;

Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Ku Klux Klan Holds Meeting at Fisherville, 1925

Posted By on January 22, 2018

A meeting of the Ku Klux Klan at Fisherville, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, in 1925, was reportedly poorly attended, mainly because of bad weather.  Regardless, it was noted that despite the weather, “many” came from a distance, including contingents from Williamstown and Halifax.

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.

From the Lykens Standard, 13 November 1925:

K. K. K. HOLD MEETING AT FISHERVILLE

FISHERVILLE, 10 November 1925 — Because of inclement weather the meeting held here Saturday and sponsored by the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was poorly attended.  Dr. Chaser of Reading gave an interesting talk and held his hearers spell-bound throughout the discourse.  Regardless of weather conditions many from a distance attended, people being present from Williamstown, Harrisburg and Halifax.

___________________________________________

News clipping from Newspapers.com.

Hiram Klinger Wiest – Died in Confederate Prison

Posted By on January 19, 2018

A plaque in Richmond, Virginia, placed by the Confederate Memoral Literary Society in 1911, recognizes the site of the Confederate Libby Prison, 1861-1865, where many northern prisoners of war were incarcerated, and some died there.  According to information on Findagrave, Hiram K. Wiest died at Richmond’s Libby Prison in May 1864 and he is buried in a cemetery there.

Hiram Klinger Wiest was born on 6 August 1848 in Pennsylvania, the son of Daniel Merkel Wiest (1822-1901) and Julianna “Angeline” [Klinger] Wiest (1824-1854).  Through his mother he was a direct descendant of the earliest Klinger settlers in the Mahantongo and Lykens Valley area.

On 29 February 1964, claiming to be 20 years old, Hiram enrolled in the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry at Pottsville, and two days later was mustered into service in Company A as a Private.  If the date of birth found on Findagrave is correct, he was actually only 15 when he joined the army.  He said he was a farmer who resided in Schuylkill County.  At the time he stood nearly 5 foot 3 inches tall, had dark hair, a fair complexion, and hazel eyes.  The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card, shown above from the Pennsylvania Archives, indicates that Hiram K. Wiest died of disease while in Rebel hands, 30 October 1864, at Charlestown, South Carolina.

Transcribed information from the Andersonville Prisoner of War Records, found on Ancestry.com, notes that he was “reported to have died at Andersonville but records show he probably died at Libby Prison, not at Anderso….”

Information found on a page 162 of a source identified only as “Mahantongo – Generation V” gives the following information about the father, Daniel Merkel Wiest and the son “Heiram K. Wiest:”

Daniel Wiest operated a brewery at Breckenridge, Missouri, for a number of years.  Later, he built the present hotel in Ktn [Klingerstown], and owned several large farms there.  He was well-acquainted with Quantgrell and Jesse James while in Missouri.  He was a Major in the Pennsylvania State Militia, and had the largest Wiest family on record – twenty-six children.

Heiram K. Wiest, born 6 August 1848; baptized, 8 October 1848.  He served in Company A, 50th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, in the Civil War, with his brother, Frantz Wiest.  Heiram was interned Libby Prison and died there in May 1864.  While still alive, he was thrown on the ‘dead wagon.’

A search of the Pension Index Cards for the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company A, found on Fold3, produced no card for Hiram K. Wiest, indicating that no survivor applied for a pension based on his war service.

It is clear from the family records and stories that it is believed that Hiram died at Libby, but no actual record has been seen of his death nor is it known exactly where he is buried.  The 50th Pennsylvania Infantry has some of the best records available of any regiment.  In this case though, it will probably will never be known what exactly happened to this soldier who was from Klingerstown.

Report on the Ku Klux Klan Demonstration at Millersburg, 1927

Posted By on January 17, 2018

Although no actual attendance count was given, a news report praised the Ku Klux Klan demonstration that was held in Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, in late June 1927.  The anti-immigrant stance of the Klan was evident in the speech by a representative from the National Headquarters who decried the large number of immigrants who were living in the New York City area as he called for more strict immigration laws and stopping the “gates” from being “thrown open” to foreigners from “other worlds.”  Providence intervened to cut his remarks short.  Nevertheless, the positive reporting on this event was typical of the way in which Klan activities were normalized in the local press.

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.

From the Lykens Standard, 1 July 1927:

K. K. K. STAGES DEMONSTRATION AT MILLERSBURG

Beginning at noon Saturday, the Ku Klux Klan of Millersburg staged an open air meeting and Field Day which attracted members from all sections of this and adjoining counties.  A band concert was played intermittently from noon until one o’clock, when Children’s Hour was observed until 2:00 P.M.

The Baby Parade under auspices of the Health Associations of Milersburg was held at that hour, and the activities of the Klan ceased until 2:30 when Klavallers and Kouriers gave exhibition drills.

At 4:30. Mrs. Corda Brubaker, representative of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan spoke on “Americanism” and held her hearers spell-bound with her startling remarks.  Dr. T. J. McKay was another interesting speaker and he, too, proved himself an able orator.

The parade in the evening at 6:30 was a feature of the field day program and was one of the best of the robed organization ever held in this section.  Headed by the Millersburg Band the organizations from Williamstown, Lykens, Millersburg, Dalmatia, Selinsgrove, Sunbury, Harrisburg, etc., paraded the streets in firmness and quietness.  Outstanding among the features were several drill teams composed of young ladies who received much applause along the line of march.

C. R. Butler, representative of the National Headquarters office was the speaker of the evening, and his remarks were forcible and pertained to “Americanism.”  Immigration was a strong point of his argument in which he cited that 1,750,000 foreigners were now living in the New York metropolis with more than one million of those yet un-naturalized,  His address brought out the need of stringent immigration laws and foretold the horrors and disadvantages of having the gates to other worlds thrown open to the foreigners.

Because of a terrible thunderstorm Mr. Butler’s remarks were made brief and many of the Klanfolk left the grounds before the Naturalization and Fireworks. However, the program was carried out as scheduled, although hampered to a great extent by the intermittent showers.

_______________________________________________

News clipping from Newspapers.com.

Obituary of Samuel Beisel Wiest – Lumberman of the Pacific Northwest

Posted By on January 15, 2018

 

Samuel Beisel Wiest, was born 31 December 1845, in Hebe, Jordan Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Klinger Wiest (1821-1877) and Lucetta [Beisel] Wiest (1824-1904).  He was a direct descendant of the first Klinger settlers in the area of the Mahantongo and Lykens Valleys.

On 27 February 1864, in Pottsville, Samuel B. Wiest enrolled in the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, and on the 29 February 1854, at the same place he was mustered into Company A, as a Private.  At the time, he was 20 years old, stood 5 foot 7 inches tall, had brown hair, a fair complexion, and blue eyes.  He gave his occupation as farmer and his residence as Schuylkill County.  According to the Pennsylvania Archives, he served until 30 July 1865, and was honorably discharged with his company and regiment.

On 30 November 1868, Samuel B. Wiest, he applied for a pension.This relatively early application, and the fact that benefits were awarded, is an indication that he suffered some disability related to his service.  According to the Pension Index Card, shown above from Fold3, he died on 12 October 1922 in Portland, Oregon.

The obituary of Samuel B. Wiest appeared in the Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon), on 15 October 1922:

S. B. Wiest, Founder of Stella, Washington, Called by Death

Samuel B. Wiest, founder of the town of Stella, Washington, and one of the first loggers in the Northwest, passed away at his home, 1900 Hawthorne Avenue, at 10:45 o’clock Thursday night.

Mr. Wiest was born in Pennsylvania, 31 December 1845.  At the age of 17, he enlisted in the army and fought in many of the important battles of the Civil War.  He was severely wounded in the Battle of Spottsylvania Courthouse, also in the Battle of the Wilderness.

After the war he came to San Francisco, and from there he made the trip on the first sailing of the boat, City of Chester, and after a rough voyage of six days, arrived at Astoria.  With his two brothers, J. B. Wiest, and William Wiest, who accompanied him west, he started the first actual logging operations of consequence in the Northwest, and later founded the town of Stella, Washington.  He was active in the logging business for 20 years, when in an accident, he lost one of his legs, which caused him to retire, and since that time he had made his home in Portland.

He was an active member of Sumner Camp, G.A.R.  He is survived by his widow, Harriet Wiest; two brothers, J. B. Wiest and William Wiest, and a daughter, Mrs. Charles S. Piper, all of Portland.

The funeral will be under the auspices of the G.A.R. at Finley’s, Fifth and Montgomery Streets, Monday, 16 October 1922, at 2:30 p.m. with interment at Rose City Cemetery.

One possible error occurs in the obituary:  If the Findagrave record in correct, then he was 19 when he enlisted, not 17 as stated in the obituary.

Additional information is sought about this son of Pennsylvania who supposedly played such an important role in the post-Civil War logging industry in the Northwest.

________________________________________

Obituary is from Newspapers.com.

 

 

5000 Attend Ku Klux Klan Demonstration at Gratz Fair Grounds, 1924

Posted By on January 12, 2018

On 4 October 1924, the Gratz Fair sponsored on its closing day, a Ku Klux Klan event that turned out to be the largest such event ever held in the Lykens Valley area.  The advertisement shown above, appeared two weeks in a row in the Lykens Standard.  The advertisement for the Fair was in the same style and published directly below the Klan ad.

K. K. K.

Saturday, 4 October [1924]

At Gratz Fair Grounds

From noon to midnight

KLAN SPEAKERS!

BIG NATURALIZATION

Men, Women and Boys at Nine o’clock P.M.

Klansmen, Klanswomen and Families and all Native Born, White, Protestant, Gentile American Citizens and Families are Invited

Refreshments and Lunch Will Be Sold on the Grounds

 

The copy of the ad that appeared on 3 October 1924 in the Lykens Standard also included the following:

Bus service between P. O. S. of A. Hall, Lykens and Fair Grounds.

In the Lykens Standard of 26 September 1924, a small front page story announced the event and attributed the sponsorship to the “K. K. K. Organization.”

KU KLUX KLAN MEETING AT GRATZ; OCT. 4

The K. K. K. organization will hold a celebration at Gratz Fair Grounds, Saturday, 4 October, beginning at noon and lasting until midnight.  A big naturalization of men, women and boys will be held at 9:00 P. M.   Fireworks are also scheduled.  Announcement and details are given elsewhere in this issue.

 

From the Gratz news column of the Lykens Standard, 1 August 1924:

The Ku Klux Klan had a large gathering on Saturday evening on the fair grounds. The grandstand was filled to overflowing.  It was estimated that there were about 5000 people present.  The writer didn’t get a report how many were initiated.

According to one life-long Gratz resident, these gatherings were held annually at the Gratz Fair Grounds for many years after this initial one in 1924.  She remembered cross-burnings which took place there and knew many folks who were active members of the Klan, including members of her own family.  Members of the board of the Gratz Fair were also active Klan members and encouraged use of the Fair facilities for Klan gatherings.

On 24 July 1925, the Lykens Standard published the following:

KLAN NATURALIZATION AT GRATZ TOMORROW

Dr. Taber of Texas, speaker of prominence, will address a gathering tomorrow afternoon and preside at Naturalization to be held in the evening at the Fair Grounds in Gratz.  The evening program will close with a display of fireworks.

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.

___________________________________________

News clipping from Newspapers.com.