Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jesse James Was One of His Names Posted by: Philip K. Kromer

The following information is from a book which is out-of-print and has become very difficult to obtain. Whether or not the information presented below is true, I will leave to the reader to decide. However, if it is true, the information is so important that it needs to be available to researchers. Because of the extreme rarity of the information, I feel I am justified in posting it here for the benefit of those who otherwise would not be able to access it except with great difficulty. I have left quite a bit of the account out, but the really important parts have all been included. If you need the complete account, you will have to obtain the book somehow. There are a few copies of the book available in public libraries, scattered across the U. S. Also, the Library of Congress owns a copy.

The following is information quoted directly from the book titled "Jesse James Was One of His Names" ( Arcadia, CA: Santa Anita Press, 1975 ), by Del Schrader ( with Jesse James III ). Chapter 8 - The Odyssey of John Wilkes Booth ( pages 133 - 142 ):

( page 134 ): 

"The Knights of the Golden Circle, the top Confederate underground organization headed by another 'dead man,' Col. Jesse Woodson James, had another version.
Prior to the Civil War, J. Wilkes Booth ... had attended a military school, but had been bounced because he was too impetuous. When the war broke, Booth volunteered for the Confederate Army, but an officer was impressed with his intelligence and ability to interchangeably 'talk like a Yankee and a Southerner.' It was decided Booth could do more than shoot a gun.
After a short training course, Booth was soon moving back and forth through Union and Confederate lines with valuable military information for the South. At times, he used the name John Botha, the last name of a Russian-Jewish ancestor who settled in England. Posing as a drummer ( salesman ), he sold materiel of war to both sides.
While he was a competent enough spy, Booth had some traits which bothered his superiors. He asked too many questions about Confederate plans, and he enjoyed gathering gossip about Rebel generals. At times, the Confederates had Booth under surveillance, believing he could be a double agent. Despite their suspicions, Booth continued to deliver damaging information on Union moves, and he did it in record time."

( pages 134 - 135 ):

"In spite of his service, Booth was never able to advance above The Knights of the White Camellias, the third-ranked Confederate secret organization. He brought ill-conceived schemes to kill President Lincoln, Gen. U. S. Grant and other high-ranking Union officers, to his superiors. Put down as a 'loner,' Booth boasted of personal friends who would help him commit the acts. Confederates doubted his leadership, and some of his friends were checked out and denied membership in any of the Southern secret organizations....
The final year of the Civil War when things were going badly for the South, Booth did less spying and more plotting on his own. He reported to his Confederate superiors, 'A representative of the European Rothschilds called on President Lincoln and offered him money at 27 1/2 per cent interest, but was thrown out of his office.'
A few years later, while gathered in the Confederate Underground Capital in Nashville, Tenn., The Knights of the Golden Circle heard a report from one of Booth's superiors in which he alleged the Rothschilds incident might have been the turning point in the spy's frustration. 'Gentlemen,' he said, 'I personally think that John Wilkes Booth went to work for the Rothschilds and assassinated Mr. Lincoln in their behalf.'
Most Southerners were shocked by the senseless assassination of President Lincoln. The war was over for all practical purposes, and their cause was lost. The Knights of the Golden Circle moved quickly to get Wilkes Booth to safety - he knew too much. Near a village in Maryland, the haggard assassin, his leg broken, was hidden in a wagon-load of chicken coops, the first leg of his journey to the Free State of Van Zandt, Texas."

( pages 135 - 136 ):

"William S. ( Wild Bill ) Lincoln, a distant cousin of the President, reported in a sworn statement: 'Our branch of the Lincoln family was never satisfied with what really happened to Booth, and I spent fourteen years of my life runnung down the true story. Strangely enough, I learned it from Jesse W. James, head of the Confederate underground. I was present at Booth's real death.'
'... Colonel James ... told me ... that the Confederate underground had no love for Booth - he had shot the President after it was too late. However, the organization protected him and put the lazy bastard on a $3,600 a year pension as long as he behaved himself and caused them no trouble; but Booth couldn't stand fetters.' Because of strict Confederate underground surveillance, Booth pulled up stakes and moved to Glen Rose, Texas, where he operated a distillery. He managed to get into difficulty with Federal authorities over a special U. S. permit and tax and sent his lawyer to the Federal District Court in Paris, Texas. Deserting his distillery, Booth moved to Granbury, Hood County, Texas, where he built the city's first stone business building at the southwest corner of Courthouse Square, now used as a restaurant.
He also returned to the stage, a direct violation of his agreement with the underground. Texas Rangers and lawmen, mostly former Confederate soldiers, filed reports with The Knights of the Golden Circle telling about the strange behavior of John Wilkes Booth, alias James St. George. The actor-assassin was drinking heavily, bragging about being the man who shot Lincoln, and boasting about his knowledge of Confederate underground secrets."

( pages 136 - 137 ):

"The Golden Circle held a meeting and sentiment was strong for executing Booth, but Jesse W. James, who by this time was building an empire in the West, suggested, 'I kind of agree with you about shutting his big mouth for good, but let's let him make a tour of theaters in the West. We'll send along two agents to ride herd on him.'
Meanwhile, ... Booth had hired a lawyer to write a book about his secret life and how and why he shot President Lincoln.... Then one night in 1902 or early 1903, Wild Bill was sitting in Colonel Jim McDaniels' ( Jesse James ) hotel room in Guthrie, Oklahoma, when a book was tossed his way. McDaniels ... said, 'Believe it or not, Wild Bill, that book was written by one of your men in the White Camellias, old John Wilkes Booth, alias Edwin Booth, alias James St. George ... The Knights of the Golden Circle bought up most of his press run, but there's a lot of dynamite in the book. We're still preparing for the Second Civil War and Booth is busy revealing a lot of our secrets. He knows more than any of us ever thought.'"

( pages 137 - 138 ):

"In a sworn statement at Zephyrhills, Florida, on October 1, 1950, William S. ( Wild Bill ) Lincoln said, 'While trying for years on my own to run down the John Wilkes Booth mystery, I landed right in the middle of the Jesse Woodson James mystery without half trying.'

In the spring of 1903 ... McDaniel said ... 'The end is coming for that scoundrel, John Wilkes Booth.... I've spared that rascal's life many times. The Golden Circle just had a meeting down in Texas, and we voted to execute Booth.... We know he's registered at the Grand Avenue Hotel in Enid [ Oklahoma ] tonight under the name of James St. George.'"

( page 139 ):

"A half block from the Grand Avenue Hotel that night a young Indian boy was selling lemons from a small basket.The Colonel stopped and said to Wild Bill, 'Have this kid make you about a quart of lemonade, pronto, while I duck into this drug store.'
Four Golden Circle agents sat in the lobby while the other three joined the two agents already surrounding the hotel - just in case Booth made a run for it. 'Mr. St. George expects us,' the Colonel told the desk clerk and he started up the steps, followed closely by Wild Bill with a jar of lemon juice. The door was unlocked and the two men could see the shape of a man lying on the bed."

( page 140 ):

"'... Being a hot night, Mr. Booth, we brought you something cool to drink. Now, Wild Bill, you talk to Mr. Booth while I fix up his drink.' Jesse went over to the wash stand with the jar of lemonade. Hastily, he pulled two bottles from his pocket and poured pure arsenic into the jar. Then he stirred the mixture with a table fork. He poured the loaded lemonade into a glass. Approaching the bed, Jesse said, 'Now, Mr. Booth, I think you've had enough alcohol for tonight. This lemonade will really fix you up. I personally guarantee it.' ... Booth gasped, went into almost a stage fall, but hit the floor with a thud. Jesse James bent over and felt his heart. 'Deader than a mackerel,' he said. 'Wild Bill, stay here. I'm sending up the four agents in the lobby to go through Booth's luggage. I'll be back in a few minutes.'

( page 141 ):

" ... The six men were amazed at the records Booth had kept through the years. After they had finished sorting it, Jesse said, 'You know, men, I'm just glad Booth didn't put all this in that crazy book his lawyer wrote - he could have put a noose around all of our necks!'
Colonel James then directed his men to plant just enough evidence around the room so that the U. S. Marshals could identify the dead man as John Wilkes Booth. Then they took the trunk and departed.... Late that afternoon from Guthrie, Jesse had an agent send a telegram to the U. S. Marshal's office telling them John Wilkes Booth was dead and where his body could be found."

( pages 141 - 142 ):

" ... Three days later, Jesse, accompanied by Wild Bill and two agents, went back to Enid.... The clerk said, 'Whole bunch of lawmen were here yesterday morning up there in Mr. St. George's room, but his body is still there in the bed. It's starting to turn black-like and is tough as leather.' 'Don't worry, son,' Jesse said, 'we're relatives and we've come to claim his body.'
... Carting the body of Booth back to Guthrie, Jesse looked up a doctor friend and asked him for a diagnosis.'It would appear that this man swallowed so much poison, probably arsenic, that he is permanently preserved. He's like a damn Egyptian mummy!'
Through a friendly town marshal, Jesse learned that the federal men had checked out John Wilkes Booth's body and papers in Enid and reported some transient posing as Booth had committed suicide. The report listed the dead man's name as James St. George.
Wild Bill wrote years later, 'Was the Booth case still too hot to touch in 1903? I'm sure Dr. Samuel Mudd along with others would have been vindicated, and it would have exposed the earler ill-conceived, hysterical investigation, but the U. S. Marshals just turned their backs on the case. Maybe the U. S. government by 1903 had uncovered the real facts in the Booth case and was too ashamed to admit the big blunders made by the government in 1865.'
Under Jesse James' direction, the leathery, mummified body of John Wilkes Booth was put in a special coffin and several of his men took it on an exhibition tour all over the United States. Jesse James III reports the Booth body was owned by a Glencoe, Minnesota, jeweler named Jay Gould, a relative of the financier, who had it stored. 'This was in 1955 and I believe Gould has passed away. What happened to the body? Who knows? Perhaps John Wilkes Booth, hated by both the North and the South, is destined to lie forever unburied and unwanted.'"

Notes to the above by Philip K. Kromer:

For a very detailed account of the Abraham Lincoln-Rothschild-Booth connection, read the book titled "Lincoln Money Martyred," by R. E. Search. Another book along these lines is titled "Rothschild Money Trust," by George Armstrong ( = Andrew Fabius ). Booth hired a lawyer to help him write his life's story. The name of the lawyer is Finis Langdon Bates, and the title of the book he wrote is "Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth." To the best of my knowledge, this book was first published in 1907. Actually, it was published in 1907 by 3 or 4 different publishers, under slightly different titles. Del Schrader's account has Jesse James referring to the book as though it had already been published by 1902-1903. Whether or not this book had actually been published prior to the well-known and authenticated editions of 1907, I so far have not been able to determine.
As to the Knights of the Golden Circle, here is more information from Del Schrader's book, but I will not be giving the page numbers, and the information will not be in any particular order: "The Knights of the Golden Circle, perhaps smarting from backing a loser in Mexico, closed down and sealed the records in 1916. But The Organization run by Jesse James still flourished in 1923 and in fact in years later....Old Jesse did a tremendous amount of meddling in international affairs and perhaps God alone knows the amount of mischief caused by the outlaw and the Golden Circle underground.... One of the deadliest, wealthiest, most secretive and efficient spy and underground organizations in the history of the world was The Knights of the Golden Circle, which operated over the globe for sixty-five years ( 1851 - 1916 ). Ranking below the Golden Circle in this order were The Knights of the Golden Stirrup, The Knights of the White Camellias, The Knights of the Inner Circle, The Knights of the Outer Circle, and The International Anti-Horse Thief Association ( TEXYS ). The original Ku Klux Klan was the military arm of The Knights of the Golden Circle. There were several dozen "front" organizations, but only a few received any publicity. Some of the craftiest, finest brains in the South directed activities of The Knights of the Golden Circle. The group was heavy on ritual, which was borrowed from the Masonic Lodge and later The Knights of Pythias. A couple were members of the Rosicrucians. The 13-man Inner Sanctum which ran the Golden Circle in the years immediately following the Civil War elected Colonel Elbert DeWitt Travis, alias William Clarke Quantrill and Charley Hart, as its chief. He served until his death in the middle 1890s. Secretary of the Inner Sanctum was "Uncle George" Payne, while Jesse James was elected treasurer and comptroller in 1867 when former Emperor Maximilian donated $12.5 million to the group. The other ten members were General Nathan B. Forrest, John Patterson ( Jefferson Davis ), Bud Dalton, Professor B. E. Bedeczek, Lewis Dalton, George Baxter, Captain John James, Coleman Younger, General J. O. Shelby, and Jack ( Brac ) Miller. As members of the Inner Sanctum died or became too old to serve, they were replaced up to 1916.... Old Jesse James was the head of the Golden Circle when its executive body decided there wasn't going to be a Second Civil War and sealed the records in 1916.... Old Colonel James admitted in 1949, "Well, the Copperheads, Sons of Liberty and Order of American Knights were all tied in with The Knights of the Golden Circle and they rendered a certain help to the Confederate cause. Trouble is, there weren't enough of them. And a lot of them were just misguided, negative nuts who would have rebelled against the Confederacy and aided the North if they had been living in the South. I never figured this type of person too reliable and I sure as hell wouldn't have wanted to have ridden into battle with any of 'em." ... With Lee's surrender, The Knights of the Golden Circle membership increased rapidly, along with the subordinate organizations. The Golden Circle moved into an old building on Fatherland in Nashville. The old building stood where "The Grand Ole Opry" got its start.... Before the call came from Quantrill to report to Oak Grove, Louisiana, to map the rescue of Shelby's men, Quantrill had sworn him [ Jesse W. James ] into The Knights of the Golden Circle, saying, "The day will come, Jesse, when you'll head the Golden Circle. The South shall rise again, and you will lead the way!" ... Concerning the KKK, Jesse admitted, "It was the secret military police of the Old South, but the Golden Circle really rode herd on their activities. We began folding up the KKK a few years after the Golden Circle sealed its records for fifty years in 1916. We oldtimers had absolutely nothing to do with the modern KKK, which is a different breed of cat. Not many people in either the North or South knew that right after the end of the Civil War we recruited twenty-thousand Negro KKK members. They were the most intelligent and reliable blacks we could find. Our theory was that Negroes would take orders easier from other Negroes. They weren't burning crosses or flogging, they were giving counsel and even financial help to the freed, but bewildered slaves. They kept busy knocking stupid ideas out of Negro heads put there by unscrupulous Carpetbaggers." ... Only a handful of Golden Circle records remain today. In the first place, not much was written down. It was committed to memory. Jesse James III, who was raised at his grandfather's [ Jesse W. James ] knee from the age of 10, probably is the greatest living authority on the Golden Circle and he is close-mouthed. "Many secrets, which I learned from Grandpa, will die with me. Why muddy waters? Many fine Southern families today have ancestors who did violent and expedient things while serving the Golden Circle. I'll let sleeping dogs lie. ... At today's prices, the buried Confederate treasure would probably be worth at least $100 billion dollars. ... In later years, the Golden Circle was run by thirteen of the best and wealthiest men in the South. The Master sat on the Throne of the East and gave out his wisdom and directions to twelve so-called Disciples, who in turn each had twelve disciples. The only way one could get into the Inner Sanctum or Inner Circle was when one of the Master's Twelve died off or retired. There's a lot more involved in the Golden Circle, but that's all I'll reveal. As far as I'm concerned, the rest belongs to the ages!"

Friday, April 18, 2014


Jesse James in life.Jesse James in myth.Jesse James in death--
or is it Charlie Bigelow?
History tells us that Jesse James died in 1882, shot by a former friend, Bob Ford.  Yet many believe that James faked his death, and lived for years under the name J. Frank Dalton.

Here his story--a true story of the Weird West . . .

Jesse James reportedly belonged to a secret society, The Knights of the Golden Circle.  Other members included Jefferson Davis, Bedford Forrest, and William Quantrill (leader of the Confederate guerilla outfit Quantrill's Raiders, with whom James rode).  Some believe the society was created by the notorious Albert Pike, the subject of many a Masonic conspiracy theory.

According to the book Jesse James Was One of His Names (written by Del Schrader, with Jesse James III), the American Civil War did not really end in 1865, but continued to be fought "underground" for 19 more years.  Its highly sophisticated spy network, operated by the Knights of the Golden Circle, continued for even longer and was involved in many subversive activities.  One of these was train robbery, a specialty of the James Gang, the purpose being to enrich the coffers of the Confederate underground.  As a Confederate agent, James was also involved in smuggling guns and ammunition to the Plains Indians, as well as providing training in guerilla tactics, for use against their common enemy, General George Armstrong Custer and the Union Army.

After General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomatox, a force of 2,000 Missouri cavalry and a full regiment of Confederate-led Red Bone Indians from East Texas, led by General J. O. Shelby journeyed to Mexico to join their ally, the Emperor Maximilian.  When they were later threatened by Mexican patriots under the leadership of Benito Juarez, an elite force led by William Quantrill and Jesse James was sent to rescue them.

While in Mexico, James was enlisted in an operation to smuggle Maximilian's treasure out of Mexico.  On their way north, the James force learned that Maximilian had "apparently" been executed by the Mexican patriots.  He and several others had been shot by firing squad, then loaded into carts and carried away for burial.  But the gravesite ceremony was infiltrated by Red Bone Indians, who noticed signs of life in Maximilian.  The Indians talked the Mexicans into allowing them to give him a separate burial.  Later he was nursed back to health and transported to East Texas.

According to Schrader, Maximilian changed his name to John Maxi and began living undercover in North America.  Jesse James traveled to Europe, found a double of Maximilian's wife, Charlotta, then smuggled the real Charlotta back to America, where she was reunited with her husband.  The man buried in Maximilian's grave in Vienna is a German seaman who died in a gunfight in Vera Cruz, Mexico.  "Switching bodies is a subterfuge as old as mankind," writes Schrader, "and the Golden Circle certainly had no monopoly on this practice."

For their assistance, Maximilian rewarded the Knights of the Golden Circle $12.5 million in gold, and Jesse James $5 million.

Jesse James was now a wealthy man, with enough power and influence to fake his own death--and, with the law hot on his trail, this was undoubtedly a wise move.

According to Bud Hardcastle (a Jesse James historian), the man who was killed and identified as James was Charlie Bigelow.   "Bigelow was robbing things and using Jesse's name, and that's one of the reasons they probably identified him as Jesse . . . and Bigelow was buried as Jesse James."

Supposedly, Mrs. Jesse James was in reality Mrs. Bigelow--a prostitute who had been bribed to identify the corpse as that of James.

Hardcastle states that others who identified the dead body in 1882 had ulterior motives as relatives or members of Quantrill's Raiders.  These men had all ridden with Jesse and taken an oath to protect each other. By identifying the body as Jesse James, they were setting Jesse free.

However, one member of the James gang, an illiterate black man by the name of John Trammell, left a coded message revealing the hoax.

Acording to Schrader, Trammell scratched some messages into some wet bricks.  One brick "contained an image of a Spanish dagger, the numerals 777, KGC [Knights of the Golden Circle] and JJ [Jesse James]. . . ."  The bricks, which were buried in St. Joseph Missouri, were discovered in 1966.

Jesse James began living under the name J. Frank Dalton.  (The name "Dalton" was his mother's maiden name.  The initial "J" stood for "Jesse," and "Frank" was his brother's name.)  As Chief of the Inner Sanctum of the Knights of the Golden Circle, James was one of the most powerful men in America.  Schrader writes, "The Knights had industrial as well as military spies on both sides of the Atlantic."

Among the activities of James/Dalton was the murder of John Wilkes Booth, another Confederate spy who did not die when history says he did.

After assassinating President Abraham Lincoln, Booth was smuggled by the Confederate underground to Texas, where he began living under the name John St. Helen.  In the 1870s he worked as a bartender in a saloon in Granbury, Texas, and began telling people about his past.  When the Knights of the Golden Circle found out, the decision was made to silence him.   Booth fled Granbury.

Jesse James, along with William "Wild Bill" Lincoln (a distant cousin of President Lincoln), tracked Booth to Enid, Oklahoma, where he had assumed the name David George.

In a sworn statement, "Wild Bill" Lincoln wrote:  "Our branch of the Lincoln family was never satisfied with what really happened to Booth, and I spent fourteen years of my life running down the true story.  Strangely enough, I learned it from Jesse W. james, head of the Confederate underground.  I was present at Booth's real death."

According to Lincoln, he and James crept into Booth's room and tricked him into drinking a glass of arsenic-laced lemonade.  The massive amount of arsenic consumed by Booth caused his body to mummify.  James arranged for the body to be exhibited on a national carnival tour.  The mummy's present whereabouts are unknown.

As "J. Frank Dalton," Jesse James turned his $5 million reward from Maximilian into an even greater fortune.  He invested in the Texas oil boom, and was also a backer of the Hughes Tool Company (founded by Howard Hughes' father).  He was also one of Henry Ford's early investors.

James/Dalton died at the age of 103 in Granbury, Texas.  Many people who had known the outlaw in life swore that Dalton was the real Jesse James.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The New York Times, August 30, 1861


Under this head an article appears in the London Spectator, of Aug. 17, which is of especial interest, as the journal in which it appears is well known to be American property and under American inspiration. It has a prominent place among the articles on the leading topics of the day, which forms a conspicuous and valuable feature of the Spectator, and will be read with interest by men of all hues in politics on this side of the Atlantic;

Just before the descent of LOPEZ on Cuba, the American papers were full of allusions to an association called the Order of the Lone Star, said to be organized for the purpose of conquering Cuba and Nicaragua. M. SOULE was said to be its President, and the appointment of that individual as Minister to Madrid was regarded by the Court of Spain, as a wilful discourtesy. LOPEZ himself belonged to the society, and it was from the ranks of the Order that WALKER obtained his most ardent recruits. After the failure of WALKER's first expedition, the rumors of the society died away, and though its members, under the quaint title of "Precipitators," were supposed to be active in the work of disunion, the society itself, as such, ceased to play any prominent part. The more violent members, however, saw in it a power which might be effectively used, and on the first symptom of the predominance of the Free-Soilers, they organized a new association, under the name of the Knights of the Golden Circle, with new and better defined objects, and an obligation of secrecy. The secret of the Order, however, has been betrayed during the intestine strife raised by disunion in Kentucky, and the revelation exposes a plot which, for audacity, ability and wickedness, has rarely been surpassed in the long history of conspiracy.

The object of the Order may be briefly stated. It is nothing less than to raise an army of 16,000 men for the conquest of Mexico, and the establishment in that vast Territory of a strongly organized monarchy, resting on a basis of slave institutions. The precise mode of accomplishing this object has already been settled. As soon as the internal warfare is over, all members of the Order, under their secret leaders, are to repair to Guanajuato, with the Governor of which province of Mexico, MICHAEL DOBLADO, the Order has concluded a formal treaty. By the provisions of this precious document the Governor is to add 16,000 men of his own, and the entire army is to march forward under his command to the permanent subjugation of the country. Means are found from the revenues of the province, and its State property is "mortgagad" for the payment of the soldiery, at one-eighth above the American rates.

To secure the necessary cohesion, the Order has been organized after this fashion. Every applicant for admission is first sworn to secrecy under the penalty of death, and then the design of the Order is revealed. If he assents to its propriety, and is, moreover, an American born, and a slaveowner, or can produce proof that he is imbued with Southern sentiments, and is a Protestant, he is admitted as a soldier of the Order, and informed of its signs, pass-words, and organization. On the recommendation of the chiefs of the Order he is admitted to the second degree, informed that the stores and ammunition for the Army are collected at Monterey, and acquainted with the names of the officers to whom he is to look for pay. He is also supposed to be on active service, and the President has, we perceive, summoned all Kentuckian members to attend a rendezvous, where they will be drilled and organized by regular instructors, and whence they are, for the present, to control the Kentucky elections in favor of Southern men. If influential enough, he is next admitted to the third degree, the council of the Order, which under the Presidency of Mr. GEORGE BICKLEY, the future monarch, regulates the affairs of the Order, without communication, except through GEORGE BICKLEY, to the other degrees. He swears in this degree to obtain all the neophytes he can, to support his colleagues the Knights of the Columbian Star in all efforts for office, to conquer Mexico and "Southernize" its institutions; to drive all free negroes into Mexico, there to be enslaved, and to reduce the peon population of Mexico to slavery, dividing them as chattels among the members of the Order, and to recognize for the present monarchical institutions, as tending to strong government. Moreover, after the conquest of Mexico, he is to contend for the exclusion of every Roman Catholic from office and from the priesthood, and to support a system of passports enforced by the penalty of death. He again swears to a scheme of government which, from its utter want of resemblance to any American idea, we give entire:

13. The successor to GEORGE BICKLEY must be over thirty years of age, of Southern birth, liberally educated, Knight of the Columbian Star, sound of body and mind, and married, and Protestant. He shall swear to carry out this policy, and to extend Slavery over the whole of Central America if in his power. He shall try to acquire Cuba and control the Gulf of Mexico. No one else will I sustain. But for such a one, who must be proposed by the Cabinet Ministers and elected by all Knights of the Star, or a majority of them, I will sustain here, there, or elsewhere. When the Knights cross the Rio Grande, I will do all I can to send in recruits for the Army, and if I should ever cease to be an active worker for the Star, I will keep secret what I know of the real character of the organization, and I promise never to confer this degree in any other way than in the way I have here received it, and I will forward to GEORGE BICKLEY, or to the Governor-General of this State, the name and fees of every candidate whom I shall initiate as Governor. In witness, I do voluntarily, here and in these presence, sign my name and address."

He is then informed that Mexico can provide any amount of means, that funds to the extent of a million of dollars are lying at Matamoras, and two millions more at Monterey; that the Governor of Guanajuato is rapidly organizing his province for the reception of the Order, and that the march of the invading Army will commence on the 6th of October, 1861.

It reads, all this, rather like a dream of some mad slaveholder than a grave and definite project, which, nevertheless, we believe it to be. The Order is already powerful in the South, the alliance with the Governor is sufficiently probable, and the whole plan is strictly in accordance with the views known to be entertained by the most prominent slaveholders. Nor is the execution of the plan so difficult as to create any prima facie suspicion of falsehood. The South is full of men without slaves, with no place in society, and hungry for profitable adventure. They have been accustomed for years to regard the immense republic to their south, with its vast territory, its real and imaginary wealth, its disorganized government, and powerless white population, as a certain and easy prey. The successful annexation of Texas is a proof of what may be accomplished by a few unscrupulous and resolute men, and the laws of the Order tend directly to secure effective cohesion among its members. Quarreling and seduction are absolutely forbidden, every member is responsible for the orphans of those who fall, and societies released from the law are apt to protect themselves by somewhat effective guarantees for their own extra-legal code. The Order has men at command, so numerous that they are said to be objects of terror in Kentucky, Missouri and Arkansas, and the bribe offered is of stupendous magnitude. It is nothing less than to bestow on 16,000 men a body of slaves equal to the whole slave population of the South, and slaves, too, more easily controlled than the negro race. To men thirsting for ownership, and convinced that Slavery is lawful, the temptation must be almost irresistible, more especially as every American overratesthe case with which Mexico might be subdued. The pure Spaniards and the landed proprietors, utterly weary of anarchy, would probably bail a strong Government of any sort, while the native and quadroon population have never been able to resist the hated and dreaded "North." Of the awful increase of human misery which would follow the conquest it is unnecessary to speak. Slavery, as it exists, is bad enough, but the deliberate addition of 3,750,000 people and their children forever to the ranks of a slave population, is a crime from which the imagination itself recoils. It seems from its very magnitude impossible. CORTEZ, however, conquered these people with far inferior means, and there is no evidence that the Mexican peon of to-day is better able to resist a rifleman than his ancestor was to defeat CORTEZ's heavy armed cavalry. The only element of effective resistance would be the religious fanaticism the laws of the Order are so well adapted to arouse. These laws, however were obviously intended to serve only a tem porary purpose, the exclusion of Catholics being rendered essential by their friendly feeling for Mexico. A priest informed of the design in the confessional would be certain to put the Mexicans on their guard, perhaps cause the arrest of the Governor who is so coolly selling his country. Mexico once conquered, the necessity for the restriction would disappear, and though one of the laws of the Order, an obligation to dissolve all monasteries and open all convents, seems dectated by a real religious dislike, it is difficult to believe that it would endure in spite of the political advantage of tolerance. The whole scheme may be unreal, and the Knights of the Golden Circle as little disposed to fulfill their promises as Masons are to preserve the obligation of Christian brotherhood. But it must not be forgotten that this whatever the truth as to this society, is one of the designs of the South, and that the plan, which thus boldy stated seems incredibly atrocious is part of the permanent policy of the Government which has just won its first battle in front of Manassas Gap. The design, we fear, if the North succumbs, is at once as possible of execution as it is remorselessly wicked in concention.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Truth about the Lincoln assassination slowly emerges

April 14, 2014

A year from today, on April 14, 2015, we will mark the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at the hands of actor John Wilkes Booth (Lincoln died the next morning). Conventional wisdom has held that Booth and a small group of thuggish accomplices committed this heinous act (and the attempt to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward) alone.
But evidence is slowly emerging that the “decapitation” plot and its execution came at the behest of a much larger, more organized cabal, the Knights of the Golden Circle.
Few Americans have ever heard of the KGC, the subversive Confederate underground that operated with paramilitary cells in both the North and South. To point a finger at them now sounds like a conspiracy theory. But, the fact is, the U.S. government — specifically the War Department’s office of the Judge Advocate General — itself had been hot on the heels of the KGC during the war, and every captured “conspirator” in the Lincoln assassination trials was questioned intensively by the Bureau of Military Justice about involvement in the secret society.
So why did the KGC fall off the radar screen? There are no easy answers, but a bigger truth is worth exploring: Was Booth a hired gun, a paid assassin, a passionate card-holding member of the “terrorist,” well-financed KGC that put him up to the task?
The answer is a qualified “yes.” Yes, Booth almost certainly was a member of the KGC, inducted via its Baltimore “castle,” or secret lodge, at the beginning of the war. And yes, Booth was almost certainly put up to the assassination by the sub-rosa organization’s higher-ups (some of whom may have been “insiders” within the Lincoln administration itself). When dealing with the machinations of a secret society whose members were sworn to blood oaths of silence, coming up with incontrovertible “conclusive” evidence is near impossible.
My years of research in co-writing an investigative book on the KGC, “Rebel Gold,” and the independent research undertaken by author David C. Keehn in his recently published book, “Knights of the Golden Circle,” have revealed a tantalizing trail of evidence for the KSG’s role in the assassination. As disclosed in “Rebel Gold,” the KGC did not fade away after the defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, as established history would have us believe, but rather went underground and prepared, through the secret hoarding of treasure and munitions, for a potential second Civil War, the expansion of a slave empire into South and Central America, and the elimination of the South’s most formidable foe — Abraham Lincoln.
How chilling is it that an anonymous author, in publishing his “Authentic Exposition of the KGC, Knights of the Golden Circle,” in 1861, had this to say:
“Members of the Inner Temple of the Knights of the Golden Circle are to be scattered all through Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland, for the purpose of harassing and injuring the friends and soldiers of the Union in every way they can. If they can use poison successfully, they will do it, . . . if they can, by false statements, so direct the movements of the United States troops as to cause them loss or defeat, they will do that. . . . But one thing above all others, some of them is to distinguish himself for — if he can, that is — the assassination of the ‘Abolition’ President.”
To be sure, Lincoln was warned of the dire threat to the nation posed by the KGC in various letters. Yet, he never bothered to ramp-up his personal security detail while prosecuting the war to a successful conclusion in that fateful spring of 1865.
Here are some established markers that point to the KGC:
•Michael O’Laughlen, a childhood friend of Booth from Baltimore and one of the eight co-conspirators on trial for the assassination, confessed to his membership in the KGC.
•Col. Henry Burnett, the officer put in charge of the assassination investigation, discovered at the outset of the probe “the footprints of the old Order of the Knights of the Golden Circle crossing my paths in all directions . . . [T]here is reason to believe that many, if not all, the persons connected with the late assassination of the President were members.”
•Booth traveled to and from Montreal, where high-ranking KGC officials operated and dispensed funds for covert operations in gold and cash.
•The KGC also was planning Booth’s escape across the Potomac into Virginia.
Perhaps the Confederate secret service and even Confederate President Jefferson Davis were behind the plot. The KGC, if it provided the hidden hand and gold financing, would provide plausible deniability to Davis.
There is much more to investigate and explore, such as the role, if any, played by Vice President Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, as we approach this important milestone in U.S. history.

Warren Getler, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune and Bloomberg News, is co-author of “Rebel Gold: One Man’s Quest to Crack the Code: Behind the Secret Treasure of the Confederacy” (Simon & Schuster, 2003).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Knights and "Young America"

(The following is an excerpt. You may read it in entirety at

1 The Second American Revolution: The Civil War

Albert Pike, the head of world Freemasonry in the mid-1800s explained in Morals and Dogma (1871). “Masonry... conceals its mysteries from all except Adepts and Sages, and uses false symbols to mislead those who deserve to be misled.”1

Sometimes even history itself must be obscured so as to mislead those who deserve to be misled. The American Civil War is perhaps the most obscured event of all time.

Historians rarely relate that before, during, and after the U.S. Civil War—truly better referred to as the U.S. War of Rebellion—a revolutionary secret society existed which had a significant role in bringing about the crisis itself. The leading group was Young America.

Its secret paramilitary arm was a secret society called the Knights of the Golden Circle or KGC for short.2

1. Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Rite of Scottish Freemasonry (Richmond, Va.: L.J. Jenkins, 1921) (reprinted 1966), at 104-05.
2. In 1864, the KGC changed its name to Order of American Knights and later to Sons of Liberty. It shall be referred to herein as the KGC.

The Spread of Freemasonry Among the American Indians

The Spread of Freemasonry Among the American Indians of the United States
by Dr. Patrick Neal Minges

On January 20, 1791, a curious assembly of Americans appeared before the brethren of the Prince of Wales Lodge #259 in London, England. The minutes of the Lodge recorded the event: William Augustus Bowles, a Chief of the Creek Nation, whose love of Masonry has induced him to wish it may be introduced into the interior part of America, whereby the cause of humanity and brotherly love will go hand in hand with the native courage of the Indians, and by the union lead them on to the highest title that can be conferred on man, to be both good and great, was proposed by the Right Worshipful Master, with the Approbation of the Prince to be admitted an Honorary Member of this Lodge. He was seconded by the Secretary, and received the unanimous applause of the whole Lodge.1 Though Bowles was not actually an American Indian, he was considered among the Chiefs of the Creek Nation by the Indians themselves and was also appointed by the Grand Lodge of England to the "provincial grand master of the Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Indians." 2 Bowles was accompanied by three Cherokee and two Creek headman and it is reported that they visited the Grand Lodge of England as well as several other lodges. Though Bowles and his associates were "lionized by London society in 1791," he and his associates were neither first Native American Freemasons nor even the first Indian Freemasons to visit England. That honor belongs to Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), the principal War Chief of the Mohawk Nation who also translated the 1 William R Denslow, Freemasonry and the American Indian (St Louis: Missouri Lodge of Research, 1956, 125. 2 Denslow, 58.

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Gospel of Mark and the Book of Common Prayer into his language. He received his degrees in Hiram's Cliftonian Lodge No. 417 at some point before the onset of the Revolutionary War. When he sailed to England in 1776, Brant was presented to the court, wined and dined at the expense of the government, and had his picture painted by one of the outstanding artists of England. The British government, who sought to bestow degrees and Masonic titles as a means of soliciting support among influential colonists pulled out all stops for Brant; it is given on good authority that Brant received his Masonic apron at the hands of King George the Third. 3 The British appeal worked perfectly. Brant spent much of his time trying to amass the support of his people, but many natives resented his fidelity to the British Crown. In fact, revisionists often hold Brant accountable for dividing his people and destroying the League of Six Nations. While nations such as the Mohawks and the Seneca sided with Britain; the Oneida and the Tuscarora supported the Americans throughout most of the Revolutionary period. 4 Even though he sided with the British, his loyalties were never unclear; on several occasions, Brant spared the lives of fellow Freemasons and yet enemies when at the point of despair, they presented "the great mystic appeal to a Mason in the hour of danger." 5 In case it has missed your grasp, we appear to have plunged right into the deep with respect to the spread of Freemasonry among American Indians; that is with intent. We are not addressing "Indian Masonry." There have been numerous treatises written the 3 Denslow, 101-102.4 History Television [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation], "Joseph Brant" [] (Accessed September 13, 2003) 5 Sidney Hayden, in Cornelius Moore, Leaflets of Masonic Biography, (n.p., 1863), 27.

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attempt to find relationships between the philosophies and practices of the indigenous peoples and their corresponding principles and practices within Freemasonry. There have also been quite a few discussions of how travelers to the Western Frontier encountered native peoples who hailed them with the signs and symbols of the brotherhood. Equally so, many persons have found affinities between Indian "secret societies" and "fraternal orders" and those of Freemasonry; even the great Arthur C. Parker, himself a Freemason, stated that: The Masonry of the Indians as philosophers dealing with moral truths grew out of their experiences with nature and the actions of humankind. The wise men of the tribes knew that a band of men pledged to uphold morality and to enact rituals its advantage would constitute a dynamic influence.6 However, in his work Indian Masonry, Robert Wright comes to the following conclusion: There us no Indian Masonry in that small and narrow sense which most of us think of; that is one who pays lodge dues, wears an apron like ours gives signs so nearly like ours that we find him perforce a Mason in any degree or degrees we know, and which degrees we are prone to watch, just as we do a procession of historical floats, which casually interest us, and maybe a little more so if we can but secure a place at the head of the procession, the true meaning of which we have but a faint idea about. This makes our own Masonry as meaningless as the interpretation of Indian signs by an --deleted-- trapper. 7
What we are addressing is the spread of Freemasonry among those persons of American Indian heritage and brought up within the culture and traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas in general and the United States in particular. It is quite important to stress at this point that there is no such thing as an "American Indian" in the generic sense in which they have easily definable common traits and characteristics any more than we can state that the Irish, the German, and Italian have the same. The native peoples of the Americas had thousands of mutually unintelligible languages and 6
Arthur C. Parker, American Indian Freemasonry (Buffalo, Buffalo Consistory, A. A. S. R. N. M. J. U. S. A., 1919), 36p. 7 Robert Wright, Indian Masonry. Ayer Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL., 1905.

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distinct social, political, and cultural practices that defined and often set themselves in opposition to other indigenous persons in the midst and from afar.
Today there are about 500 American Indian peoples, each with its own language and cultural traditions rooted in their historical experience with their surrounding environment, the creatures that inhabit it, and whatever divine force they believe made it all possible. Why would persons of Native American descent wish to become associated with the philosophical traditions and ritual practices of Freemasonry? To me, there is a very simple answer -- for the very same reasons that every other person who has chosen to become affiliated with the craft. I will no more attempt to articulate these reasons for you that I would ask you to expose the inner workings of your own heart and soul to a curious and exploratory, but often --deleted--, interloper. What is important is that countless American Indians across history have chosen to become Freemasons and continue to do so even unto this very day. They are our brothers in every sense of the word and whatever political, religious, and even cultural differences that they express from us are eclipsed by the three great lights of our brotherhood.
There can be but one simple answer to this question as to why Native Americans join our brotherhood… "so to act, that the principle of his actions may be exalted to a law of nature; to act in that manner only in which he thinks that He who has given to nature its immutable laws, would have compelled him to act, had He chosen to introduce compulsion into the realm of mind, in order to realize his design."8 That they have done so is indisputable. Some of the most important leaders of the various nations that make up our indigenous peoples have chosen to become a part of Freemasonry. Tecumseh, a Shawnee prophet who reportedly "was made a Mason while on a visit to Philadelphia," was the leader of a Pan-Indian movement in the eighteenth century. Alexander McGillivray, a mixed blood leader of the Muskogee, and Louis Annance, of the Alnombak people of the Abenaki Nation, were skilled political leaders. Red Jacket, famous orator of the Seneca and leader of the traditionalist resistance among the Iroquois, was a Freemason. His nephew, General Ely S. Parker, was General U.S. Grant's Adjutant and drew up the conditions of surrender at Appomattox. He went on to 8 The Masonic Monthly, "The Lesson Taught By The Three Great Lights"
[] (Accessed September 13, 2003).

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be the First American Indian Commissioner of Indian Affairs under Grant. Leaders on both sides of the Civil War in the Indian Territory including John Ross, Opothle Yahola, Elias Boudinot, John Jumper, Peter Pitchlyn, Stand Watie, the last Confederate general to surrender. Coming forward into history, we find Carlos Montezuma, doctor and spokesman for the Yavapai Indian; Arthur C. Parker, Scientist, Scholar and Literary Figure from the Seneca Nation; Philip DeLoria, Sioux leader and Episcopal Priest; and last but certainly not least Will Rogers,
American humorist and philanthropist. 9 Though many of these names may not be familiar to you, they can be considered among the illuminati of the First Nations of the United States. The story of the first American Indian Freemasonic lodges has yet another interesting aspect. J. Fred Latham, in The Story of Oklahoma Masonry, reports that not only were Native "chiefs" made Masons in the East, but that because both the Native American leaders and the military officers who removed them during the "Trail of Tears" were Masons, it made the process of removal "more orderly." 10 General Winfield Scott, a Freemason, who presided over the removal of the Cherokee, gave explicit orders to pursue this distasteful activity with civility, "Every possible kindness...must therefore be shown by the troops, and if, in the ranks, a despicable individual should be found capable of inflicting a wanton injury or insult on any Cherokee man, woman, or child, it is hereby made the special duty of the nearest good officer or man, instantly to interpose, and to seize and consign the guilty wretch to the severest penalty of the laws. 11 When asked by the leaders of the Cherokee Nation to postpone removal because of drought and sickness among the Cherokee, General Scott again showed compassion for his fraternal brothers. Negotiating with General Scott was Chief John Ross, a Master Mason in good standing with the Olive Branch Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons in Jasper, Tennessee. 12 9 Patrick Minges, "Famous Native American Freemasons" [] (Accessed September 13, 2003). 10 Latham, 2.11 Winfield Scott quoted in Grace Steele Woodward, The Cherokees (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963), 204. 12 Woodward, 214.

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Finally, when it appeared that his troops could not handle the process of removal as well as the Cherokee themselves, Scott agreed to a plea from Chief John Ross to allow the Cherokee to manage removal themselves. When Andrew Jackson, Former Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, heard of Scott's brotherly relief, he wrote, "I am so feeble I can scarcely wield my pen, but friendship dictates it and the subject excites me. Why is it that the scamp Ross is not banished from the notice of this administration?" 13 Upon arrival in the new territory, former members of the Freemasonic lodges from the East began to organize the craft in their new home. J. Fred Latham describes this particular phenomenon in The Story of Oklahoma Masonry: The history of the Indian Territory, and indeed that of Freemasonry in the present state of Oklahoma, is so closely interwoven with that of the Five Civilized Tribes it would be difficult-- almost impossible -- and entirely undesirable to attempt to separate them. 14
A number of the ministers, merchants and military personnel were members of the craft. Along with the many Indians inducted into the craft, they began to have meetings throughout the Indian Territory. These meetings moved from very informal social groupings into fellowship meetings where Masons met and enjoyed fraternal discussions. Applications for authority to organize lodges in several places were made but urgent domestic problems prevented the satisfactory organization of lodges. According to J. Fred Latham, members of the craft took an active part in the stabilization of the community through the organization of law enforcement and through their activity in the political affairs of the Five Nations. 15 In 1848, a group of Cherokee Freemasons made application to Grand Master R.H. Pulliam of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas and were granted a dispensation to formulate a "blue lodge" in the Cherokee capital 16 Brother George Moser, Secretary and Historian of 13 John P. Brown, Old Frontiers (Kingsport: Tennessee, 1938), 511.14 J. Fred Latham, The Story of Oklahoma Masonry (Oklahoma City: Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, 1957), 8.15 Latham, 5. 16 Albert Mackey describes a "blue lodge" as: "A symbolic Lodge, in which the first three degrees are conferred, is so called from the color of its decorations." A "blue lodge" is the common determination for

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the Cherokee lodge presents the information as follows, "Facts as taken from the proceedings of the Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Arkansas show that the Committee on Charters and Dispensations did, on November 7, 1848 at the hour of 9:00a.m., recommend that a charter be granted to `Cherokee Lodge' at Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, and that it be given the number `21'". 17 The officers were sworn in at Supreme Court Headquarters on Keetoowah Street on July 12, 1849; it was the first lodge of Indian Freemasons established in the United States. 18 In 1852, the Cherokee National Council donated several lots in Tahlequah to be used jointly by the Masonic Lodge and the Sons of Temperance for the construction of a building to house their respective organizations. The building was erected in 1853, and owned jointly by the two organizations; the Sons of Temperance 19 occupied the first floor and Cherokee Lodge #21 occupied the second floor. The lodge building was used for a number of community services, including lodge meetings, temperance meetings, educational instruction, and church meetings; later, because of the noise, both organizations used the upper floor, leaving the lower floor for church services and public meetings. 20
Freemasonry flourished among the Native Americans in Indian Territory, leading the Grand Master of Arkansas to comment upon his "red brethren" in 1855: this lodge as opposed to lodges that grant higher degrees such as the Scottish Rites or York Rites. (Mackey, 120) 17 George Moser, quoted in Latham, 6.18 T.L. Ballenger, History of Cherokee Lodge #10, T.L. Ballenger Papers, Ayer Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL., 5; J. Fred Latham, The Story of Oklahoma Masonry (Oklahoma City: Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, 1978) 5- 8. 19 The Sons of Temperance modeled its constitution on those of the Freemasons and Odd Fellows and based their organization around simple initiation rituals. As time progressed, the Sons of Temperance and organizations such as it developed increasingly complicated rituals even further aligned with those of the Freemasons. (Carnes, 8) 20 Ballenger, 6. It is important to note that the Cherokee Indian Baptist Association, consisting of six "colored churches" held its first organizational meeting in the Cherokee Masonic Lodge in 1870. [J.M.Gaskins, History of Black Baptists in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Messenger Press, 1992), 118)]

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All over the length and breadth of our state the (Masonic) Order is flourishing, and amongst our red Brethren, in the Indian Territory, it is taking deep hold, and now embraces a goodly number of Lodges and Brethren. The members of these Lodges compare very favorably with their pale-face neighbors. In fact, it is reported of them that they exemplify practically the Masonic teachings and ritual by living in the constant discharge of those charities and moral virtues so forcibly inculcated in our lectures, thereby demonstrating to all that Masonry is not only speculative, but that it is a living practical reality; of great utility to the human race, and of eminent service to a social community. 21
Freemasonry was indeed "taking deep hold." From the very first lodge formed among the Cherokee in Tahlequah, the brotherhood had spread among missionaries, merchants, and Native Americans throughout Indian Territory. Reverend John Bertholf, member of Cherokee Lodge #21, relocated to the Creek Nation and was appointed Superintendent of the Asbury Mission in Eufaula in 1859. George Butler, government agent and junior warden of Cherokee Lodge #21, became one of the charter members of the military base lodge at Fort Gibson Lodge #35. Doaksville Lodge #52 was organized in the Choctaw Nation and led by Chief Peter Pitchlyn, Sam Garvin, Basil Laflore, plantation owner Robert Jones, and also American Board missionary Cyrus Kingsbury. Walter Scott Adair, Worshipful Master of Cherokee
Lodge #21, left Lodge #21 to organize Flint Lodge #74near the Baptist Mission deep in Keetoowah country in the southeastern corner of the Cherokee Nation. Joseph Coodey, nephew of John Ross and Junior Warden of Cherokee Lodge #21,resettled in the Creek Nation at North Fork Town near Eufala. 22 In the Creek Nation, Benjamin Marshall, George Stidham, and Samuel Checote, all affiliates of the Asbury Mission, formed Muscogee Lodge #93 at the Creek Agency near the border of the Cherokee Nation. One of the early members of Muscogee Lodge #93 was a prominent 21 Ballenger, 5.22 G.W. Grayson, A Creek Warrior for the Confederacy: The Autobiography of Chief G.W. Grayson, W. David Biard, ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988), 127.

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traditional leader (and relative of Asi Yahola, i.e., Osceola ) 23 by the name of Opothle Yahola. 24 When the winds of the Civil War hit the Indian Territory, it sent a bitter chill through the lodges. In 1855 Brother John Ross, the Chief of the Cherokee Nation, discovered the emergence of "a secret society organized in Delaware and Saline Districts" dedicated to the promotion of slavery and the removal of abolitionist interests from the Cherokee Nation. 25 According to Ross, at the core of this "sinister plot" were so-called "Blue Lodges" established in the Indian Territory by officials from Arkansas. 26 Many of the pro-slavery factions in the Cherokee Nation had ties to Arkansas and it was believed by Ross that these elements were using the "Blue Lodges" associated with the Arkansas Grand Lodge to "create excitement and strife among the Cherokee people." 27 The "Blue Lodges" were so closely affiliated with the Southern Methodist church that some considered them to be the spiritual arm of the organization, "The [Southern] Methodists take slavery by the hand, encourage it, speak in its favor, and brand all those who oppose it with opprobrious epithets. As they support slavery, of course slavery supports them." 28 23 Asi Yahola (Osceola) was a prominent leader of the African American/ Seminole resistance movement in Florida. He was married to an African American runaway slave. Some reporters state the cause of the Second Seminole War was the seizure of Osceola's African wife by merchants who sought to sell her back into slavery. Osceola was finally murdered following treachery by federal authorities. In a practice which has become common among Florida authorities, his brain was "donated to science" and kept on a shelve for many years. 24 Denslow, 70-75. For information on Opothle Yahola, see John Bartlett Meserve, "Chief Opothleyahola" Chronicles of Oklahoma 10 (Winter, 1931): 439-452; Clee Woods, "Oklahoma's Great Opothle Yahola "North South Trader 4, (January-February): 22-36; Mrs. Clement Clay, "Recollections of Opothleyahola "Arrow Points 4 (February 1922): 35-36. 25 John Ross to Evan Jones, May 5, 1855, "Correspondence of Missionaries to Native Americans, [microform], 1825-1865," American Baptist Historical Society, Rochester, N.Y. 26 I use the term "Blue Lodges" because that is what most of the scholars, including McLoughlin and Mooney use to describe these lodges. However, the fact that Ross was a Freemason meant that he understood the term "Blue Lodge" quite well and would not have used it unadvisedly. In all probability, these "Blue Lodges" were Freemasonic lodges tied to the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. 27 John Ross to Evan Jones, May 5, 1855, "Correspondence of Missionaries to Native Americans, [microform], 1825-1865," American Baptist Historical Society, Rochester, N.Y. 28 John B. Jones, July 12, 1858, "Correspondence of Missionaries to Native Americans, [microform], 1825- 1865," American Baptist Historical Society, Rochester, N.Y.

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History records the "Blue Lodges" as being the seat of the pro-slavery movement, but this appears to be an inaccuracy rooted in a too-convenient association of the "Blue Lodges" with the pro-slavery movement. It is easy to see from the membership roll of Cherokee Lodge #21 that there were also members of the Ross Party who belonged to these so-called "Blue Lodges." It seems that there was a split within the Freemasonic lodges within Indian Territory along the lines of party affiliation related to the efforts of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas to use the lodges to promote the issue of "Southern Rights." 29 Some members of the lodges were opposed to the efforts of the Arkansas Grand Lodge, as revealed in a later discussion by Lodge historian T. L. Ballenger: There seems to have developed some misunderstanding between the mother Lodge and Cherokee Lodge at that time, the exact nature of which the records fail to reveal: possibly it was a coolness that had grown out of different attitudes toward the war. The Cherokees were divided, some of them fighting for the North and some for the South. It happened that the leading members of the Lodge sympathized with the North. 30 As a result of the split within the lodges within Indian Territory or perhaps precipitating the split, some of the members of the "Blue Lodges" became associated with a secessionist secret society by the name of the "Knights of the Golden Circle." Other members of the "Blue Lodges" within the Indian Territory became associated with a traditionalist secret society in the Cherokee Nation entitled the Keetoowah Society. Throughout the duration of the Civil War, these two competing "secret societies" fought tooth and nail for the fate of the Indian territory and the bitter struggle between these two 29 This opinion is supported by evidence that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas refused to recognize the charters of many of the lodges in Indian Territory following the cessation of the Civil War. In addition, the Grand Lodge of Arkansas considered many of the charters "forfeited" and would only grant the lodges new charters if the were reorganized under a different name. Cherokee Lodge #21 became Cherokee Lodge #10when it was reorganized after repeated attempts for recognition in 1877. Fort Gibson Lodge # 35 became Alpha Lodge #12 in 1878. Flint Lodge #74 became Flint Lodge # 11 in 1876. (Starr, 185). Muskogee Lodge#93 and Choctaw Lodge #52 also forfeited their charter following the Civil War. The Grand Lodge which refused the recognition was led by J.S. Murrow, the "Father of Oklahoma Masonry," a Baptist minister who was a Confederate States Indian Agent during the Civil War. (Latham, 10; West, 103) 30 T.L. Ballenger, History of Cherokee Lodge #10, T.L. Ballenger Papers, Ayer Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL., 12; "Pin Indians" in Robert Wright, Indian Masonry, (n.p., 1905) Ayer Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL., 105.

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groups was carried out with a ferocity that left not even innocent persons unharmed. The effect upon the Indian Territory was devastating: The events of the war brought to them more of the desolation and ruin than perhaps to any other community. Raided and sacked alternately, not only by Confederate and Union forces, but also by the vindictive ferocity and hate of their own factional divisions, their country became a blackened and desolate waste. Driven from comfortable homes, exposed to want, misery, and the elements, they perished like sheep in a snowstorm. Their houses, fences, and other improvements were burned, their orchards destroyed, their flocks and herds were slaughtered or driven off, their schools broken up, their schoolhouses given to the flames, and their churches and public buildings subjected to a similar fate; and that entire portion of their country which had been occupied by their settlements was distinguishable from the virgin prairie only by the scorched and blackened chimneys and the plowed but now neglected fields. 31 When the war was over and nations such as the Cherokee needed healing, they elected Bro. William Potter Ross to be the new Principal Chief of the Reunified nation. One of the founding members of Cherokee Lodge #21, he was to go on to become the Worshipful Master of the lodge in 1851 -- a time before the lodge would split over the issues that ultimately led to the Civil War. In addition, William P. Ross had been the leader of the reconciliation of the Cherokee Nation following the Treaty of 1846:He (Ross) and the other headmen of the Cherokee nation were at the capital to arrange a treaty made necessary by the late enforced removal of their tribe from Georgia to the Indian Territory. These headmen were arrayed in two hostile factions, and the negotiations were at a standstill. But at one of the meetings of Federal Lodge (Federal Lodge #1,Washington, D.C.), the rival leaders, all Freemasons, were brought together by the exertions of Worshipful Master S. Yorke and other members, and the treaty was successfully completed. 32 31 Charles Royce, "Cherokee Nation," Fifth Annual Report (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Ethnology, n.d.), 376. 32 "History of Federal Lodge #1," quoted in Denslow, 183. William Potter Ross was raised to the Third Degree on April 25, 1848 in Federal Lodge #1 in Washington, D.C. [Denslow, 183].

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In spite of their political, social, and party differences, one of the key elements that had brought together the disparate elements of Cherokee Society had been the interest in and promotion of brotherhood by the Freemasonic lodges in the Cherokee Nation. Ross used this background to his advantage. Many of the leaders of the Keetoowah Society and the Knights of the Golden Circle were former Freemasons in the lodges of the Indian Territory. Many of the government agents, military officials, religious authorities, and influential citizens of the Indian Territory were also Freemasons. That William P. Ross was a power broker and a conciliatory force in the Cherokee Nation under the auspices of the Freemasonic brotherhood is a factor that cannot be ignored. 33 However, Freemasonry among Native Americans is not just an historic phenomenon. In Oklahoma today, there are Freemasonic lodges in nearly every Indian Nation; the Order of the Eastern Star is also quite popular. The Oklahoma Indian Degree team is perhaps the most well-traveled of group of Freemasons in the United States; they tour the nation constantly and sometimes internationally. Dressed in the full regalia of their American Indian heritage, they raise Masons to the third degree in our ancient and esoteric ritual. The Oklahoma Masonic Indian Degree Team was organized in 1948 after the death of Brother Will Rogers. The team currently consists of 15 active members, 11 of which are Past Masters. Nine recognized tribes are represented: Apache, Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Oneida, Osage, Ottawa, Seminole, and Sycamore. States visited include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, 33 William R. Denslow, in his work Freemasonry and the American Indian, describes Ross's influence, "In later years, passions broke all bounds and some of the darkest pages of Cherokee history were written. In retrospect, the influence and principles of Freemasonry can be seen as the greatest healer of these old wounds within the Cherokee family. This fact is emphasized by the thought of Chief William P. Ross, presiding in the East over a Cherokee lodge, while the men around the altar would have thought it a patriotic duty to slay him only a short time before. The roster of the Cherokee lodge is a revelation to the student of the times, and, if it were not for its undisputed authority, it would hardly be believed in this generation." (Denslow, 69).

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Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachuetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Texas. Oklahoma lodges represented are: Broken Arrow #423, Cherokee #10, Delta #425, Daylight #542, Dustin #336, Ottawa #492,Sapulpa #170 and Skiatook #416. One of the most interesting of all groups of Indian Freemasons is the Akdar Shrine Indian Dance Unit of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Its members come from diverse nations such as the Cherokee, Navajo, Quapaw, Creek, Shawnee, Apache, and Kiowa. What unites these men of divergent nations are two things – their love of Freemasonry and their love of traditional forms of dance. They regularly perform traditional dances at special events, pow-wows, and shrine circuses in Oklahoma and throughout the Southwest and Midwest. The Akdar Indians, being the only all-Native American unit in Shrinedom, not only share a common heritage, but also share a common bond with their fellow Nobles everywhere — to help spread the word about the free medical care offered by Shriners Hospitals for Children. More than 40 years ago, in 1954, the unit was established as the Akdar Indian Patrol with about 20 members; today, Akdar Indians' 50 members represent six Shrine Temples and 20 Tribes from North America. Representatives of the five civilized tribes of Oklahoma — Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole — along with the Comanche and Apache Indians, make up the majority of unit members. According to Bill Tyndall, an Omaha Indian from Akdar Temple, a recent change in the unit's by-laws allows Nobles from any Shrine Temple to join, as long as they are Native Americans. Not only do they participate in many of the Temple's fund-raising activities for Shriner's Hospitals, but they also raise money by hosting an annual Indian dinner with Native American food, and an arts and crafts show. They put on educational dances, explaining the types of dances and the clothing worn by each dancer.

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Throughout the year, members perform for the general public and for various Shrine functions. Their most enjoyable performances, according to Tyndall, are the ones held at the Shriner's Hospitals. "It's there that we get to see first-hand what our hospitals are all about and we can give the kids an up-close look at real Indians and the costumes that they wear," he explained. A unique aspect of the Akdar Indians is that the Nobles are often joined by their family members — women and children — when they perform some of their traditional dances, especially at the Shriner's Hospitals. One of the members has commented that one of the greatest benefits of being in the unit is being able to help children while educating others about his culture. "We love to promote Native American culture," here marked. "The non-Indian sees us as we are shown on TV. But what we are trying to do is educate people about what we do and what we are about." That is, of course, in addition to informing the public that Shriner's Hospitals provide free medical care to children in need. As we meet together here today in Columbus on this January day some two hundred plus years after Brother Bowles and his collected Indians met before their astonished British brethren, another collection of Americans is again meeting a body of astonished British brethren. Next Monday, the Oklahoma Masonic Indian Degree Team will performing demonstrations at the Surrey Secretaries' Golden Jubilee Lodge No. 9764 meeting at Surbiton and at a special meeting to be held at Croydon in the Province of Surrey England on Tuesday 27th January 2004. Just as their brothers some two hundred years ago welcomed these unusual brethren from across the seas, these modern day travelers will be equally greeted. Rest assured that the more we learn about Native Americans and their involvement in Freemasonry, the more that we learn that their interests, inclinations, and excitement about the craft spurs from the same quest for wisdom and enlightenment that dwells within us all. Though it easy enough to put upon fanciful notions about secret signs, secret societies, and the incorporation of "pagan" rituals and symbols into the ancient and accepted order, nothing could be further than the truth. Such creations have

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always been the practices of small minds and have often been the bane of the existence of reasonable and intelligent practitioners of all of the higher orders of religion and philosophy. The world will be a better place when we put myths such as these to rest.