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Turcheneske, John Anthony / The Ku Klux Klan in northwestern Wisconsin

Chapter 8: Pierce County kloncaves,   pp. 138-159 PDF (7.8 MB)

Page 138

Chapter 8 
River Falls and Ellsworth were two of the more 
important areas of Klan activity in Pierce County. News items relating to
the Klan first appeared in September of 1925. Taking a winter hiatus, the
Klan reemerged In the Spring of 1926 as a factor in the life of both communities.
Campaigning briefly in River Falls, the main focus of Klan activities was
centered in Ellsworth for the duration of the summer. Polarization over the
organization was particularly evident in Ellsworth. This divisiveness resulted
in the sensational yellow fringe controversy.1 Community disruption was primarily
actuated during the Klan's presence. However, the Klan ceased to be news
after 1926 for several reasons. The more important consideration to be noted
is that the Klan was somewhat discredited by the flag controversy. Also,
the Klan organizers removed themselves from the scene after the Fall of 1926.2
IThe yellow fringe flag controversy refers to the 
confrontation which resulted out of the Klan's objection to the standard
regimental flag of the United States. The details of the Klan-Ellsworth American
Legion affair at the 1926 Pierce County Fair are related in Chapter Nine.
2Letter of Father J. F. Shanaghy to John J. Blaine, November 5, 1926, John
J. Blaine Papers, Wis., Mss., PI, The State Historical Society of Wisconsin,
Madison, Wisconsin (hereafter cited as Blaine Papers), Box 59. The Klan tabernacle
was removed to the Town of El Paso. 

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