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

Chapter 1: introduction ,   pp. 1-21 PDF (8.0 MB)

Page 10

the Klan; that the real and only truth was the Klan's truth. 
Catholics were railed   against because they represented 
a danger to the United Stated insofar as they supposedly 
owed their allegiance to the PopeĀ°. 
Cornell, Wisconsin was the scene of some rather bitter 
anti-Catholic attacks by the Klan. Here, the Klan had the 
added advantage of a large Protestant population--many with 
preconceived ideas. Cornell is a good example of how, 
through the mediom. of secrecy, various Protestant community 
leaders were duped into believing the Catholics to be an 
imminent threat. This was accomplished through the 
distribution by the agitators of a spurious Knights of 
Columbus oath labled as "The Menace."  This claimed that, 
upon the signal of the Pope, all Catholics were conscience 
bound to murder off their Protestant neighbors.20 
20See Chapter Three. Cornell was not an isolated case in this regard. A M;aiden
Rock (Pierce County) resident who well remembers the Klan era writes that:
"'any of the real emotional took things so seriously that they considered
it necessary to have firearms handyat home. One member got so excited he
knew the Catholics had an arsenal of weapons and were going to massacre the
Protestants. He probably had many like believers." (Personal letter
of Ralph B. White to John A. Turcheneske, Jr., December 17, 1970). Interestingly
enough, this "MIenace" idea was not indigenous to the rejuvenated
Klan of the twenties. John Highar, in his Strangers In The Land'V hat the
"M,'enace" idea was originated by vilbu   ra;_inPhelps who was
also the founder of a "patriotic" wee'-ly ktnown as The Mlenace
in 1911. In his citation, Highan noted that     "Mlenace" idea
Vas first 
broached in January Of 1912. States Higham: "Nothing Interested The
Ienace very much except a Roman one .... The paper's most notorious sally
was against the Knights of Columbus, who, according to an oath The 7.enace
helped to publicize, pledged their fourth degr'e-me---e-- to a war of extermination
and mutilation against all heretics." (John Higham, "The Loss of
Confidence," Str ers In The land 

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