“WE ARE ONE THOUSAND STRONG IN SHAWNEE. GOOD AMERICANS UPHOLD THE LAW. BAD CITIZENS MUST UPHOLD THE LAW. WATCH THE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR PAPER AND KEEP IT IN THE HANDS OF GOOD AMERICANS. WE WILL CLEAN SHAWNEE WHEN THE TIME IS RIPE. GAMBLERS, PIMPS, BOOTLEGGERS, HARLOTS, WILL SAVE DOUBLE BY LEAVING NOW.”
The above announcement was published in the local Shawnee Morning News on Wednesday, September 21, 1921.

“WE ARE ONE THOUSAND STRONG IN SHAWNEE. GOOD AMERICANS UPHOLD THE LAW. BAD CITIZENS MUST UPHOLD THE LAW. WATCH THE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR PAPER AND KEEP IT IN THE HANDS OF GOOD AMERICANS. WE WILL CLEAN SHAWNEE WHEN THE TIME IS RIPE. GAMBLERS, PIMPS, BOOTLEGGERS, HARLOTS, WILL SAVE DOUBLE BY LEAVING NOW.”

The above announcement was published in the local Shawnee Morning News on Wednesday, September 21, 1921. This was a similar message that was entered many papers throughout Oklahoma during this time, alerting the wayward people of the community to “straighten up!”

The foregoing note was handed to the night editor of the News on the night of September 20, after he had been kidnapped and taken on a ride with practically 300 Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, who stated that they resided in Shawnee. About 7 P.M., a call came to the News office for the night editor, asking him to come to the Presbyterian Church on the corner of 11th and Beard streets. This he did. As he neared the corner, two men grabbed him and hoodwinking him, placed him on the back seat of a high-powered car.

Following a zig-zag route, the editor was taken to a large wooded field seemingly to the southwest of the city, where a meeting of the Klan was being held. The hoodwink was raised from his eyes and he beheld a scene very like that portrayed in pictures seen of the Klan meetings.

The reporter was not allowed to go close enough to the scene to detect voices, but he was able to sit without a blindfold. In estimating the number of white-robed figures who were darting in and out, he guessed about 300 were present. Shortly after the arrival of the reporter, Klansmen were ordered to lower the tops of their cars and cover their license tags.

Then the cars proceeded to Tecumseh, where they passed down Main Street and thence to Shawnee, where another parade was staged. On this drive, the reporter was dressed in a cap of the K.K.K., with a sheet thrown over his clothing.

The Klansmen were seemingly bent on no violence and the reporter was told when captured that he need fear nothing that he was in the hands of “good red-blooded Americans.”

After leaving Shawnee, the Klansmen went east and then north, where the reporter was “cut out” of the line and brought back to Shawnee and dropped near Woodland Park.

Someone, seemingly the spokesman from the Klan, told the reporter when the message was handed to him, that several people in Shawnee had come under the eye of the “Invisible Empire” and that in a few weeks their just due would be meted out to them.

“We have watched men who slip into other men’s homes while these men are away at work,” the Klansman stated, “and without further warning, we mean to make ourselves felt. These men dodge the arm of the law, they are sly, but with the eyes of our 1,000 Klansmen, we know and will not be deceived.”

The entire ride, after the reporter was donned in the regalia of the Klan, was an orderly one with not a Klansman speaking a word. The reporter saw nothing of violence nor anything that hinted at it although it was his belief that each Klansmen was heavily armed.

No reason was given the reporter for the demonstration other than the hint that Shawnee was to be shown the strength of the Klan.

When dropped from the car, a Klansman spoke to the night editor, saying, “Give us a good one boy.” Other than the few words mentioned, the reporter’s job seemed to be to do nothing other than watch the proceedings.

 JOE HATCHER FINED AGAIN

Joe Hatcher drew another heavy fine in the municipal court on September 24, 1921, when he was arraigned on a charge of transporting whiskey. It was the same charge that was placed against him two days earlier, and he was released under a $50 bond. When court convened the next day, he failed to appear.

He was ordered re-arrested and appeared before Municipal Judge Ray Evans and fined $250 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. The sentence was suspended however, upon a promise by Hatcher to leave town and pay the fine that had already been given him.

In sentencing Hatcher, Judge Evans told him that the municipal court was no W.C.T.U. society, and that he was going to be dealt with sternly when brought into court again.

Jim Woods, a well-known police character, was arrested on the same afternoon and charged with having “Choctaw Beer” in his possession. Officers said he was making the beer and placing it in bottles that bore the label of a well-known beer drink.

Bill Price failed to appear when his case was called and his bond of $12.50 was forfeited. He was charged with being drunk. M.P. Case was arraigned on a charge of transporting whiskey and he entered a plea of guilty. His sentence was suspended.

 (These stories and hundreds more appear in the first volume of Shawnee history, entitled: “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE EARLY YEARS, 1830-1929.” It can be purchased by calling Clyde Wooldridge at (918) 470-3728, or by visiting the Pottawatomie County Historical Society at the old Santa Fe Depot. It can be purchased for $35. Volume two, “1930-1949,” is also available for $30. They may be obtained as a package for $60. Volume three, “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE MIDDLE YEARS, 1950-1969,” is coming sometime before Christmas. All three volumes are slightly over 400 pages with hundreds of photos and illustrations. They are fully-indexed, making it easy to look up individuals or places of business. Volumes four and five are scheduled in the next two to three years, bringing the history up to the current time of publication.)

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.