Origin of the Klan

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Hunter

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Thanks! The essay by Anderson in the Weirding book seems to be speculation but I haven't yet read it through. The newspaper I can't access - I'd sure appreciate it if you could - but the date is after the time Forrest was no longer involved in the klan. If this is so - and I need to actually read the articles - that it was after 1868, then Forrest would certainly have never presided over a tournament such as described. He was out of the klan by then and had ordered it disbanded.
I lack the technical skill to post the newspaper here, but you can google Chronicling America and find it. By the way, help me understand why you think Forrest was out of the Klan by 1868.
 

Allie

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Well, I can't speak to the tournaments, but the information about the reasons behind the founding of the klan in the opening post are pure falsehood. Brownlow was certainly a skunk, but opposing him did not require intimidating black voters.
 
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Hunter

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Well, I can't speak to the tournaments, but the information about the reasons behind the founding of the klan in the opening post are pure falsehood. Brownlow was certainly a skunk, but opposing him did not require intimidating black voters.
Before you dismiss it out of hand, you might want to study the matter a little further. For example, the Klan was formed in Tennessee before black males in that state were given the right to vote in 1867. And you are underestimating the impact of the Brownlow's regime on former Confederates. Take a look at Ben Severance's book titled Tennessee's Radical Army and read through Brownlow's Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator beginning in 1865.
 

diane

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If these tournaments were used to recruit members to the klan, then they must have gained popularity after men like Forrest left the organization. Forrest himself was the biggest recruiting tool they had - he did business all over the South and also recruited wherever he was. A general of his stature was just what they had been looking for.
 
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This is very interesting.

As with other members, I too am not familiar with these post War tournaments.

As
James B White pointed out above, surely tournaments existed . . . but such recruitment tools seem out of character for Forrest specifically and the first inception of the Klan in general.
 
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Hunter

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This is very interesting.

As with other members, I too am not familiar with these post War tournaments.

As
James B White pointed out above, surely tournaments existed . . . but such recruitment tools seem out of character for Forrest specifically and the first inception of the Klan in general.
Out of character? How so?
 
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Out of character? How so?
I just can't see Nathan Bedford Forrest participating in that type of event.
He doesn't strike me as a guy interested in such.
Only my humble opinion.

I lack the technical skill to post the newspaper here, but you can google Chronicling America and find it.
While I understand you've only been here for a short time, it's expected that one will at least post a link to a source
cited, rather than telling us "we can google it".

I do not mean to sound rude, I'm only giving advice to a new member.




 
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Hunter

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I just can't see Nathan Bedford Forrest participating in that type of event.
He doesn't strike me as a guy interested in such.
Only my humble opinion.



While I understand you've only been here for a short time, it's expected that one will at least post a link to a source
cited, rather than telling us "we can google it".

I do not mean to sound rude, I'm only giving advice to a new member.




Wish I could do better than give the precise citation and tell exactly how to find what I cited: a search on Chronicling America.
By the way, and not meaning to sound rude, do you have a cite for your opinion that Forrest would not be interested in tournaments? As you advised, please post a link.
 
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Link to an opinion ?

I believe that's rather impossible.

You've introduced a very interesting topic that many of us have never heard about.

Once again, I meant no offense.

I'm looking forward to your continued contributions about this fascinating topic of General Forrest and the Ku Klux Klan
holding medieval style jousting tournaments in order to recruit younger members into their fold.
 
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Allie

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He's absolutely right about Forrest. This one was in 67. Newspaper article about him reading the rules at the opening of the tournament. This one was under the auspices of the church, and had ten thousand people attend, which however doesn't rule out Klan participation in the organizing - there are several comments about how it was a suitable event to raise funds for the wives and daughters of "the Lost Cause." It's easy for moderns to overlook how respectable Klan membership was considered at that time and place.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85033673/1867-05-23/ed-1/seq-3/#date1=1867&index=1&date2=1869&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&lccn=sn84024448&lccn=sn83045160&lccn=sn85033673&words=Tournament+TOURNAMENT+tournament&proxdistance=5&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=Tournament&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
 

Allie

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Before you dismiss it out of hand, you might want to study the matter a little further. For example, the Klan was formed in Tennessee before black males in that state were given the right to vote in 1867. And you are underestimating the impact of the Brownlow's regime on former Confederates. Take a look at Ben Severance's book titled Tennessee's Radical Army and read through Brownlow's Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator beginning in 1865.
Well, Forrest said it was founded to oppose Loyal Leagues and intimidate voters.

As for Brownlow, I was raised in a family that still spit whenever his name was spoken. I'm from Memphis, I know all about Brownlow. But I think it's an error to take Lost Cause mythology at face value - the ex-Confederates may have pretended to be victims, but they were not victims.
 
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diane

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He's absolutely right about Forrest. This one was in 67. Newspaper article about him reading the rules at the opening of the tournament. This one was under the auspices of the church, and had ten thousand people attend, which however doesn't rule out Klan participation in the organizing - there are several comments about how it was a suitable event to raise funds for the wives and daughters of "the Lost Cause." It's easy for moderns to overlook how respectable Klan membership was considered at that time and place.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85033673/1867-05-23/ed-1/seq-3/#date1=1867&index=1&date2=1869&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&lccn=sn84024448&lccn=sn83045160&lccn=sn85033673&words=Tournament+TOURNAMENT+tournament&proxdistance=5&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=Tournament&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
Thanks, Allie! I couldn't get into that to save my life. This is really interesting. There's all sorts of nooks and crannies in Forrest's post-war life - besides the klan! If this was a way to raise funds for Confederate widows and orphans, he'd do it with more gusto than recruiting for the klan, that's for sure. So these events were charitable in nature, not a cover for the klan?

It wasn't all that long ago nor only in the South the klan was thought to be respectable. In the 70s here they proudly marched in the 4th of July parade - businessmen, clergy, teachers, all that! In fact, the pillars of the community were mainly who they were, just about no working class Joes. Now they are so reviled they don't dare poke their pointy heads out of their dens.
 

diane

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James B White

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What is the smoking gun tying these tournaments to Klan recruiting? Is the Klan or some hint of it mentioned in a write-up? Is there a connection to the local klans among the big wigs at each tournament in each location? Are the later histories of the Klan (1900s) looking back and remembering the tournaments? When Forrest left the Klan, did new Klan big wigs start being listed instead of him?

It's certainly possible that the Klan recruited at such tourneys--they wanted good horsemen whose horses didn't spook at costumes and who liked the concept of old fashioned southern white ways--but the tourneys were a thing bigger than Forrest and Klan strongholds. Here's one in 1870 New York, being spun as a sign that wartime hard feelings were over because southerners came up to compete with northerners: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030313/1870-05-25/ed-1/seq-5/#date1=1865&index=19&date2=1870&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&words=ring+Tournament+tournament+tournaments&proxdistance=5&state=New+York&state=Ohio&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=&andtext=Tournament+ring&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1 Is the premise that only some were used for recruiting, and others were just tourneys, or was recruiting going on at all?

I'd just like to see the dots connected a little more clearly.

Edited to add: just saw Allie's posts. Now we're getting somewhere. But I wish the one making the claim was providing the evidence.
 
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Allie

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Thanks, Allie! I couldn't get into that to save my life. This is really interesting. There's all sorts of nooks and crannies in Forrest's post-war life - besides the klan! If this was a way to raise funds for Confederate widows and orphans, he'd do it with more gusto than recruiting for the klan, that's for sure. So these events were charitable in nature, not a cover for the klan?

It wasn't all that long ago nor only in the South the klan was thought to be respectable. In the 70s here they proudly marched in the 4th of July parade - businessmen, clergy, teachers, all that! In fact, the pillars of the community were mainly who they were, just about no working class Joes. Now they are so reviled they don't dare poke their pointy heads out of their dens.
On the face of it, it was a charitable event to raise money for widows and orphans. If there was more to it than that, it's not possible to tell from the newspaper articles. My feeling is that there were sufficiently few combatants that the combat itself would not serve as a good recruiting tool - only about a dozen at the 68 one. However, the list of organizers is interesting. I see Chalmers, Rucker, and Duckworth, as well as Judge Pulliam who is interesting to me in particular because he was my Sawyer gggrandfather's next door neighbor.

By the way - note that there are two tournaments being advertised on this page - ten days apart. One for a monument and one for widows and orphans.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045160/1868-06-17/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1867&index=3&date2=1869&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&lccn=sn84024448&lccn=sn83045160&lccn=sn85033673&words=TOURNAMENT+Tournament&proxdistance=5&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=Tournament&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
 
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diane

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I just can't see Nathan Bedford Forrest participating in that type of event.
He doesn't strike me as a guy interested in such.
Only my humble opinion.


I can't see Forrest interested in that type of thing either! It's like fitting a square peg in a round hole without using your pocket knife. There wasn't a heck of a lot of time for cultural activities when Forrest was growing up and making his way in the world, but he did know his Shakespeare as Streight could vouch for! Willie had a taste for the theater and performing arts - he was going to play the part of his father in the play he died at. Now I can see where that reference to Knight of Tennessee would come from - Willie would find these tournaments right up his alley.
 
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diane

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On the face of it, it was a charitable event to raise money for widows and orphans. If there was more to it than that, it's not possible to tell from the newspaper articles. My feeling is that there were sufficiently few combatants that the combat itself would not serve as a good recruiting tool - only about a dozen at the 68 one. However, the list of organizers is interesting. I see Chalmers, Rucker, and Duckworth, as well as Judge Pulliam who is interesting to me in particular because he was my Sawyer gggrandfather's next door neighbor.
I wouldn't doubt some recruiting took place there, then, but it would at a church picnic, a barbecue, fair or any place else a passel of people were together. It's quite possible that some considered it a way of training. That time after the war was bad in Tennessee and Forrest along with the generals in your above post, with many more, had reason to feel the war might be on again sooner rather than later.
 

Allie

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I can't see Forrest interested in that type of thing either! It's like fitting a square peg in a round hole without using your pocket knife. There wasn't a heck of a lot of time for cultural activities when Forrest was growing up and making his way in the world, but he did know his Shakespeare as Streight could vouch for! Willie had a taste for the theater and performing arts - he was going to play the part of his father in the play he died at. Now I can see where that reference to Knight of Tennessee would come from - Willie would find these tournaments right up his alley.
Honestly, I don't see how it's out of character for someone who conducted solemn ceremonies wearing robes and calling people wizards.
 
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