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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
January 6, 1923     Arkansas Catholic
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January 6, 1923
 

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Seventy THE GUARDIAN 14"hatMay Happen In Any r Community With Masked Mob i Confessions Expose 45 Hooded S!ay- ors in Louisiana Outrages--Expose of Tragic Flogging and Murders-- Reign of Terror in Quaint Louisiana Parish--Federal Agents Could Not Be Frightened From Trail of Hood- eel Assassins. (By Robert Lee in Commercial- Appeal) • Mer Rouge, La., Dec. 28.--Toda Gov. Parker, Attorney General Coco and Adjutant Genexal Toombs, to- gether with federal operatives and the hooded executioners of the klan. In the night no negro could be in- .duced to cross that bottomless pit in the rickety ferry that lags on a broken steel cable; and it is as much as a white man asks of his own courage. Tight Lips. The oppression of vast :forests of oaks and pines, "bearded with moss • •  ,, and indistinct in the twlhght, keeps lips tight in the presence of masked terror. But when they start to tatk Jn that open meeting of January 5, there will be a new page in the hith- state military officers, who have been erto meager annals of this parish. in control of the eMr Rouge region Dr. McKoin Klan Boss. since the'Ku Klux Klan threw the The history of the klan has been parish into a frenzy of gun-toting and pretty well established from the time the approach of anarchy, prepared the / of its orgalization to the time when course of action to be pursued onJ t Dr. B. M. McKoin who was the local Jan. 5, when an open,hearing into the I klan boss of Mer Rouge, fell afoul of klan's activities will be convened, t the rebellion of Watt Daniels. It was On Jan. 5 therc will be unfolded 1 decreed in the klan meeting that Dan- the swift drama that began in More- house Parish between friends organ- /zing under the si]nple ceremonies o a fraternal lodge and reached its tragic climax in floggings, depola- tions and murders; and there will be related the reason why Morehouse Parish men today for the iirst time in years are walking the streets and driving the roads armed with every manner of weapon that haste and necessity can suggest. Will Klan Be Abolished? The thing that stamps an inter- rogation point on every anxious face in Mer Rouge is the probability of abolishing the Ku Klux Klan. These citizens fee] only a slight hope for them if the prosecution of the klan is limited to Morehouse Par- ish. They feel keenly their xelation- ship to the great body politic of America; and they despair lest their fellow citizens everywhere perceive in the Met Rouge tragedy only a local affiication, to be regarded lightly and dismissed after the usual convent, ions of headlines and corner gossip. If the klan, pursuing a policy of establishing political authority over the nation, selected Morehouse Parish for a laboratory test, it could' not have more nicely chosen its location• Impressions. A sociological historian will lay it down as a first principle that the hu- man mind is most suspectible to the exigencies of food, climate and soil and a fourth consideration, classified as "the general aspects of nature." It is known that the inhabitants of a country distinguished by vast moun- tains, deep and unexplorable forests, by prodigious storms and by great streams are superstitiously impressed by these general aspects of nature. The vicinity of Met Rouge is al- most oppressive in the dignity of its forests, the extent and solemnity of its vast swamps and the astonishing suddenness with which one approaches abrupt turns in the road and is like- ly to dve precipitately into almost bottomless lakes. Cdoemy Lake La Fourche. Lake La Fourche, now indelibly a part of the parish history for being the grave of Watt Daniels and Sam- uel Richards for more than four months of breathless and tragic sus- pease, has always been a spot of mys- tery and romance. It is 15 miles in length and never more than a hun- dred yards wide. But its banks are always sheer and its depth never less than 90 feet. The mysteries of that unexplained crack in the ,earth's crust which is always kept filled by hidden springe have been multiplied many fold by I m iels must go. That Attack on Dr. McKoin. The much discussed attempt upon the life of Dr. McKoin is the immedi- ate keynote ta the klan's present predicament. There are many in Met Rouge today who have no more vindictive comment to make on the actions of McKoin than that he lost his head in the thrill I of the weird, silent and hooded au j thority which he represented, t Not a Lie to Deny. ] McKoin denied to his own townsmen I that he was a klansman. But his form of denial is only a play on words. In the ritual of the klan it is not a lie to deny that one is a klansman. There is a fixed form of question, spoken only in a whisper, by which one klans- man discovers the membership of an- other. Under klan ritual any variation o£ this form is unlawful and the answer is not considered an untruth• Under suctl a diaphanous veil the doctor de-] nied his allegiance to the imperial I wizard. ] Having returned from his night I visit and reported to his klan breth- I ren that he had been the victim of an I attempt at assassination, McKoin left Mer Rouge. There is a question of his presence in Morehouse parish after that time. All this was prior to Au- gust 24, the date of the murders. Often Repeated. The story of the kidnapping has been often repeated. But it is im- portant to reflect that this was not the first kidnapping by the klan. There have been whippings. Men have time and again been taken off the streets of Mer Rouge by hooded klansmen in broad day. It was considered worth one's life to talk. And whenever one did talk, even guardedly, he inevitably was re- minded of his error by being seized [] w openly and with hie friends looking on. The Klan's Determination. It was apparent that the klan lead- ers were determined to imprint upon the community the inexorable and in- escapable authority of the organiza- tion. Of course, in these daylight kid- nappings the klansmen wore hoods and gowns. They paraded boldly through the streets and through the open country. A traveler might at any time find himself confronted in some densely shaded woodland road by a troop of hooded klansmen. But the reign of terror previous to the murders of August 24 consisted largely of gestures toward the bet- ter citizens. Arrd for this reason there wad only slight apprehersion of real danger. But the repeated successes of the klan encouraged greater boldness. And so on August 24 the display of authority surpassed anything thereto- fore attempted. Klansmen Identified. Even among the prosecuting au- thorities there is lacking an emphatic belief that murder was contemplated against Daniels and Richards. It is considered that the gang spirit car- ried the night riding exploit so far that only the deaths of the victims could abolish the threat of exposure• When the klan gathering had de- cided upon the form of procedure there remained only the employment of tactics. It has been declared by many who are pro-klan that it was not the Ku Klux, but only a mob of common ruffians who conducted the attack on August 24. Aside from the fact that the federal investigators have established beyond question on I the identities of many klansmen who participated in the kidnapping there is the unliklihood that any unorganiz- ed, spontaneous collection of hood- Irons, acting without direction or pre- vious experience could have managed so skillfully the neat military exploit of August 24. The Tragic. Evening. There had been a barbecue and bll game in Bastrop. At the conclusion of the game the Mer Rouge people started driving home on the only road between the towns. Just outside the town limits of Bas- D. I. MILLS & COMPANY PrescriDtion Dnggists 208 West Second Avenue Pine Bluff, Ark. Lewine's Quality Shop LADIES' READY-TO-WEAR Pine Bluff, Arkansas n J. W. JONES, President LEO M. ANDREWS, Vice President R. B. JONES, Secretary-Treasurer PLANTERS COTTON OIL COMPANY i ,, Manufacturers of COTTON SEED PRODUCTS i .. J T. H. Gregory, Manager t.• ! [ II | / [ ] I [I rLl ' II / ". Pine Bluff, Arkansas ! I[ i m trop there is a dip in the road. The[ bottom of this depression is not vis- ible from a distance. The Mer Rouge people--men, women and children-- drove straight into this trap before they were aware of the ambush. There was, in fact, a double ambush. Klan Hold-up Squads. At the first point stood a party of masked klansmen. One by one, as the cars drew up, they were halted and searched. A hundred yards :farther along, at the bottom of the depres- sion, was another party o:[" masked men. After a car had been ,earched by the tirst party it was sent forward only to be stopped by the second pal- ty. The second squad caused all the cars to gather in an inextricable traf- fic angle at the bottom of the dip. Here a small truck had been drawn up acros: the road to prevent prog- ress. Blind-folded and Bound. William Andrews was the tirst to be taken. The cars ahead of him had been searched and sent on. Andrews was taken ou.L blind-bolded and bound. In the meantime the terror of the women and children was ,nounting to a shrieking crescendo. And as the worked. Tod Davenport was next to be taken out and bound. Then came old J. L. Daniels. A pistol was thrust into one side, a rifle into the other-- "cross your hands"--it was done. The "old man was bound. Then a bandana handkerchief was tied about his eyes. "Gentlemen," he said, "I am an old man, and my eye bother me. Could I ask you to loosen a little?" It was done, but all without a word. The search of the cars continued. Richards was next taken. Watt Dan- iels came last. q=mmp ] "There wasn't a chance for us," said Andrews. ] "The boys there tried to get Watt to cries of the children and the shrieks drove slowly homeward. of the women arose the shrubbery, The journey of the klansmen took tall weeds and bushes on both sides them both northe,st and southeast of of the road became alive with hooded forms, flitting to and fro, and the I Mer Rouge. So boldly did they con- duct their enterprise they drove with scene was made doubly :frightful by a bombardment of cut-outs through Tod Davenport wa L car, then followed a tion. There was a shaking heads, then young , taken a distance apart and Old Mr. Danieis was the circle. "You know who Dr. McKoin," said 'a don't tell we ar going to flog "Gentlemen," said I ae asking me something I anything about; on my men, I don't know." The old man's clothes I aside. He was laid on downward. A klansman sat hea'd, two more held his feet, the first tinge of dusk• Hooded forms stood behind trees. The muzzles o.f rifles and pistols projected sullenly from shadowed nooks, contributing an ominous deco- ration "o the drab solemnity of the moss-hung trees. Quickly, i turn back• Watt saw them in time, lpoised a great leather but he wasn't afraid of a mask. He feet long and a half inch I said he told McKoin to his face what hissed through the air. It ]he thought of the klan, and he told I Watt Daniels, the son, Ckipworth, the exalted cyclops• He, of agony. i said if they wanted him they'd get (Continued on page him, and it better be now." • So Watt went down into the dip in l the road, a half dozen rifle muzzles! I were waiting for him; he was trussed t up and blindfohled. There was a sig- I nal of mutual understanding, and the] klansmen disappeared in a string of automobiles. The Mer Rouge'people Mer Rouge itself, as if in defiance of its citizens. In a circle of oaks bearded with Spanish moss, there was a halt. Old ')Ir. Daniels Flogged. The klansmen assembled in a circle. skillfully, the raiders [] STMRNS Xmas Novelties  Gifts for All R. H. STEARN "The Sto],e that Quality J EWELERS 122 Main St. PINE THE COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY Delicious, Refreshing Exhilarating, Invigorating Phone 73 PINE BLUFF, ARK. 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