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Ambushed City Marshal A.D. Bryant Memorialized

Posted 5/15/19

McKENZIE/WASHINGTON DC — A McKenzie city marshal, who was slain during an ambush on December 7, 1898 in McKenzie, Tennessee, was memorialized in two ceremonies on Monday, May 13.McKenzie Police …

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Ambushed City Marshal A.D. Bryant Memorialized

Posted

McKENZIE/WASHINGTON DC — A McKenzie city marshal, who was slain during an ambush on December 7, 1898 in McKenzie, Tennessee, was memorialized in two ceremonies on Monday, May 13.

McKenzie Police Department memorialize Bryant at Mount Olivet Cemetery at his grave site at 11 a.m. A second ceremony included the name of A.D. Bryant in the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial on Monday evening in Washington, D.C.

Police Chief Craig Moates and Mayor Jill Holland led a memorial at Mt. Olivet, the headstone of Bryant. Police officers heard the story of A.D. Bryant and how he met his demise. A wreath was situated adjacent to the headstone.

Moates first learned of the tragic death when a retired capitol policeman in Wyoming discovered the information. Jere Cox at the Gordon Browning Museum in downtown McKenzie helped in the research of the event.

Chief Moates said City Marshal A.D. Bryant was killed in the line of duty while eating supper. He was ambushed and shot in the head twice. The perpetrator was previously arrested by Bryant, incarcerated, and released on bond. When he was released, he found Bryant in the telegraph office at the railroad depot and shot him. The perpetrator escaped and drank poison to commit suicide.

Mayor Jill Holland read a script that indicated Bryant was born September 15, 1842, served in the Civil War, 22nd Tennessee Confederate Infantry, and married Aletha M. Quinn in 1866. She and he owned the Quinn House. He served as the city marshal five to six times in his career.

According to excerpts from the Carroll County Democrat in 1933, up until City Marshal Dorsey Bryant’s death, 29 lives within 30 years were snuffed out during drunken brawls or men crazed by liquor.

The newspaper stated the citizens were more or less indifferent to the true conditions until the climax came with Marshal Bryant was shot down in cold-blooded murder while on duty at his station (railroad depot-ticket/telegraph office) by a whiskey-crazed man.

His death stirred the townspeople as they had not been before and the following night, a group of Christian men, led by ministers, met at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and organized a law and order league.

In 1899, legislation was introduced to prohibit liquor in the City of McKenzie. Victory was won and McKenzie was the first town in Tennessee to abolish the open saloon.

Moates said Bryant’s death was not in vain because the citizens took action to remedy the problem of drunkenness in the city.

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