Transcribed from volume II 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 July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.


Videttes.—About the beginning of the year 1888, representatives of the various labor organizations in Kansas got together and formed a secret, oath-bound society which was named the "Videttes." The order spread rapidly over the state until it included nearly all those opposed to the policies of the old political parties. On May 15, 1888, a convention assembled at Cincinnati, Ohio, organized the Union Labor party and nominated Alson J. Streeter for president. The Videttes were powerful enough at that time to control the action of the convention, and at Cincinnati the leading delegates from each state were initiated into the order, the object of this move being to control the policy of the Union Labor party in such a way as to prevent fusion or coalition with either the Republican or Democratic party.

The ritual of the Videttes was printed in a code. After the Cincinnati convention the demand for copies of this ritual became so great that by the middle of the summer the supply was exhausted. It therefore became necessary to order a new edition, which was printed at the office of the Nonconformist at Winfield, Kan. Here a printer got hold of a copy of the ritual and the key to the code, which he turned over to a leader in the Republican party. The ritual was rendered into plain English by the aid of the key, and on a given date was issued in the form of a supplement by nearly every Republican newspaper in the state. Names of prominent leaders and promoters of the Videttes were published in connection with the ritual, and the order was generally denounced as "anarchistic and contrary to the spirit and principles of American institutions."

It is doubtful, however, whether any votes were changed in the general election of that year, but the effect was to destroy in a measure the usefulness of the order. Accordingly, on Dec. 19, 1888, representatives of the Videttes met at Wichita, pursuant to the call of the commander, and disbanded as an organization, though the members immediately formed the State Reform Association, which was calculated to work along similar lines, but without a secret ritual. The State Reform Association subsequently played a rather conspicuous part in the work of the Farmers' Alliance. (See Farmers' Alliance.)

Page 845 from volume II 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 July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.

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VOLUME I

TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
INTRODUCTION

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I

VOLUME II

TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

VOLUME III

BIOGRAPHICAL INDEXES


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