Earthcaches

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Battle of Athens, Tennessee geocache

We recently visited Athens, Tennessee. It was great to see my uncle and aunt after a four year absence while we were overseas. My uncle had sent me the story of the Battle of Athens while we were out of the country and it had my interest. I wanted to learn more and to see where the fighting took place. It was even more enjoyable to discover that a geocache is located nearby. The Battle of Athens (GC1EWHB) cache is hidden in plain sight near the historical marker that tells the story.

In brief, after a several years of political corruption in the McMinn County electoral process, veterans recently returned from World War II decided that they must stand up for democracy at the local level. Having defended that right overseas they wanted to live in a real democracy at home. Veterans accused the current sheriff and his staff with vote rigging and with other abuses. Veterans charged that an incentive program paid deputies more money if they issued more tickets. Abuses reported included wholesale ticketing of all the riders on buses for drunkenness  whether the riders were drinking or not; just to run up the number of tickets and arrests. Veterans organized to oppose the election once again of sheriff Paul Cantrell. They even fielded their own candidate. On election day there were some major irregularities. There was one shooting just outside a polling place. When the polls closed deputies seized the ballot boxes and took them to the jail. Veterans raided the National Guard Armory for weapons. Between several hundred to several thousand, estimates vary, descended on the jail. The jail was barricaded and many deputies defended it. When the veterans demanded that the ballot boxes be returned the deputies refused. A gun battle ensued. Finally the veterans breached the barricade with dynamite and the deputies surrendered.

As a result of this heroic stand by local veterans an accurate count of the ballots revealed that the GI part had won several seats. In the aftermath of the uprising laws were changed to cap deputy pay and remove the incentives that created the atmosphere for abuse.

Today many point to this incident as a strong argument for upholding the 2nd Amendment protecting American's right to keep and bear arms.

I won't say much about the cache as it was a fairly easy park and grab. Yes, there's good parking nearby. You'll be able to see the knoll where the Veterans set up an overwatching fire on the jail house.

The cache is nearby
Athens is also home to the Mayfield Dairy. It you are from Texas Blue Bell Ice Cream would be famous. In the southeastern US Mayfield Dairy is big. We took a tour of the dairy operation and enjoyed some of their ice cream. We also took advantage of a park and grab nearby called Peace, Love and Dairy Cows (GC2XG2Y). I couldn't resist finding this one.

Come check out the caches, the cows and the conflict that took place in Athens, Tennessee when you get a chance!






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