Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Knights of the Golden Circle Support the Confederacy

By Alice Mullaly
Jefferson Public Radio
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
As many as 2,500 Southern sympathizers in Oregon joined the national Knights 
of the Golden Circle society that supported the Confederacy during the Civil 
War. One of its chapters was in Jacksonville.
The organization used secret passwords and signs. If a man stroked his beard 
with thumb and first finger of his right hand touching and another responded 
by scratching behind his right ear, these men would know they were both 
Knights of the Golden Circle.
Some members supported forming an independent Republic of the Pacific Coast 
that would condone a labor force of Chinese, Hawaiian, and Negro slaves.
More menacingly, these secret groups bought guns and practiced military 
drills. An Oregon militia troop was called up in 1864 to quell the threat of 
openly militant Knights in the Long Tom and Siuslaw River valleys of 
Southwest Oregon.
Joseph Lane, Oregon's Indian fighter, outspoken southern sympathizer and the 
state's first U.S. Senator, was sent back to Oregon in disgrace, accused of 
smuggling guns to the Knights.
With the defeat of the South in the Civil War, the Knights of the Golden 
Circle vanished, but their beliefs persisted with many people.
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Alice Mullaly, the program 
producer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It Was is a 
co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To share 
stories or learn more about the series, visit asitwas -
Source: McLagan, Elizabeth, A Peculiar Paradise: a History of Blacks in 
Oregon, 1788-1940, The Oregon Black History Project, Georgian Press, 1980
The Knights of the Golden Circle Research and Historical Archives