THE GREAT WAR,
The resignation of Attorney General John C. Hart in 1910 did nothing to quell the controversy in North Georgia over injunctive relief. The issue dominated the fall elections in Fannin County when pro-copper Republicans turned out all but one of the anticopper Democrats to gain control of the county for the first time in twenty-six years. Fannin was the Georgia county closest to the copper works and suffered the worst of the smoke damage. At the same time, it had the most to lose if an injunction ended the flow of copper dollars into the local economy. All of the successful Republican candidates were well-known businessmen and professionals who saw their livelihoods at risk if the mines closed. Democrats explained the elections results by pointing to rampant vote buying, notably in the Hot House district where several leading smoke suitors lived. One witness told of an approach by a Republican campaign worker: “This is a mighty good, juicy apple. And here’s the ticket you ought to vote. After you vote that ticket eat that apple.” The voter did as he was told and discovered that “inside that apple was a fivedollar bill.” Another lifelong Democrat switched his vote when offered thirty dollars and the cancellation of his promissory note held by a bank in Copperhill. All that money had to come from somewhere, so Democrats quickly pointed fingers to the several senior mining officials currently under indictment for creating a public smoke nuisance.1
The local election results demonstrated that Hart’s strategy of patient delay on the injunction had run its course. When the Supreme Court ruled for the state in Georgia v. Tennessee Copper Co. (1907), it suggested that the copper companies be given six months to complete their acid condensation plants before it issued the final decree of injunction. Hart extended the six months to three years because of his deep reluctance to destroy the industry and its thousands of jobs. The entire thrust of his strategy had been to force adoption of technologies to abate sulfur fumes while leaving the industry viable, and acid condensation was his last and best hope because it converted harmful smelter gases into the sulfuric acid needed for the fertilizer industry.