On December 24, 1865, in the law office of Judge Thomas Jones, in the small town of Pulaski, TN, near the Alabama border, six young Confederate veterans organized a secret society. The name was debated over, starting from "kuklid" from Greek word "kuklos, meaning "circle." Then it was broken into two parts, "ku klux." The "klan" part was then added to make the repetitious sound.
The Klan wanted to arouse public suspicion about the organization, various things were used to make this happen. First off, the oath bound every member to complete secrecy about the organization. One was not allowed to disclose the fact that he was a Klansman. One was not allowed to solicit membership. Each member was required to show up to every meeting attired in a long white robe, a tall white hat made of pasteboard, and a white mask. Meetings would be held in cellars of old deserted shacks just outside of towns.
The officers of the Klan had very unique names. The "president" was called the "Grand Cyclops." The "vice-president" was called a "Grand Maji." The "Grand Turk" was the "marshal." The "treasurer" was referred to as the "Grand Exchequer." Two "Lictors" or guards, would be on post outside. One would be at the door, the other halfway between the meeting place and town. The Lictors would carry large spears, and would be dressed in their Klan attire.
The start of the Klan had no purpose, other than to gain members and to mystify outsiders and have fun. Membership increased extremely fast over the summer. The newspapers had many references to the Klan, and there was much discussion of the movement of it. Young men from the surrounding areas and other parts of the country were inducted, and created their own "dens" in the...