In the small town of Athens, Tenn, you will find a marker for The Battle of Athens, Tennessee. It was fought by the same people who fought Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor Hirohito. It was fought for pretty much the same reason, to keep people free. And in the end, America’s best triumphed again.
Like most towns across America, the young men of Athens shipped overseas to fight against tyranny. Little did they know they would once again have to fight against tyranny at home. Enter Paul Cantrell, a wealthy democrat, who would exemplify all the traits of today’s democrats and liberals. Those traits are voter fraud, using the courts to consolidate power and backdoor taxation.
Cantrell ran for sheriff and won, although it is generally agreed that his victory had more to do with fraud that votes. Once he was installed in office, he made his move and pressed for the redistricting the county to move his detractors out of his jurisdiction. He won the next five elections even though he was extremely unpopular. He refused voting machines, insisting that only paper ballots be used and those votes were counted behind closed doors at the jailhouse by his deputies.
Cantrell got himself elected to the state legislature. He made sure that his deputy took over his old job as sheriff. It became apparent that consolidating and holding power would require a lot of money. They came up with a plan. They began arresting people on trumped up charges and held them in jail until they paid their “bail”. They made sure that none of Cantrell’s supporters were subject to these arrests. When that didn’t raise enough money, they began stopping buses passing through Athens. They would arrest passengers for drunkenness and collected large fines so they could leave with the bus.
To raise even more money the powers that be partnered up with bootleggers and assorted criminals, collecting a share of the ill gotten gains. It became impossible for lawful business people to do anything in the town without the blessing of the Cantrell machine.
Then the soldiers began returning home and they didn’t travel over 3500 miles to fight against tyranny just to return home to live under it. At first, they decided to take legal means by nominating their own slate of candidates in order to through out the corrupt administration. They thought they were winning right up til election day. The Cantrell gang arrested all of the GI’s poll watchers and were about to steal the election.
As if that weren’t enough, an elderly black farmer, innocent of the goings on, named Tom Gillespie stepped into a precinct to cast his vote and was stopped by one of Cantrell’s goons. He was told by this member of the democrat party faithful: “You can’t vote here, nigger. “ The Cantrell appointed thug then took out some brass knuckles and a gun and proceeded to beat up and then shoot Mr. Gillespie when he was attempting to run out the door, clearly wishing he had never had the idea to vote in that election.
That was the final straw and the GIs armed themselves with pistols and shotguns and went to confront the 25 deputies.
“Twenty-five deputys (sic) retreated to the jail which was surrounded and fired upon by the civilian army. “ By 4:00 AM the next morning, the “25 surrendered their arms and came out with hands up. Although a cry went up to hang ‘em, cooler heads prevailed (and they) were taken to the edge of town, tied to trees, stripped naked and told not to come back.”
Cantrell was still winning the election and it became apparent that he would remain in office.
From The Daily Caller:
“You call yourselves GI’s?!
You go over there and fight for three and four years…you come back and you let a bunch of draft dodgers who stayed here where it was safe, and you were making it safe for them, push you around?
If you people don’t stop this, and now is the time and place, you people wouldn’t make a…”
(something quite vulgar), but the point was made. Successfully.
White led a raid on the local armory and he and his followers went after Cantrell. White and his followers trapped Cantrell and his gang inside the jail and they spent the rest of the night firing at the democrats, but doing no damage. Then at some point they got their hands on some dynamite and Cantrell and his gang surrendered immediately.
The Battle of Athens, Tenn was over.