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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: April 7, 1868

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-Page 01-

The K. K. K.'s are Coming!
(Column 07)
Summary: Gave a description of a dream sent in by an anonymous contributer who envisioned the Klan coming to Staunton. All very mysterious in character.
Full Text of Article:

MR. EDITOR--If there be anything in dreams--and we think they are ominous--Staunton may now look out for those mysterious people that have caused so much excitement and alarm all over the country. Last night about the "small hours" of the morning, we were aroused by our better half shaking us, and making what in the world was the matter; for, said she, you snore loud enough to wake all in the house, and a good many outsider. She said we seemed to snore--as near as she could make out "K-l-u-K-l-u-x-K-l-a-n." We then told her we had had a very remarkable dream, which we herewith give you: We dreamed that we were on Chestnut Ridge, and after walking about a good while over the hill, we sat down near the top to rest. Presently we heard a rumbling noise, like that made by the playing of ten pins. After a little that stopped, and then a door opened up out of the side of the hill. At the upper side of the hill stood a large chestnut tree, on the body of which about fifteen feet from the gound, there suddenly appeared three large K's, brilliantly lighted up, as we supposed with gas. After a little, a great crowd of men came marching out of the door, three abreast, and singing as they came. We tried our best to find out the words of the song, but could not get near enough without their discovering us, which we would not have had them do for any consideration; so all that we could make of their singing, was what appeared to us to be chorus, which was--"Bill Brown-low, down below!"--"Old Ben Wade, cover him up with a spade!" How many there were, we are not able to say precisely, but think there could not have been less than three hundred. Each one wore over his shoulders a Kalico sash of a flaming red color, and carried in his hand a banner, on which was--what we supposed to be--various mottoes and devices in characters which we did not understand.--We were very much surprised to see in the procession, some ten or twelve gentlemen of color, four of whom had poles across their shoulders, to which was swung by ropes an old bureau, turned upside down, and several knobs knocked off.

We saw one man in the crowd that very much resembled Gen. Early; he was about the same make--not strikingly handsome--full six feet high, and certainly had on old Jubal's clothes; and we thought we heard the name of Mosby called, but never having seen the General, we can't say whether he was there or not.

The procession moved off in an Easterly direction, and just then--being waked up, we cannot tell you anything more about it.


-Page 02-

The Republican Party
(Column 01)
Summary: Unleashed an attack on the Republicans, called their party liars, corrupters, and hypocrites. The editor was especially upset with their policy of giving blacks the vote while disenfrachising whites, claimed no Republican really cared about blacks except as political tools.
Full Text of Article:

The Baltimore Gazette says that the annals of Congress, the papers on file in the Departments, and the columns of its own journals, will bear us out in asserting that the Republican party has been one of treachery and deceit form the beginning. Its power has been built up on falsehood. Its first gigantic falsehood was that the war waged against the South was for the restoration of the Union and for no other purpose. Its latest is, that the privilege of the ballot "is essential to the protection of the negro against the wiles of the most wicked institution that God ever afflicted a man with, or that even could exist through the invention of human ingenuity." For six years it has been building up its power--not by argument, not by reason, but by a succession of fraudulent pretences, by an organized system of terrorism, and by an unscrupulous resort to that ultima ratio regum, the free use of the sword. Its ruling principle throughout has been a lust of power. Lies, rapine and murder have been its instruments; "loyalty" its catchword, and corruption its binding force. It has worked on the credulity of some, the cupidity of others. Known dishonesty was no bar to official preferment, for Radicalism purified the knave and sanctified the hypocrite. Beyond a few sincere fanatics there is not a man of the party who cares for the blacks, except as political puppets that can be made to respond as their unscrupulous white managers choose to pull the wires. "It is not intelligence we want, but numbers," said a well known politician, and in this bold avowal may be found the key note of all the peans sung or chanted by Radical orators and Radical journalists in praise of the negro. "If," says the Tribune, "the negro is not fit to vote, he is not fit to be free, and the only choice of the American people is this--suffrage for both races, or servitude for one." So, in happy accordance with this view of the political equality of the two races, the Radicals have decreed that the blacks of the South shall be permitted to vote, and that the whites shall be disfranchised.

The Pauper Party
(Column 02)
Summary: Attacked the Republican party's black suffrage policies. Asked whether it was fair to allow blacks, who held barely any property and thus did not pay many taxes, to vote while white voters who owned a lot of property should be disfranchised.
Full Text of Article:

The Norfolk Virginian says that "the immaculate patriots now occupying the Capitol, and engaged in framing the Organic Law for the people of Virginia have made wonderful discoveries in the Science of Government. The time was when our Constitution Makers, the Madisons, Marshals and Tazewells, who once adorned the seats now desecrated by the Bowdens, the Porters and the Baynes, had some little regard for the distinctions of meum and tuum, and were sufficiently old fashioned to believe that those who wielded the power of taxation should have a property stake in the community, and that those who imposed the burdens of government should at least participate in bearing them.

It seems, however, that the notion of our fathers has become an obsolete idea in this age of Radical progress and Africanization. The Solons at Richmond, owning no property themselves, have no regard for the rights of property belonging to others, except such as the Highway Robber feels when he calls upon his victim to 'stand and deliver.' They are not content with disfranchising all the white citizens of Virginia, who are excluded from voting under the Reconstruction acts of Congress so-called. They are not content with prescribing to all office-holders, an oath which requires them to swear that in a gigantic struggle of four years duration, which involved everything worth living for, they gave no aid and felt no sympathy with their State or their kindred. But it is gravely proposed to the people of Virginia, the land owners and property holders of the State, to confer, by their votes, the right of suffrage on all the adult male negroes now here, or who, emigrating here from other States, shall reside six months, excepting only idiots, lunatics, felons and not excepting paupers. Was ever such a proposition submitted to any people before? Do the Bowdens, Porters, Baynes, ed id omne genus take us to be dogs, and expect us, spaniel-like, to lick the hand that smites us? Are they not satisfied with subjecting all the intellect and public virtue of the State--all the talent and all the decency, to the rude and ruthless dominion of the ignorant, the depraved and corrupt? Shall our oppressed and poverty stricken people be re required, by their own votes, to surrender the little remnant of their property to the keeping of lazy, thriftless, black paupers? When a proposition was submitted in the Constitutional Convention, so called to require the voter to pay his taxes before he could exercise the privilege, it was indignantly denounced by a sable orator, upon the ground that such a provision would virtually disfranchise a large majority of the blacks in the State. We have the authority of this bright and shining light for saying that the adoption of the proposed Constitution will subject the property-holders of the State to the irresponsible rule of ignorant paupers.--The official returns from a number of counties, indifferently selected from the several sections of the State, will enable us to form a fair estimate of the property stake which the negroes have in the community.

The returns made for the year 1866 from the counties of Augusta, Rockbridge, Albemarle, Louisa, Prince George, Sussex, Elizabeth City, York, Prince William, Loudon, Botetourt, Washington, Wythe, Halifax and Henry show that the entire tax assessed on the property of negroes in those fifteen counties was $139.09, that the poll tax assessed upon them when added to this property tax made an aggregate of $4,503.96, of which $3,051.71 was not collectable and returned delinquent. In view of these palpable facts, how can our people hesitate as to the path of duty and of safety? We admonish them by all the sacred memories of the past, and all the priceless interest of the present, and all the fond hopes of the future, that the time has come for action, if they would save themselves and their State from the most monstrous political outrage ever perpetrated upon any people."

Speak and Act
(Column 02)
Summary: Demanded that Conserative speakers take to the stump and arouse Conservative voters to defeat Radical policies.
Full Text of Article:

There is no time to be lost. Every Conservative should be at work, and Conservative speakers should be upon the stump. Their voices should be heard in thunder tones in every neighborhood. It is absolutely necessary that the whole people should be aroused to action. With the able editor of the Norfolk Virginian, we think "the time has come for us to marshal our forces and fling abroad the great white banner of the White Man's Party." That journal says that impressions are being made "which it will require time and opportunity to correct, or obliterate. For example, all the chicken hearted and white livered men will cry out that after Alabama has been dragged in by the ears, there is 'no use in making a fight' and this class can only be moved by the pressure of public opinion. We know that dangerous influences are at work, and we say to our local managers that they cannot take the field too soon. The enemy is sapping our works, his mines are already run under one salient, and unless he is dislodged, unless our own men are put on the offensive, we will inevitably be beaten.--What is more demoralizing than to remain in your breast works under the shelling of your enemy, more especially when their sharp shooters use air guns which make no report?"

Vote Against the Constitution
(Column 02)
Summary: Article stressing the duty of white Virginians to "vote against the ratification of the Constitution of the mongrel Convention."

-Page 03-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Staunton resolved to pay the pastor, Rev. William E. Baker, a salary of $1,500.00 in addition to the use of the parsonage house and grounds.
(Names in announcement: Rev. William E. Baker)
Musical Concert
(Column 01)
Summary: A musical concert under the direction of Dr. Brown and assisted by Prof. Ettinger will be given at Staunton's Baptist Church. The proceeds will go to help repair the church.
(Names in announcement: Dr. Brown, Prof. Ettinger)
The Stover Murder
(Column 01)
Summary: Examination of witnesses began in the trial of Joseph Adkins and Charles R. Gilbert for the murder of Christopher Stover. George A. Bruce and William Chapman are the presiding justices. J. B. Baldwin, Bolivar Christian, and J. B. Watts are representing the accussed.
(Names in announcement: Joseph Adkins, Charles R. Gilbert, Christopher Stover, George A. Bruce, William Chapman, J. B. Baldwin, Bolivar Christian, J. B. Watts)
Ku Klux Klan!
(Column 01)
Summary: Reported on the mysterious gatherings of the Ku Klux Klan, printed a strange poem left by the Klan in the editor's office.
Full Text of Article:

That this mysterious organization exists in our midst there can be but little doubt. It is said that there was a truly ghostly gathering of unknown beings in the cemetery on Thursday night last, and that very strange noises were heard. A number of our citizens have received curious circulars directed in characters of blood.

On Friday, we found the following lying on the desk of our office:

K. K. K.

Gather, come gather where the graveyard yawns,

At the hour when the moon is in her horns;

When the wary world sleeps and the owlet screams

And the blood-red light of our lantern streams

The mystic tie is in the firm grip

Of our bony hands! and never a lip

Shall utter a sound that revealeth to men

Of our secret doings--or where and when

The dead speak not--but the graveyard moans,

And there is a shaking among the dry bones;

The hour is nigh when clouds shall weep blood,

And a howl will be heard o'er the land and flood;

Take heed then, ye knaves, for lo! it is written

In the fullness of time the strong shall be smitten.

Cumdibo conslibo slamslummet ehing chow

Karambuinmudum, inbloodum cummow!



Fourth March

FIrst quarter of the moon

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: A mysterious handbill was posted throughout Staunton on Wednesday night bearing the initials K. K. K. Emblems and a jumble of words appearing to be code, such as "Darkness," "Death," "Grave," "Bloody Watch," and "Bony Hand" appeared on the poster.
Staunton Lyceum
(Column 02)
Summary: The Rev. George B. Taylor repeated his lecture before the lyceum on "The Thinker." Members were appointed to debate the next topic, the subscription to the Cheasapeake and Ohio Railroad.
(Names in announcement: George B. Taylor, F. M. Young, C. R. Harris, S. H. Coleman, D. E. Strasburg)
(Column 04)
Summary: Mrs. Mary Rogers died at the residence of C. H. Gates near Sherando on March 30th. She was 63 years old.
(Names in announcement: Mary Rogers, C. H. Gates)
(Column 04)
Summary: Mrs. Susan Brewer died suddenly at the residence of her son-in-law near Churchville on May 26, 1867. She was 52 years old. "For more than 20 years this excellent woman adorned the Christian life by a holy walk and a faithful use of the means of grace in connection with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Her only child, Mrs. Wilson, desiring to have her funeral obsequies performed by a minister of the church of her mother's choice, deferred the matter till this could be effected." A large number attended nonetheless.
(Names in announcement: Susan Brewer, Mrs. Wilson)

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