Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Christmas Night Shootout 1927

Marker ID: THC 2B 32
Location: Intersection 3rd St and Cedar Ave, South Pittsburg, TN
County: Marion
Coordinates: N 35° 0.73    W 085° 42.325
  35.01216666    -85.70541666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


Christmas Night

Side 1)
In January 1927, H. Wetter Manufacturing Company, South Pittsburg's largest employer, a unionized company, closed its stove factory. When Wetter tried to reopen with non~union labor, the unions established picket lines. The strike hurt the local economy. High tension between four local unions and Wetter not only drove a wedge between employer and employees, but divided residents, politicians, and law enforcement officials. Growing resentment, coupled with political rivalries from the last sheriff's race, soon led to officer battling officer.

Side 2)
The gunfight on Christmas night of 1927 at Third Street and Cedar Avenue left six officers dead and several injured, bringing national attention to the city. Dead were Sheriff G. Washington Coppinger, Deputy Lorenza A. Hennessey, City Marshalls Benjamin Parker and Ewing Smith, and Wetter guard Oran H. LarRowe. Police Chief James Connor died the next day. Governor Henry H. Horton dispatched the National Guard to curtail additional violence.

Tennessee Historical Commission.