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).