The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The 1923 Graphic

Compiled and Edited by Virginia Ross

Stronghurst Graphic, Sept. 13, 1923 (Continued-K.K.K. HOLD PUBLIC MEETING)

The previous column mentioned the Moorehouse Parish, Louisiana incident concerning the KKK.  For more information read The Ku Klux Klan in the Southwest by Charles C. Alexander; it tells the whole sordid affair.)

The speaker said that the Ku Klux Klan was an organization composed solely of native born, white Protestant Americans who believed in “America for Americans: and in the tenets of the Protestant faith and who stood pledged to defend the constitution of law through the regularly appointed channels.  He claimed that in barring Catholics, Jews and members of other non-Protestant and non-Christian religious divisions from membership in their order, they were simply following the example set by the secret brotherhood organizations maintained within these other  religious divisions and which did not admit members of other religious faiths.  Concerning the charge that the Klan was antagonistic to the Catholic Church, the speaker said that this was true only in regard to ecclesiastical meddling with affairs of civil government and especially in regard to papal influences over political affairs in this country.  The question of white supremacy was only briefly touched upon by the speaker, the statement being made that one who did  believe in the perpetuation of an American race free from the contamination of African blood and who did  believe in the superiority of the white over the colored races, could become a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

The list of questions which all candidates for admission into the Klan are required to answer was read by the speaker as was also the obligations which are taken under solemn oath during the initiation ceremony.  All persons in the audience who believed that they could conscientiously subscribe to these obligations were asked by the speaker to indicate the fact by favorable responses as the obligations were read; and to the most of them there was a very general assent shown.

Having explained something of the nature and aims of the organization, the speaker said that he would next prove that the members of the KuKlux Klan did not wear masks because of with fear or shame of being recognized as being members of the order; and inviting the audience to judge for itself as to whether the group of men seated on the platform was composed of cut throats and outlaw, he bid the Klansmen unmask.  When the hoods were thrown back, the countenances of three or four well-known men in this community were revealed, the remainder being the faces of visiting Klansmen from other localities.

Concerning the secret work and ritual of the Ku Klux Klan, the audience was told that the only way to learn about these things was by joining the order and it was announced that following the public meeting there would be initiation ceremonies held in the ball park a mile south of the village.

He warned the merely curious inclined and meddlesome to keep at a proper distance from the ceremonies and in this connection told of the rather humiliating experience which a certain gentleman in Burlington, high in newspaper circles there, and who holds high rank in  society supposed to be antagonistic to the KKK suffered at the hand of Klansmen when they caught him spying upon one of their secret meetings in the outskirts of the city.  The speaker’s description of the discomfiture  which the newspaper man exhibited on being caught and of his agitated efforts to keep the news of the incident out of the columns of a rival newspaper in the city, caused much merriment amongst the audience.

After having held the close attention of his audience for over an hour, and the expected orator for the occasion not having arrived, the speaker announced that the meeting would be brought to a close. This was done by singing of a stanza from “America” and the offering of a short prayer by Rev. Mahaffey of the Stronghurst U. P. Church.

Just as the audience was dispersing, the gentleman who had been expected to deliver the principal address appeared on the platform and introduced as Rev. Nelson of Pekin, Ill.  Owing to the lateness of the hour, he confined his remarks to a short eulogy of the KKK organization, a defense of its principles and the relating of a number of humorous stories.  The gathering was then dismissed for the second time and the vast audience melted away as quickly and as silently as it had assembled.  We have learned since the meeting that the first speaker, who so ably filled the place which another was expected to take on the program, was G. N. McDonald, an organizer for the Ku Klux Klan from Davenport, Iowa.

CARMAN, A BLAZE: The A. C. Babcook general store at Carman together with the post office equipment which was located therein, the Clyde Mead pool room next door, the Cowdry blacksmith shop, and a number of out buildings were destroyed by fire which broke out Monday night at 10:30 o’clock, in the rear of the Babcock store.  Telephone calls brought firemen with chemical apparatus from Burlington, Dallas City and Lomax and also a contingent of fire fighters from this village. By the strenuous efforts of these combined forces, the fire was prevented from spreading further into the village.  Perry Simpson, who was one of those who performed valiant service in the work of subduing the flames, was overcome by smoke and rendered unconscious.  His resuscitation was, however, accomplished through medical aid furnished by Dr. Emerson of Lomax and he is now apparently no worse because of the experience.  The origin of the fire is said to be a mystery, but incendiaries is suspected.

CELEBRATE BIRTHDAY: the 68th  birthday of Mr. Gus Johnson, who makes his home with his brother, August Johnson and family of Olena, was celebrated at a family gathering at the home of their sister, Mrs. Gust A. Swanson in Media Township.  In addition to the guest of honor, the following were present; August Johnson and family of Olena, Peter Johnson and family of South Henderson; Axel Waring and family of Stronghurst and Gust. A. Swanson and family of Media.

SENATOR COMES TO TOWN: United States Senator Medill McCormick is a visitor today at the county seat and a banquet will be given in his honor tonight at the McDill hostelry there.  Some of the prominent Republicans from this section will be given the opportunity of meeting the distinguished gentleman.  It was not learned whether a public meeting of any kind will be held.

WHEN IS GAMBLING NOT GAMBLING!  The success of the Fall Festival which Monmouth is planning to hold next week seems likely to be endangered because of the fact that the inhabitants of the city are divided into two opposing camps over the question of the disposition of an automobile during the festival by means of numbered tickets given to purchasers of admission tickets to a dance to held in connection with the celebration.

The Ministerial Association of the city has come out with a vigorous protest against the scheme which they claim would be a direct violation of the federal and state laws in regard to gambling.  In this opinion they are backed by the Warren County States Attorney, who has notified the Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, which has the arrangements for the Fall Festival in its charge, that if the giving of chances on the car in connection with the sale of dance tickets is continued, the matter will be called to the attention of the grand jury.  The state’s attorney of Henderson County also set the seal of his disapproval upon the scheme when he stopped the sale of tickets in this county at the picnic at Biggsville several days ago…The Chamber of Commerce and Fall Festival Committee have come out with a public statement in which they say that they intend to proceed as originally planned unless some individual or organization comes forward with a guarantee to furnish $1000 ($13,720 in today’s values) to help finance the festival…While the controversy is one which primarily concerns only Monmouth and which the people there no doubt feel they can settle without advice or suggestion from outside sources, there is a principle involved which is more than local in its importance and a question presented which many communities are obliged to face at some time or other.  That question is whether individuals or organizations are ever justified in ignoring the laws which have been placed on our statute books for the benefit or protection of society…As an illustration, there was a big celebration recently held in a city not far from Stronghurst the financing of which was taken care of largely through the sale of concessions which consisted mostly of games of chance in which the fact as to whether the investor received anything in return for his money depended upon the flopping of dice, the holding of a certain numbered card or paddle, the turn of a wheel or some other circumstances governed by chance…They were allowed to operate unmolested while some crap and poker games which were in operation in a pasture field near the city were raided and those caught engaged in these games arrested and fined.

Under the circumstances it was but natural that the offenders who were unlucky enough to feel the weight of the law should believe that they had been discriminated against because they had failed to purchase indulgence for their transgression by contributing to the celebration fund.  A genuine universal respect for the law can hardly be expected in this country so long as such discriminations are made.

36th YEAR OF EXISTENCE:  The Graphic begins its 36th year of existence.  The paper was founded in 1888 by J.M.Thornber, who was at its helm for the short period of six months when the management passed to Mr. J. F. Mains, present postmaster of Stronghurst.  Mr. Mains guided the destinies of the paper for twenty-one and a half years and then in November 1910 formed a partnership with A. H. Kershaw, the latter taking a half interest in the business.  This partnership continued until Mr. Mains retired to attend to his duties as postmaster.  Since that time the editorial and business management of the Graphic has been in the hands of Mr. Kershaw with the exception of the one year between March 15, 1922 and March 15, 1923 when Mr. L. E. McAndrews operated the paper under a lease.

LOCAL AND AREA NEWS: L. E. Logan is arranging to open a meat market at Media in the near future.  He expects to establish a country meat delivery route in connection with the market.  Mr. and Mrs. Reece of Loraine, Ill., parents of Mrs. H. A. Epping, have moved into the building formerly occupied by Mrs. Mahnesmith and Mrs. Epping; they will conduct a hotel and rooming house.  The South Country Club was pleasantly entertained Tuesday evening at the home of Mrs. Ellen Finch with a “Blue Bird Party.”  Refreshments of peaches, cream, cake and coffee were served.  Mr. and Mrs. Frank Lauber have been visiting friends and came down from Gladstone for a time at the home of Mrs. Lauber’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Daugherty.  Frank is taking a vacation from his duties as manager of a grain elevator company at LaFayette, Ill.  The band concert given last week closed the series of open air events staged by the band.  Miss Alice Kirby returned to Galesburg to finish her course at the business college.  Miss Esther Marshall will teach history, English and biology in the high school at Bath, Ill.  Bob Shaw and family, who had rooms over the John Huppert’s harness shop, moved back to Burlington.  Robert Steffey accepted the position at the Farmer’s Co-Operative store.  “Buck” Curtis is now proprietor of the restaurant on the corner of Main St. and Broadway having purchased the stock of his father.  Mr. and Mrs. Albert Kaiser attended a reunion of the Keane family held at the John Bohlander home near Larchland, Ill.  News was received or the death of Dave Marshall of Whiting, Kans.; he was a former citizen of this village.  Mr. and Mrs. Russell Brooks left for Plainsfield, Ill. where they both have position as teachers in the high school.  Mr. Herbert Shellenbarger, who has been employed by Walter Dobbin on his farm north of town, has accepted a position with the new poultry and egg house here and will soon move this family to town. Roy Houtchens, who is now chief engineer of the oil pumping station at Ormonde at a salary of $200 a month ($2,744 in today’s values and a fortune back then), is taking a week’s vacation visiting relatives in Stronghurst.

LOCAL AND AREA NEWS: The Misses Audrey Marsden and Veda Headley are attending Business College in Quincy.  Miss Maxine Mains entered Brown’s Business College at Galesburg. Pure apple cider and vinegar made from cored, pared and cleaned apples-Wax’s.  WANTED—Table-boarders, single meals, day or week with reasonable terms-Mrs. J.N.Salter. Prof. Dawson has leased the Milliken residence recently vacated by Ed Stine.  529 marriages and 84 divorces were recorded in Knox County in 1922 according to figures from the Department of Commerce. The Geo. Hoffeditz family has returned to town and is living in Mrs. Matzka property in the east part of Stronghurst.  After drillers had been at work ten days in the oil field southeast of Colmer, a new well was brought in last Saturday at a depth of 445 ft..  As the oil pool in this field is shallow, the production will not be known until the well is set.  Miss Evelyn Carothers is an intimate at the Wesleyan Hospital in Chicago where she is recovering from an operation for the removal of cataracts from her eyes.  Prof. Grady Fort of Shenandoah, Ia., is to be the director of a choir from one of the Shenandoah churches.  They will give a concert next Sunday evening to be broadcasted from the W.O.A.W. radio station at Omaha, Nebr.  This a broadcasting station maintained by the Omaha Grain Exchange.

While D. R. Gibb and family were driving to Stronghurst last Friday evening, the lights on their auto went out when they were near the old Joshua Rankin place east of town.  In attempting to cross the bridge spanning the ravine near the Rankin farm in the darkness, Dave steered the machine against one of the banisters of the bridge badly damaging the front end of his car.  Mrs. Gibb was badly shaken up, bruised and required the services of a physician on their arrival in Stronghurst.  A lady school teacher who boards with the family and was with them in the car was also slightly injured.

James Hudnut, who has been working with the Sinclair Pipe Line crew near Fort Madison, had the misfortune to have two toes of one foot broken and another toe crushed when his foot was caught in the machinery of an engine being used in handling the pipe which is being laid on the river bed where the line crosses the Mississippi.  He is being cared for at the sacred Heart Hospital in Fort Madison. 

BIGGSVILLE BRIEFS: The Young People Society of the United Presbyterian Church held a social last Friday evening.  Watermelon and cantaloupes were served. The public library which has been kept up by the Community Club in the office of the late Dr. Bailey has moved into the township building and was opened Saturday to the public. Carl Nelson had his tonsils removed at the Burlington Hospital.  A good crowd attended the Sabbath evening union meeting at the U.P. Church to hear Rev. Litchfield speak on the subject, “The Responsibility of the Patrons to the School” and Rev. Lorimer  on “The Importance of True Ideas.”