Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

The Ku Klux Klan Funeral of James Spangler in Lykens, 1925

Posted By on January 8, 2018

James Spangler, born 3 October 1880, son of Civil War veteran George Spangler (1846-1921) of Lykens, was instantly killed on 16 July 1925 while working on Level 3 of the Short Mountain Colliery, when a shot that he and his fellow worker were preparing, exploded prematurely.  The notice of the accident appeared in the Lykens Standard of 17 July 1925 along with Spangler’s obituary.  The funeral, which was held the next week, was conducted by the Ku Klux Klan and, according to news reports, drew more than 300 Klansmen from the area.  Articles appeared in the 24 July 1925 edition of the Lykens Standard and they included the names of many who attended the funeral, some of whom were “robed” and “hooded.”  Pictures of the funeral also appeared in the Lykens Standard of 31 July 1925, and are shown above.

This post is a continuation of the reporting on hate groups that were active in the Lykens Valley area in the years following the Civil War.  It was a widely known fact that the third iteration of the Ku Klux Klan had a significant presence in the Lykens Valley and adjacent valleys during the early years of the 20th Century.  This third iteration of the Klan was strongly white supremacist and was opposed to equal rights for African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and immigrants.

Those who allowed their names to be used in the newspaper had to know that they were supporting a group that was under investigation at the time by both federal and state authorities for criminal behavior, including intimidation and murder.

From the Lykens Standard, 24 July 1925:


The first public appearance of the Ku Klux Klan with their full paraphernalia  occurred in Lykens Sunday afternoon when more than 300 hooded Knights attended the funeral of their deceased member, Mr. James Spangler, who was killed Thursday of last week while at his employment at the colliery.

The organization including the K. K. K., the Auxiliary and the Junior Klan attended the funeral in a body according to a request made by Mr. Spangler some time ago when he informed his wife that should he died before her, he wanted her to have the K. K. K. have full charge of the funeral.

Solemnly and slowly the long column of white robed Klan headed the funeral cortege to the cemetery, where they formed a large circle about the grave.  After a short prayer by the Rev. Walter E. Carvin the services were taken charge of by the K. K. K.  A brief sermon and a prayer by the officers of the organization was their final act to their deceased brother.

Other organizations of which Mr. Spangler was a member and which were represented at the funeral were the K. of G. E.; L. O. O. M.; U. M. W. of A.; and the I. O. O. F.


Also from the Lykens Standard, 24 July 1925:

Attended Funeral of James Spangler

The following from out of town attended the funeral of Mr. James Spangler who was buried Sunday:

Mr. and Mrs. Irvin Daubert, and son Charles Daubert, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Zimmerman and family, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Spangler and family, John Spangler, George Spangler, Harry Beach, John Beach, and Mr. Statton, of Llewellyn; Mr. and Mrs. James Wheelan, Ambler; Reuben Miller, William Miller, and Alfred Miller, Philadelphia; John Hewitt, wife and two sons of Shafferstown; William Shively, wife and daughter, Kulpmont; Mr. and Mrs. John Miller, son Ammon Miller and daughter Betty Miller, Shamokin; Mr. and Mrs. David Edwards and family, Mt. Carmel; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Miller Sr. and family, Charles Miller Jr. of Donaldson; Mr. and Mrs. George Miller, Mrs. Rachel Kimmel and children, Mrs Sarah Miller, of Keffers; Mrs. Preston Leah, of Tremont; Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Miller, Mrs. Sylvester Batdorf, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Batdorf, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Berry and family, Jerry Miller, William George and children, of Dayton; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Keene and family, Mr. and Mrs Lehr Straub and son Leon, Marlin Womer, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Rowe and daughter Julia Rowe; Mrs. George Schell, and Mrs. George Shomper, of Williamstown; Frank Keene and Mr. and Mrs. Withlock, Harrisburg; Mrs. Hattie Varnes, Mr. and Mrs. Fortenbaugh and child, and Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Fortenbaugh, Marysville; Florence Travitz, Tower City; Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Spangler and children of Enola; Mrs. Leach, Lemoyne.

Flowers presented were as follows:

Cross of gladiolas, Klan; Broken Ladder, Liberty Hose Company No. 2, Lykens; spray gladiolas and roses, Family; spray roses from B. Y. P. U. Society of Baptist Church; spray roses, Mr. and Mrs. William Shively of Kulpmont; spray roses and lilies, Stanley and Employees; spray gladiolas, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Spangler; spray, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Williams; spray asters, Sister Sara and Brother William; spray, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Baddorf; spray gladiolas, Mrs. Frank Keen and Mrs. Elmer Kissinger; spray gladiolas, Mrs. Ed Zimmerman and Mrs. Irvin Daubert; spray, United Mine Workers; spray, L. O. O. Moose.


Leave a Reply

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up. Patience is a virtue; there is no need to re-submit your comment.