Monday, July 6, 2015

Rankin Sheriff beaten on Gold Coast

I am working on some posts this morning and am posting this 1939 American Mercury article about the Gold Coast of Rankin County as it is pretty entertaining and gives a straight shot of our history in 100-proof fashion.  Well, entertaining until one gets to the part about the savage beating of the Sheriff.  Meanwhile, the Governor tried to crack down and the Hedermans opposed the Governor for doing so. Judges looked the other way and the notoriety continued. American Mercury reported:

"Mississippi's capital rates among the South’s cleanest, most progressive cities. It is a thriving metropolis of 6o,ooo, named for Andrew Jackson and boasting fine churches and high religious spirit. Blue laws are so rigid that you can’t see a Shirley Temple picture on Sunday. Drug stores are closed during church services and it is unlawful to blow auto horns at any time. With fine parks, playgrounds, youth movements, and no slums, Jackson exudes an incense of high public morality. Yet for the past five years the city has been paying heavy tribute to a horde of gamblers, bootleggers, fugitives,paroled convicts, and pistol-whipping thugs recruited from every center of national crime. Blood has flowed freely in Jackson and vicinity. At least two men have been murdered and a sheriff has been badly beaten.

That was just the first part of the opening paragraph.

The Gold Coast is within a half-mile radius. It consists of thirty-five or forty crude structures, outwardly like cheap tourist cabins, despite the carnival effect of floodlights. It is not unusual to find a shack costing $50 housing a $1,500 bar and lavish gambling equipment over which Mississippians passed as much as $50,000 a week, according to estimates of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Coast operators sneer at the estimates. They declare the Chamber of Commerce is too modest-- that they have fleeced victims of this much on a week-end.

The prose is vivid and colorful, much more fun to read than the corporate bland oatmeal that splashes on the pages of today's newspapers. Goins was just getting warmed up in the opening as he fires up his quills and takes aim at Jackson society itself:

The cream of Mississippi society spends many a witch’s sabbath there, along with salaried men, wage hands, working girls, and plowboys. Strumpets and debutantes stand shoulder to shoulder at the crap tables and roulette wheels. Law-enforcement officials frequently are there in crap-shooting companionship with jailbirds. Negroes are segregated, but often a plantation landlord shoots dice with only a thin pine board between him and his cotton-pickers. It is nothing unusual for a police court judge to swig liquor and gamble on the Coast one night and in court the next morning fine drunks who swigged at the same bar with him.

The magazine reports that Rankin County Sheriff was beaten to a pulp when he tried to crack down on the Gold Coast bootleggers.

Everybody thinks the sheriff of Rankin County, who had responsibility for law and order on the Gold Coast, was doing his best. Sheriff J.V. Therrell, a stocky little man with iron-gray hair, at first tried to do something. But as fast as he padlocked places, operators put up other shacks near by. In raiding one resort the sheriff had his scalp laid open with a beer bottle, then was beaten up. He lay several weeks in a hospital, much of the time unconscious. Only too glad to forget it all when his term expired, Therrell now says: "Please leave me out of all this mess".
The article is posted below. 


Anonymous said...

I love these stories. Keep em' coming.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, my sisters and I were practically raised by a black lady with light brown skin. I later learned that Lula worked as a "waitress" at the Gold Coast on weekends. I was reading about the Dixie Mafia and J.B. Torrence and J.D. McAdory and of course back in the 60's the sheriff ran things. My mom happened to work for Hinds county at the time. Well, not long after I read that articles regarding the Gold Coast and other corrupt activities I asked my mom about it one day over lunch, (about 3-4 years ago). I asked about Lula and McAdory and Torrence and Mom's mouth dropped. Ol Lula was a waitress allright.

Sheriff J W Culpepper said...

J.D. McAdory.

Now there's some entertaining "history".

Janice said...

American Mercury was an interesting publication. I invite you and your followers to read more about Rankin County's Gold Coast in my recent book, Mississippi Moonshine Politics: How Bootleggers and the Law Kept a Dry State Soaked (Arcadia Publishing/The History Press, March 16, 2015.) Copies are available at most independent bookstores and other retail establishments throughout Mississippi and online at,, and

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS