Affidavit of William Quackenbush

Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General (Main Series), 1871 – 1880

National Archives Microfilm Publication M666 Roll 1

“Statements, depositions, and other records submitted by Gov. William W. Holden relating to crimes of the Ku Klux Klan against citizens of North Carolina, 1869 – 1871″

North Carolina
Alamance County

August 1st, 1870

This day personally appeared before me P. R. Harden, an acting Justice of the Peace for said County, William Quackenbush, who being duly sworn deposeth and says:

I joined an organization in December 1869 or January 1870 called Ku Klux or White Brotherhood. A party of disguised men came to my house and said they understood I wanted to see the Ku Klux; wanted to know what I wanted with them and finally persuaded me to join them. I am certain that I knew one of them, J. J. McPherson. I think Peter Foust’s boys and George and John Barbee were in the crowd. One of them administered an Oath to me – they then told me there was work to be done that night and that I must go with them; they then gave me a gown and I went with them. We went first to Manly Turner’s, they enquired there if anything was to be done; was told that Jim Cole said he wanted them to come and give him his whipping and let his dread be over. Cole had said that if they come to his house he would put seven balls into some of them. We then went to Cole’s and ordered him to open the door, he done so; they asked his wife if he had not been maltreating her, she said he had not; they asked him what he meant by threatening to shoot the Ku Klux; he denied making any such threats; they told him he had and pulled him out of the house and two of them held him while another commenced to whip him; the first one gave him ten licks; another man then gave him ten; they then told me that I must give him ten and I done so; I seen blood stains through his shirt and I did not hit him very hard; I was compelled to do it for they swore me to do everything I was told even to kill my own father; they would have whipped him more, but I begged for him.

We then went to Alfred Hatwood’s and told him about whipping Cole; there was nothing more done that night. They told me they would give me notice when I was wanted again. I never attended any meetings and never went on any other raid. I understood the objective of the organization to be to take the law in our own hands and to whip or hang anyone we saw proper.

Wm. Quackenbush

Sworn and subscribed before me this 1st August, 1870.
P. R. Harden, J. P.