when deputy CM Wise shot and wounded a black man who was trying to vote." According to Egerton (p. 394) The "black man" was named Tom Gillespie and he "was assaulted by deputies after casting his vote," not for trying to vote. He was shot in the back when he tried to run from the deputies assaulting him. The American Heritage article isn't clear on the exact sequence but does indicate Gillespie already had a ballot when was attacked. The shooter, C. M. Wise, was later roughly handled by members of the Non-Partisan League and was the only deputy kept in jail after the battle. He was also the only person to face criminal charges for the events of August 1-2, 1946, was being eventually sentenced to 1-to-3 years in prison; Gillespie recovered. (Egerton pp. 395-396).

3) Re: the 29 January 2013 comment above "Object to removal of polictical [sic] parties," I agree the mention of the political party associations is informative and should be restored. Egerton (p. 393) says McMinn County "opposed secession in 1860 and voted Republican for seventy-five years after that" until "Democrat Paul Cantrell" took power in 1936. The Non-Partisan League slate included three Republicans and two Democrats and was endorsed "by the local Republican Party" (Egerton p 394). The cited American Heritage article also mentions the partisan associations of the key figures including Cantrell's ties to FDR's campaign.

4) No source is cited for the statement: "The new government encountered challenges including at least eleven resignations of county administrators" in the Aftermath section. (talk) 01:55, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

yellow tickY Partly done I added the mention of Unintended Consequences, changed the article to match what you said in request 2, as well as added {{cn}} next to the line "The new government encountered challenges including at least eleven resignations of county administrators". However, for request 3, I added the information from the 29 January 2013 request. Camyoung54 talk 15:02, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

I have photos of the aftermath of this battle. How do I post them? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:45, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ American Heritage Magazine, Feb/March 1985, volume 36, issue 2
  2. ^