NCORANGE-L ArchivesArchiver > NCORANGE > 1997-11 > 0880772654
From: "Carol A. Johnson" <>
Subject: Ku Klux Activities in Alamance 1/2
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 21:04:14 -0600
At the close of the war, many qualified office-holders were denied
political positions, and corrupt politics descended upon Alamance County,
as they did throughout the South.
Out of this atmosphere of fear and unrest rose the Ku Klux Klan. There
were three divisions of the Klan, known as the Invisible empire, the White
Brotherhood, and the Constitutional Union Guard, and each of them had
chapters in Alamance.
Jacob A. LONG headed the ten camps of the White Brotherhood and the Empire
in this county, and James A. J. PATTERSON was chief of the Guard. Each
camp of the Brotherhood had its own chief as well; these included Jacob A.
LONG, Jasper N. WOOD, John T. TROLLINGER, Albert MURRAY, George ANTHONY,
David MEBANE, William STOCKARD, John DURHAM, James BRADSHER, and Joseph
FAUCETTE. Leader of the five klans of the Constitutional Union Guard in
the county were James A. J. PATTERSON, Eli EULISS, John T. FOGLEMAN, Jasper
N. WOOD, Jacob LONG, and George ANTHONY. (Note: These names and events are
found in official records of the impeachment trial of Governor W. W.
There were said to have been 600 to 700 members of the three klans in the
Although the Ku Klux later acquired an infamous reputation, due partially
to deed for whidch the Klan itself was not responsible, it was formed as an
organization to protect the "rights of the South, or of the people" and to
protect the homes of Confederate veterans from "Yankee scalawags and
carpetbaggers" who invaded the South at this time to gather the spoils of
The Ku Klux adopted a weird and firghtening costume. At meetings or on
raids, the Brotherhood members wore large, loose gowns that covered their
whole body and dragged on teh ground. These gowns were made of linen,
bleached very white, and were starched and ironed st that they glittered
and rustled in the moonlight. Over their heads the klansmen wore a hood
with eye holes and an artificial nose six or eight inches long which was
stuffed with cotton and lapped with red braid half an inch wide. the eye
sockets wre lined with red braid and eyebrows were made of it.
The hood was lined with red flannel and a six inch red flannel tongue hung
from the grotesque mouth with its huge teeth. A leather bag hung inside the
hood beneath the tongue, and klansmen often forced Negroes to bring them
gallons of water which they poured into this bag. There were three horns
on top of the hood, each a foot long and lapped with red braid.
The Ku Klux Klan was widespread in Alamance County, and there was a very
general sentiment among the people in favor of the movement. However, only
one raid was ever made by the Brotherhood or Empire with the official
santion of the county Chief.
The quiet little village of Graham was suddenly dignified by the
appointement of a night police force. It consisted of three Negroes who
were instructed to stop all persons who came on the streets after nine
o'clock and ascertain their business. This excited much anger in the town,
and Jacob A. LONG ordered thirty men in disguise, without arms, to ride
through the town with the purpose of frightening the Negro police.
Late one night, thirty-one klansmen rode into Graham and slowly and
silently circled the courthouse. The moonlight gave an eerie glow to their
ghostly robes. Wyatt OUTLAW and Henry HOLT, both Negro policemen, opened
fire, and emptied their pistols as the klansmen galloped away from the
LONG saw at once the impossibility of controlling the Klan groups, and
refused to give his consent to any other demonstration. He was right; the
movement was beyond the control of any man, whatever his authority. In
1869 LONG called a meeting of the local chiefs and officially disbanded the
White Brotherhood and invisible Empire. The Constitutional Union Guard was
disbanded a year later, but a period of great activity by the individual
members followed. Klan orders and laws were ignored, and the organization
began to take on a black aura.
In January, 1869, Caswell HOLT, a Negro, was severely whipped allegedly for
insulting a young white girl. Several suspects were arrested and carried
to a Republican magistrate, but all were cleared. About a year later HOLT
was visited by the Ku Klux, who fired into his house and wounded him
Alonzo CORLISS, a man from the North, settled shortly after the war at
Company Shops and began teaching a Negro school there. He was president of
the local Union League and incurred the wrath of many white citizens by
insisting that Negroes go to church and sit among the white people. In the
autumn of 1869, the Ku KLux whipped CORLISS, shaved one side of his head,
and painted one side of his face black. he had four men arrested and
examined before a Republican magistrate, but could produce no evidence
CORLISS was a cripple, and many Klansmen were angry at his treatment and
sympathized with him, but his trials were not over. Soon
afterwards a flag trimmed with crepe was set up in the road near his
school, and a coffin paced nearby bearing the following words
"CORLISS and the Negroes. Let the guilty beware. Don't touch. Hell."
A large number of persons in the county were whipped, some for a particular
offense and some for their general mode of life. Insofar as it can be
determined, none were lashed for political reasons.
Many negroes were whipped for the purpose of intimidation, with eighteen of
them suffering this abuse in one section in one night. During one such
case, a child was trampled and later died from the injuries. In another
case, a Negro woman used an axe to such effect that one of the visitors
carried its mark across his face for the rest of his life. One white man
who had been talking loudly against the Klan found a coffin at his door
with the inscription across its head, "Hold your tongue, or this will be
your home." and down its length, "Alive today, but dead tomorrow."
Negroes and whites were visited and made to rasp skeleton hands or bring
buckets of water for the thristy spirit who "hadn't had a drink of water
since he was killed at Shiloh." One old man, Benjamin CABLE, burst into
the office of the Clerk of Court the day after one such experience, crying,
"God, ALBRIGHT, the Ku Klux don't hurt anybody but they scare a man 'most
to death. They made me bring six buckets of water . . ."
==== NCORANGE Mailing List ====
Larry Noah - - Listowner - NCORANGE mailing list
Orange Co, NC USGenWeb site is at http://www.rootsweb.com/~ncorange
USGenWeb Orange Co, NC Archives site is at