Letter from John W. Jordan to John A. McDowell (May 4, 1868)


In this letter to John A. McDowell, dated May 4, 1868, John W. Jordan describes a demonstration led by the Ku Klux Klan in Staunton, which he says agitated black and white people alike and threatened the public peace.


Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands 
Office 4th Division 9th Sub-District, Virginia. Capt. Jno A. McDonnell Sub Asst Comr 
Winchester, Va 

May 4th 1868 

Staunton, Va. 


I have the honor to call your attention to certain demonstrations made by an organization here known as the “Ku Klux Klan” and which have caused a vast deal of dangerous excitement, especially among the colored population and which if not promptly suppressed will culminate in serious and deplorable disturbances of the public peace. 

This Klan made their appearance in the Streets of Staunton about 1 o’clock Sunday morning last, mounted and the Klan being enmasked in white sheets or something of the kind, and being armed caused no little consternation among the colored people and much serious annoyance to the respectable whites. Their operations were attended with the discharge of pistols and also by cheers or yelling, which of course occurring as it did almost in the center of the town aroused almost the entire population. 

On yesterday I addressed a formal communication to the Mayor upon the subject who has informed me that every effort is being made by the Civil Authorities to ferret out the guilty parties in the matter, who I am assured will be brought to punishment and the operations of the Klan suppressed at once. 

The colored people are very much excited upon the subject and but little is needed to bring about a serious state of things here. I would also remark that I have reported the facts to the Military Comr for this Division also. 

I am Capt 
Your obt Svt 

Jno W. Jordan 
A.S.A.Comr &c 
B. of R. F. & A. L. 

APA Citation:
Jordan, John. Letter from John W. Jordan to John A. McDowell (May 4, 1868). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Jordan, John. "Letter from John W. Jordan to John A. McDowell (May 4, 1868)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 14 Apr. 2024
Last updated: 2020, December 07
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