Reuben Gosnell U.S. Marshall

Published 4:51 pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Reuben Gosnell, U.S. Marshall and a ubiquitous revenuer.
The last thirteen years prior to his retirement, Reuben Gosnell served as a U.S. Marshall, having received his appointment from the President upon the recommendation of then Senator Jimmy Byrnes
The appointment was recommended as an earned promotion for many years of faithful service as a law officer in a number of capacities, several of which became the bane of Dark Corner moonshiners’ existences.
For many years, Gosnell—who was born September 2, 1875, and reared on the South Pacolet River at the foot of Hogback Mountain—appeared to be on virtually every distillery raid by revenuers.
Gosnell left the Dark Corner area in 1904 with his first wife, Elizabeth Moore, and moved to Greenville. He served as a constable for a number of years under City Magistrate John Daniel.
In March, 1916, and again in March,  1918, he was elected Chief of Rural Police by the Greenville County delegation. Following his tenure as Chief, he was appointed as a Federal narcotics agent.
It was in this capacity that he spent so much of his time raiding and destroying distilleries in the Dark Corner, and apprehending numerous moonshiners (some of whom were relatives).
His first wife died in November, 1944, and was buried in Graceland Cemetery in Greenville. A year later, he remarried, to Frannie Howard Lindsey, a member of the Highland Baptist Church. She was buried in the church cemetery at her death in 1966. Gosnell was buried with his first wife in Graceland Cemetery upon his death in 1948.
Gosnell’s reputation gained even greater prominence with Charlie Benson’s writing of the Ballad of the Killing of Holland Howard in a Distillery on Hogback Mountain. U.S. Marshall Gosnell was the senior revenuer of that fatal raid, and chief witness against Holland and Alex Pittman, who were found guilty of the killing.

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