Hopedale HIstory
    July 1, 2017
    No. 327
    Col. Bristow and the Klan


    Hopedale in June  

    Now and Then - Park Street Prefabs   

    Recent additions to existing pages on hope1842.com - Now and Then - Inman Street (More photos of Inman Street
    houses, taken in 1921, added near the bottom of the page.)     Deaths   

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    Twenty-five years ago - July 1992 - In Miami, former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega is sentenced to 40 years in
    prison for drug and racketeering violations.

    Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton accepts his party's presidential nomination.

    Ross Perot announces he is ending his presidential campaign.

    July 25 – August 9 – The 1992 Summer Olympics are held in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

    Fifty years ago - July 1967 - The EEC joins with the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic
    Community, to form the European Communities (from the 1980s usually known as European Community [EC]).

    The town of Winneconne, Wisconsin, announces secession from the United States because it is not included in the
    official maps and declares war. Secession is repealed the next day.

    In Detroit, one of the worst riots in United States history begins on 12th Street in the predominantly African American
    inner city: 43 are killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned.

    News items above are from Wikipedia. Hopedale news below this text box is from the Milford Daily News (1967 and
    1992) and the Milford Gazette (1917).

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                                                         Col. Bristow and the Klan

    This article about Benjamin Helm Bristow is from one of many binders of photos, letters and other material on the
    Bristow family compiled by his granddaughter, Dorothy Draper Gannett Hamlen, one set of which is now at the
    Hopedale Community House. While Mr. Bristow never lived in Hopedale, he had descendants here from the time his
    daughter Nannie married future governor Eben Sumner Draper in 1883, until 2016 when William "Bill" Bristow Gannett
    moved from his Freedom Street home to New Hampshire. Bristow was originally from Kentucky, but he moved to New
    York in 1878 and resided there until his death in 1896.  It would have been a fairly easy train trip for the Bristows to visit
    their daughter and son-in-law at The Ledges on Adin Street, so I presume they were here in town a number of times. Not
    only would they come to see Nannie and Eben, but also to visit their grandchildren, Benjamin Helm Bristow Draper,  
    Eben Sumner Draper, Jr, and their future biographer, Dorothy.

    Col. Bristow resigned his seat in the Senate of Kentucky in 1865, and removed to Louisville, where he entered upon the
    practice of his profession. In the following year he was appointed U.S. District Attorney for Kentucky. The duties of this
    position were extremely arduous. The rebel element had returned from the war, and the pro-slavery faction of the State,
    including those who had taken refuge temporarily in Canada and elsewhere, had organized numerous Ku Klux bands
    to harass and murder the freed man and white Unionists. A reign of terror was inaugurated, which could be
    extinguished only by the civil power of the government, acting through the courts of law. Col. Bristow threw himself into
    this world with all the energy of his nature, and so zealously did he pursue the lawless bands that were patrolling the
    State, that during his term of office he procured twenty-nine convictions before Kentucky juries for various crimes under
    the enforcement act, from common assault to willful murder, and was only stopped at last by a decision of the Supreme
    Court of the United States declaring that the court below had no jurisdiction of that class of offences, That decision was
    made in the case of the United States vs. Blyew, the legal aspects of which will be more particularly referred to
    hereafter. John Blyew and George Kennard had been indicted and tried by Col. Bristow for the murder of a whole family
    of colored persons. The case caused great excitement in Kentucky and when the jury brought in a verdict to guilty of
    murder in the first degree, the Ku Klux fraternity were stricken with terror, not merely in Kentucky, but throughout the
    whole South. Sentence of death was pronounced upon the prisoners, but they took an appeal to the Supreme Court,
    with the result already stated
    .
    Among the convictions obtained by Col. Bristow was that of a wealthy Kentuckian who, shortly after the ratification of the
    13th Amendment, gave a brutal whipping to a Negro woman named Rose Ann McIlroy, whom he claimed as a slave.
    Col. Bristow caused him to be indicted in the Federal Court. This was something entirely novel in the annals of
    Kentucky, and when it was found that the indictment was serious and that the case would surely be tried, great efforts
    were made by the friends of the culprit to get the case dismissed. Among others who visited Louisville for this purpose
    was a distinguished member of Congress. This gentleman called upon Col. Bristow and said that one of his
    neighbors, a very respectable man, had got into trouble and been indicted. "For what offence?" asked Col. Bristow. "Oh,
    he only flogged a Negro woman," was the answer. "Flogged a woman!" exclaimed Col. Bristow, "then, without knowing
    the particulars, I should say he ought to be hanged." This was the only satisfaction given to the member of Congress for
    his respectable constituent. But the efforts of the indicted party and his friends did not end here. Delegations of
    respectable people came forward, and long petitions were prepared and signed, setting for the good character of the
    accused. Col. Bristow stood firm, and declared his intention to make and example of a woman-whipper, and to
    prosecute every case of the kind brought to his notice to the last extremity. The offender was convicted. Col. Bristow then
    instituted a civil action for damages, and secured a judgment for the sum of one thousand dollars on behalf of the
    colored woman whom he had so mistreated. The money was collected and paid over to her. It is believed that only in
    Kentucky were the Enforcement Acts sought to be carried out.

             For more on Benjamin Helm Bristow, see No. 295 and No. 296.

                                                                           
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