Confederate Truths: Documents of the Confederate & Neo-Confederate Tradition from 1787 to the Present.

Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan
John C. Calhoun Pro-Slavery U.S. Senator
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Alexander H. Stephens
Mildred Rutherford Historian General of the United Daughters of the Confederacy
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R.L. Dabney
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After United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) Historian General S.E.F. Rose, the UDC chooses Grace Meredith Newbill Ku Klux Klan enthusiast for their next Historian General.

 

In the Confederate Veteran, Vol. 25 No. 4, April 1917, page 331, there is an obituary for S.E.F. Rose, listing as one of her accomplishments her KKK book. Her replacement is announced on the following page, Grace Meredith Newbill, from Pulaski, Tennessee

and she has an article on Pulaski as the birthplace of the Klan in the same issue on pages 335-6 and the unveiling of a tablet in their honor by the local chapter of the UDC. The Confederate Veteran was the official publication of the United Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Confederated Southern Memorial Associations, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  

  

For clarity the articles will have a yellow background and be in Garamond font, the explanatory text will be in Times New Roman and a white background.

 

BIRTHPLACE OF THE KU-KLUX KLAN.

BY MRS. GRACE MEREDITH NEWBILL, PULASKI, TENN.

 

On the morning of May I, 1917, there was unveiled in the town of Pulaski, Tenn., a handsome bronze tablet commemo­rative of the birth and organization of the Ku-Klux Klan in this town. The tablet is placed on the outer wall of the law office once occupied by Judge Thomas M. Jones, a former Confederate Congressman, and bears the following inscrip­tion:

 

“Ku-Klux Klan

Organized in this the law office of Judge Thomas M. Jones

December 24, 1865.

 

Names of original organizers: Calvin E. Jones, Frank O. McCord, Richard R. Reed, John B. Kennedy, John C. Lester, James R. Crowe.”

 

The unveiling was under the direction of the local Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and was wit­nessed by about one thousand people, including the student body of Martin College and of the Pulaski High School, Members of the John A. Woldridge Camp and Bivouac were guests of honor.

 

The office was beautifully decorated with red and white bunting and Confederate and United States flags. The San Davis monument on the public square was also decorated in the Confederate colors and evergreen wreaths.

 

The program was begun by “Dixie” and “America” sung by the high-school children. Mr. Laps D. McCord, Sr., made a fine address on the origin and purpose of the Ku-Klux Klan. After this the Martin College girls sang “My Ole Kentucky Home” and were followed by the Pulaski Quintet in “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground.” As the last words were sung Mrs. Grace Meredith Newbill drew back the Confederate flag which veiled the tablet. The program was con­cluded by the singing of “How Firm a Foundation!” by the audience.

 

In his address Mr. McCord proposed that the town re-christen old Madison Street as “Ku-Klux Avenue.” When put to a vote every hand in the large concourse of citizens went up, and “Ku-Klux Avenue” it is. He then proposed that the point of the hill once occupied by the old ruins in which the first “den” of the order was located should be called “Cyclops Hill,” and this, too, was voted vociferously. Now, when you come to see us we will take you from “Ku-Klux Place” down “Ku-Klux Avenue” to “Cyclops Hill.” But the ghosts are all laid, and a handsome modern home now occupies the site of the old ruins, with a preparatory school for boys near by.

 

Prayer Offered by Dr. Kennedy at the Unveiling of the Tablet.

 

O thou God and Father of all, Sovereign of the universe, foreordaining whatsoever comes to pass for thine own glory, ordering the steps of men and determining the destinies of peoples and nations, “doing according to thy will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay thy hand or say unto thee, ‘What doest thou?’ “we give thee honor and do thee obeisance this day as we stand on ground made historic by thy providences. By thy order­ing of events what was once a humble law office has become a historic spot, and to-day we mark it as such.

 

The inception of a circle (a kyklos) of six men for pleas­ure and pastime, by the extension of its radii and enlarge­ment of its circumference, grew and enlarged to encircle an organized and mobilized army profound in secrecy, startling in mystery, terrible with banners, and determined for the right.

 

That which at first was frightful in amusement later became gruesome in resisting oppression and restraining law­lessness for the defense of our homes. In frightful costume the slain of many battle fields apparently arose to the defense of their homes and country; the silent dead lived again, dis­played their wounds, and spoke in guttural tones of the grave; the keen thirst of the long-wounded was slaked with mar­velous draughts, and men stood aghast. As a result the inflamed intruder and startled observer fled from his nefarious purposes and sought hiding places from these hosts of the grave. Thus out of innocent amusement grew a discovered power of restraint and unforeseen deliverance, an army of defense, a safeguard of virtue, and a victory for the right. Thine be the glory, Almighty God.

 

In recognition of thy goodness and in appreciation of the service of heroes to-day we place our marker, a merited his­toric tablet, upon the one, the real, the only birthplace of the Ku-Klux Klan. We do honor to thousands of men who came from dens and caves in the weird mystery of nightfall to the defense of our rights and homes and who, both horse and rider, their mission having been accomplished, disap­peared into the unknown as silently and mysteriously as they came. For the racial friendship and the national peace which bless our homes to-day we give thee thanks, thou God of destinies.

 

Great God, by thy might protect us still. Keep us from bloody entanglement with foreign powers. Speedily bring peace to the world. Bless the youth of our land and of our various schools assembled here. Standing upon the con­tiguous bases of two historic spots in Pulaski, the death place of Sam Davis, the youthful hero, and the birthplace of the Ku-Klux Klan, may they catch the inspiration of the hour and imbibe the spirit of the men we honor, most of whom are dead, only a few of the Klan being present with us to-day! Give us sons and daughters wedded to liberty, loyal to coun­try, adherents to truth, the soul of honor and devoted to thee. Let thy favor abide with the good women who in these exer­cises labor to preserve and perpetuate the history of our Southern homes and Southern chivalry. And when heroes and defenders are all dead, when the love and devotion of women shall have grown cold, when the fires of the stars of heaven shall have burned out, be thou our God and Protector still for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

In the Vol. 25 No. 9, September 1917 Confederate Veteran, pages 425-6, is an article on Newbill praising her, the following are some extracts:

 

Mrs. Newbill is President of the Giles County Chapter, whose special work this year has been the placing of a handsome bronze tablet in Pulaski to mark the place of organization of the Ku-Klux Klan and to perpetuate the names and memories of its six charter members. The completion of this work was due to the tireless energy of Mrs. Newbill. …

 

… After the war she was married to Capt. George Newbill,

 

… After the war he was active in helping to solve the problems of reconstruction. He was an officer in the Ku-Klux Klan and left in his wife’s possession what is said to be the most valuable Ku-Klux data in existence. From that data she has written many papers for historical purposes. …

 

The Vol. 25 No. 10, October 1917 Confederate Veteran has two items. On page 476, Newbill recommends S.E.F. Rose’s book in a short list of books, titled, “Books of Reference for U.D.C. Programs,” and on page 482 the book is offered for sale by the Confederate Veteran.

 

As Historian General Newbill has published in the November 1917 Confederate Veteran , page 522, Vol. 25 No. 11, the following historical program for December 1917 for the UDC and one for the Children of the Confederacy (CofC).

 

U. D. C. PROGRAM FOR DECEMBER, 1917.

 

Topics for December Papers: Events of 1865 to 1870.

 

Reconstruction.

 

What is meant by this term?

 

Tell of civil rights bills and Reconstruction acts passed by the Congress of the United States.

 

The South under Military Rule.

 

What were the Freedmen’s Bureaus and Union and Loyal Leagues?

 

Tell of the carpet-baggers and scalawags.

 

The Ku-Klux Klan.

 

Where, when, and for what purpose was it organized? Tell of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, its great leader, and when did he give command for its disbandment?

 

Name other secret orders organized in the South during Reconstruction.

 

Tell of the “force laws enacted by Congress and anti-Ku-Klux statutes.”

 

Show that the Ku-Klux Klan was a necessity during Reconstruction.

 

“To the Ku-Klux Klan is due the establishment of Anglo-Saxon supremacy forever. All honor to those brave heroes who rode side by side with death during Reconstruction in defense of their own, their native land!”

 

References: “The South in the Building of the Nation,” Volumes IV. and VI.; “History of the United States” (An­drews), Chapter XXXIII.; “Sins of Omission and Commis­sion,” page 25; “The Ku-Klux Klan” (Rose).

 

 

C. OF C. PROGRAM FOR DECEMBER, 1917.

 

Reconstruction: Events of 1865 to 1870.

 

What is meant by this term? and when did it begin?

 

What was the civil rights bill?

 

What was done to the Southern States that refused to ratify this bill?

 

Who were the carpet-baggers and scalawags?

 

What were the Freedmen’s Bureaus and Loyal Leagues?

 

What was the Ku-Klux Klan? Its object and work? When did the Klan disband? and who was its great leader?

 

Name some of the celebrated cavalry leaders of the Confederacy.

 

Who was Matthew Fontaine Maury? and how did he serve the Confederacy?

 

Tell of Mosby and his men and Jackson’s “foot cavalry.”

 

Name the most prominent Confederate generals.

 

Name some youthful heroes and heroines of the Confed­eracy.

 

Grandfather’s and Grandmother’s Stories of “Reconstruc­tion.”

 

Reading, “There’s Life in the Old Land Yet.”

 

References: “Reconstruction,” “The Ku-Klux Klan,” by Mrs. S. E. F. Rose; “Brief History of the United States,” An­drews, Chapter XII., pages 3I8-324.

 

The Confederate Veteran, Vol. 26 No. 4, April 1918, page 181 has an obituary article on Newbill, praising her work to memorialize the KKK.