Alice (Hodges) and Albert
Sidney Atkins with children Delia and Frank; courtesy
William Bryan Longmire
Sarah Alice "Alice" (Hodges) (Atkins) Gose,
the recipient of this letter, was the widow of Albert
though she had, 18 years before this letter, remarried
to Thomas Jefferson "Tom" Gose and still lived
in the Bear Creek area of Claiborne County, Tennessee.
Her sister, Amanda (Hodges) Demarcus, apparently had
recently visited Alice and wrote this letter upon her
return to Knoxville. The letter includes a curious mention
that 'the "negros" have qui[e]ted down', which
bears further mention. In fact, the then-recent problem
may have had something to do with Amanda's visit to
Alice, though no reason is actually stated in the letter.
After World War 1, the United States experienced its
an absurd hysteria that the country was on the verge
of a full-fledged communist takeover as had happened
during the war in Russia. Labor unions, immigrants,
and African-Americans were among those most often suspected
In the summer of 1919, race riots as part of the First
Red Scare hit their height. In most cases, such riots
involved strictly white-on-black violence, but, in a
few cities, blacks fought back after being attacked
for some of the first times in U.S. history.
Knoxville experienced its own race riot during this
period, specifically on 30-31 August 1919, less than
three weeks before this letter was written. At the beginning
a group of whites broke into the local jail, ostensibly
to harm a black man accused of murder, but instead they
freed a number of white prisoners, even murderers, and
helped themselves to the liquor supply. The riot spread,
and one black man was killed as was one National Guardsman,
the latter by his own men, but an all-white jury refused
to convict any of the whites involved.
Click any image for a larger version.
 Thomas Jefferson Gose, Alice's husband
 Perhaps Alice's son James Franklin Gose but possibly