Early Settlers of
John Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Frank Loransey Souther
The career Frank Loransey
Souther chose was
fraught with danger and he eventually lost his life in the line of duty. Maybe he thought, “Somebody has to do this;
why not I?” He no doubt was propelled by
a sense of duty to stop some of the illicit manufacture and trade of
the mountain counties of
He was an investigator from 1920 until his death in 1937 for the U. S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tax Unit. The common name mountaineers used for Ransey Souther’s job was “Revenue Officer,” and his aim was to find moonshine stills and bring their owners to justice.
On December 15, 1904, Frank
Souther married Nancy Elizabeth Johnson (1886-1969).
To them were born three children. Ethel
Lee Souther (1907-1998) married John
Prescott Davenport (1901-1949); Evia Mae Souther (1911-1997) married
Swinfield Jenkins (1904-1993); and Rudolph Souther who lived only from
Frank Loransey Souther, US Marshall, is pictured front center beside a copper moonshine still he took as evidence in a case against "moonshiners." To his right is Jake Burton Kelly, a deputy marshall, and seated at the wheel of the car is Grayson Souther, brother to Frank Loransey Souther. The other men in the picture are unidentified. Frank Loransey Souther was a revenue officer from 1920 until his death in 1937.
Frank Loransey Souther began his work with the U. S. Treasury’s Department Alcohol and Tax Unit on
A resolution by the Federal
Grand Jury in
“We have learned of the passing of Mr. F. L. Souther, investigator of the Tax Alcohol Unit.
“Whereas: By his great courage,
wisdom and his remarkable patience and unusual thoroughness, he
fine reputation among his fellow officers and was held in high esteem
“He died in the line of duty.
“Therefore, be it resolved, that the deepest sympathy of every member of the Federal Grand Jury be extended to his family.”
The document was signed by George West, Foreman, Benjamin S. Barker, Secretary, and eighteen members of the Federal Grand Jury.
Another letter of significance
was from R.
E. Tuttle of the U. S. Treasury Department, addressed to the Honorable
“The nemesis of the moonshiner and a friend of all law-abiding people who knew him, he cannot be replaced in the territory which he served. The hills and valleys of White, Rabun and Habersham will see his coming no more and be the sadder for his absence. His feet have trod every path known to the human habitants of that section. He had explored every branch from mouth to source until he knew his bearings in the night time as well as in the day - could sense the location of a moonshine still with greater ease than any officer I ever saw in action.”
The letter also noted: “Souther derived his greatest pleasure in the performance of his duty and did not relinquish the pursuit of that duty as long as his body held out. I know, of my personal knowledge, that for the last year of his service his fast-weakening body was driven and motivated by an untiring and unrelenting spirit.”
Frank Loransey Souther was
The life and times of Ransey Souther who died at age 56 were challenging. He bravely did his part to implement law and order and bring justice to those whose way of life infringed upon the laws of the land.
Jones; published Jan. 8, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved
Updated September 12, 2009