Melvin J. Clark

Picture of Special Agent Melvin John Clark
Date of Birth: 
1906
Date of Death: 
June 1, 1947
Location of Death: 
Banks County, GA
Picture of US Treasury Department IRS Investigator badge

Circumstances of Death

Special Agents Melvin John Clark, Robert Kay and Woodrow Langford accompanied by four Georgia Revenue Agents took up various surveillance positions around a still operation, about 2 miles south of Homer, GA.  The agents had spread out in order to capture the still hands, who they knew from experience would run once the raid began.  Just before the actual raid, State Revenue Agent Ayers heard several gunshots coming from the direction of Agent Clark's position and observed three suspects running through the woods.  Agent Ayers gave chase, but could not catch them.  When he returned to the still site, he learned that Agent Clark had been killed.  A posse was quickly formed and tensions were very high.  There was great concern among the agents about a mob lynching, should the suspects be caught.

The subsequent investigation determined that the still was owned by John Lewellen and Doc Crump, who, when confronted, readily confessed.  They, in turn, identified the three missing suspects as brothers Charlie, Demrist and Eurice Gather.  Working through the elder Gather, the agents were successful in having the three brothers quietly surrender themselves and they were quickly taken to jail in Atlanta, thus avoiding potential violence by the posse.  Eurice Gather, a former serviceman, confessed to the killing of Agent Clark and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.

Background

Agent Clark joined the Alcohol Tax Unit (ATU) on April 1, 1944.  He carried badge #1725.  Previously, Agent Clark was the Sheriff of Hall County, GA.

Personal

Agent Clark was born in Gainesville, GA.  He was survived by his wife, Winnie (née Delong) and their two sons, Dan and Robert.

Associated Artifacts: 
Image of the Gainesville Daily Times article with headline Clark Slayers Lead
Image of the Gainesville Daily Times newspaper article with headline, Clark Rites Held Today
Image of a newspaper article with headline, Clark Slayers Lead
Last Reviewed August 19, 2015