John H. Reynolds

No Image of the Agent Available
Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 
August 26, 1921
Location of Death: 
Johnson County, KY

Circumstances of Death

Prohibition Agent John Harvey Reynolds and local officers from Paintsville, KY, went to the McKenzie Farm in Johnson County by horseback.  The officers had received information that an illicit still was being operated on the farm.  During their search, the officers came under fire from suspects hiding in a nearby house. In the exchange of gunfire, Agent Reynolds and Marshal John Melvin were killed.  Deputy Sheriff Manuel Fitzpatrick was seriously wounded, but managed to ride back to town and alert a posse.

When the posse returned to the farm, bootlegger Pate McKenzie was shot and captured.  He later implicated two other suspects, John Dye and H. Stambaugh, and also confessed that the still was actually located on Stambaugh's farm, several miles away.  The agents went to the Stambaugh farm, seized the still and arrested five additional suspects, including two of McKenzie's brothers.  John Dye was arrested several months later in Florida and returned to Kentucky.  He, along with Pate McKenzie, received life imprisonment for the murders of Agent Reynolds and Marshal Melvin.


Agent Reynolds joined the Prohibition Unit on June 7, 1920, with an annual salary of $1,500.


Agent Reynolds was born in Baker, KY.  He was survived by his wife.

Associated Artifacts: 
Newspaper article regarding John Reynolds
Newspaper article regarding John Reynolds
Newspaper article regarding John Reynolds
Newspaper article regarding John Reynolds' killer.
Letter announcing the death of John Reynolds
Personnel Document of John Reynolds
Last Reviewed September 23, 2016