Blue Lodges.Soon after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, a secret organization was formed in the South to assist in promoting the interests of the slave power. The society was known by different names, such as the "Friends Society," the "Social Band," the "Sons of the South," etc., but by whatever name it might be known the object was always the same. Each member took a solemn obligation, after which he was given the signs, grips and passwords of the order. Severe penalties were provided for any violation of the oath, or for divulging the secrets of the organization, and it is known that in a few instances these penalties were executed upon offending members. Holcombe's History of Vernon County, Missouri, says: "The order was a branch of or auxiliary to the famous Knights of the Golden Circle, the common object being the samethe extension of slavery. The order of the Golden Circle was composed of slaveowners, and was designed to effect the acquisition of Cuba, Northern Mexico and Central America, and the establishment of slavery in the territories. The 'Social Band' was made up of pro-slavery men, with and without slaves, and was meant to be a valuable active force in the extension of slavery into Kansas and Nebraska primarily."
Phillips' Conquest of Kansas (p. 45) says: "The Blue Lodge embraced great numbers of the citizens of Missouri, and was extended into other slave states and into the territory (Kansas). Its plan of operating was to organize and send men to vote at the elections in the territory, to collect money to pay their expenses, and, if necessary, to protect them in voting. It also proposed to induce pro-slavery men to emigrate into the territory, to aid and sustain them while there, and to elect none to office but those friendly to their views."
George Park, editor of the Parkville Luminary, whose newspaper office was destroyed by a mob, presumably composed of members of the Blue Lodge, in a letter to the St. Louis Democrat in May, 1855, said: "Stringfellow and Atchison have organized a secret association, the members of which are sworn to turn out and fight when called upon to do so, and which is to be governed by the following rules: All belonging to it are to share in the damages accruing to any member when prescribed, even at the price of disunion. All are to act secretly to destroy the business and character of Northern men; and all dissenting from their doctrines are to be expelled from the territory."
From these extracts the aims and objects of the society may be learned, as well as the methods to be employed in attaining them. Among the leaders were David R. Atchison, the two Stringfellows, and Alexander McDonald, afterward a Republican United States senator from Arkansas during the reconstruction period. All the leaders of the organization were desperate men, willing to accept any hazard, and it was under the auspices of this society that a number of the forays into Kansas were planned and executed. But the free-state sentiment was too strong for even an oath-bound society to combat, and the Blue Lodge succumbed to the inevitable.Pages 196-197 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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