K. K. K. Field Day in Hampton, 1925

The Hamptons Union

Thursday, September 10, 1925

[In the September 10, 1925 edition of the Hamptons Union, pertaining to the "gathering" the K.K.K. had in North Hampton, the following article appeared on the front page. (Photo from Peter E. Randall's "Hampton: A Century of Town and Beach, 1888-1988", between pages 654 and 655.)]

K.K.K. Field Day

"Holiday traffic on the Lafayette road, the main artery to Boston and Portland, was tied up Monday afternoon for upwards of 30 minutes by a Ku Klux Klan parade. Hampton Klavern, No. 2 and Portsmouth Klavern, No. 4, held a joint field day in a field on the Mill road. Upwards of 2,000 attended, including a delegation from Massachusetts Klavern, No. 17, of Amesbury. Late in the afternoon a parade from the field to the beach road, to Whittier's corner, to High street and return by the Mill road, was held with 700 marchers in full regalia. The parade, which was witnessed by thousands, was headed by two Knights mounted on horses and the North Hampton police led by Chief Irving W. Marston. Returning to the field; there were addresses by members of the National organization, followed by the initiation of a "naturalization class." The burning of a 24-foot cross, together with fireworks Monday evening brought the program to an end."

[Note: On the same page as the above article appeared, in the upper right hand corner, the following "apology" was offered:]

An Apology

"The Ku Klux Klan of Hampton and Portsmouth advertised a Field Meet, Labor Day, which was to be open to the Public. Through a misunderstanding of orders by some of the guards, some people of Hampton and other towns were refused entrance to the field. The Hampton Klavern offers their apology to all who were refused entrance to the grounds.
  KLIGRAFF,   Hampton Klavern"

Chapter 3 -- Part 2

Social Events, Swimsuits, and Rudy Vallee


"Hampton had a brief acquaintance with the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. They held meetings in the town hall, beginning in 1924, and, because one of the local Klan leaders was a Methodist, a group of 18 Klansmen, clad in white robes, marched into the Hampton church one Sunday in February 1925 and presented the minister with an American flag while the choir sang America the Beautiful. After this service, the Union reported that the Reverend A. B. Thompson made "some very interesting remarks on conditions in America." In September, 2,000 people attended the KKK field day and a parade "with over 700 marchers in full regalia," headed by two knights on horses and the chief and members of the North Hampton police department. There were speeches followed by the initiation of a "naturalization class" and the burning of a 24-foot-high cross. About 100 new members were added to the order, and, despite the good beach weather on this Labor Day, many men and women from Hampton and surrounding towns "heartily endorsed the remarks of the speaker, the Reverend Mr. Johnson of Little Rock, Arkansas." In a newspaper advertisement, KILGRAFF signed a notice for the Hampton Klavern #4 apologizing to residents because the guards at the field refused entrance to some people. The following June, the KKK held a statewide field day off Mill Road, just over the North Hampton line. The parade was again led by the North Hampton chief and police force and a cross was burned again. A heckler was arrested for making remarks to some of the women marchers. He was found guilty in Hampton Court of driving an automobile to endanger and fined $10.

"With few blacks living anywhere in this part of New Hampshire, these Klansmen directed their protests toward Catholics. In October 1925, the Reverend W. R. Pierce delivered an address on Americanism at an open KKK meeting in the town hall, and "All Protestant people of Hampton" were invited. Portsmouth Klavern #2 had co-sponsored the large Hampton events. At its height, the Hampton Klavern had nearly 100 members representing two generations of some 60 local families. The Klan’s public presence ended by 1927, although the attitudes it represented apparently remained with some individuals."