Knights of the Golden Circle
*** ALL TREASURE TALES USA ***Knights of the Golden Circle
The Columbia Encyclopedia,
Sixth Edition 2008 CopyrightKnights of the Golden Circle
Secret order of Southern sympathizers in the North during the Civil War. Its members were known as Copperheads. Dr. George W. L. Bickley, a Virginian who had moved to Ohio, organized the first "castle," or local branch, in Cincinnati in 1854 and soon took the order to the South, where it was enthusiastically received. Its principal object was to provide a force to colonize the northern part of Mexico and thus extend proslavery interests, and the Knights became especially active in Texas. Secession and the outbreak of the Civil War prompted a shift in its aims from filibustering in Mexico to support of the new Southern government. Appealing to the South's friends in the North, particularly in areas that were suffering economic dislocation, the order soon spread to Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri. Its membership in these states, where it was enthusiastically received. Its principal object was to provide a force to colonize the northern part of Mexico and thus extend proslavery interests, and the Knights became especially active in Texas.
Secession and the outbreak of the Civil War prompted a shift in its aims from filibustering in Mexico to support of the new Southern
government. Appealing to the South's friends in the North, particularly in areas that were suffering economic dislocation, the order soon spread to Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri.
Its membership in these states, where it became strongest, was largely composed of Peace Democrats, who felt that the Civil War was a mistake and that the increasing power of the federal government was leading toward tyranny. They did not, however, at this time engage in any
treasonable activity. In late 1863 the Knights of the Golden Circle was reorganized as the Order of American Knights and again, early in
1864, as the Order of the Sons of Liberty, with Clement L. Vallandigham, most prominent of the Copperheads, as its supreme commander. Only a minority of its membership was radical enough-in some localities-to discourage enlistments, resist the draft, and shield deserters. Numerous peace meetings were held. A few extreme agitators, some of them encouraged by Southern money, talked of a revolt in the Old Northwest, which, if brought about, would end the war. Southern newspapers wishfully reported stories of widespread disaffection, and John Hunt Morgan's raid (1863) into Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio was undertaken in the expectation that the disaffected element would rally to his standard. Gov. Oliver P. Morton of Indiana and Gen. Henry B. Carrington effectively curbed the Sons of Liberty in that state in the fall of 1864. With mounting Union victories late in 1864, the order's agitation for a negotiated peace lost appeal, and it soon dissolved.
- --- In email@example.com, "Lyn" <catlady@...> wrote:
>Were there any membes of KGC in Connecticut? Also seeking other stories about bury treasures in Connecticut. Hope to hear from you soon. farmboy61@...
> Can't believe all the stuff on your KGC site...it'll take me forever
> to read it all...but right off the bat, is there a connection between
> the Masons and KGC? I ask this because I inherited a tiny book of
> secret rituals, procedures and symbols and codes possessed only by
> the highest individuals in the society...the compass and ??? figures
> very prominently as their ID symbol and the exact direction and
> placement of doors, objects, etc in their lodges are layered with
> meaning upon meaning, secret upon secret...and these fellows always
> seemed to be quiet wealthy...and it is no secret that the outside of
> their buildings/meeting lodges are extremely vanilla...blending
> unobtrusively into their surroundings like a treasure in plain
> sight...wish I had the rest of the little books to figure out the
> rest of the story...
*** ALL TREASURE TALES USA ***Knights of the Golden CircleThe "Golden Circle"The historical mysteries surrounding the American Civil War are actually fairly numerous. Ghost hunters have long known that if you want to find a haunted location just look around any Civil War battlefield. The fact of the matter is that you can find books of ghost stories related to this on the discount shelves of most large book stores. If you want my personal recommendation it wont be for a book but a magazine:Blue and Gray Magazine.This magazine has published some excellent issues on haunted locations of the American Civil War. Some of the background research they provide would greatly assist the serious paranormal researcher. Now some of these might only be available at this point through Ebay or a specialty bookstore but they are well worth the investment.Right now I am more concerned with far less supernatural mysteries of the war. It seems to me that the end of just about any and every war leaves questions unanswered. Sometimes the only people who could answer the questions go to the grave without ever leaving a single letter or note to provide a clue. I think some survive the war only to fade into obscurity. They never even know they could have provided the answer to future historians questions.I think the Knights of the Golden Circle are one of these mysteries. The KGC actually predates the Civil War; they were originally a group working towards the expansion of Southern slave interests into various Caribbean states. They advocated the annexation of these countries to become slave states in order to insure their political majority in Washington. Their efforts are not to be taken lightly; back before the Civil War you can find historical accounts of various filibustering expeditions. These were formal invasions staged by American citizens of small sovereign nations with the intent of taking them over to establish independent states. Some of my research indicates that the KGC was at least sympathetic if not constructively supportive of these efforts.Probably the most famous of the filibusters was William Walker. Heck, I even think they made a movie about his little historical misadventure!William WalkerThe 1987 movie about Walker.Now I havent found a direct connection between Walkers efforts and the KGC but the Knights were certainly sympathetic to such efforts. The coming of the Civil War would shift their efforts into a considerably different direction. The goal now was not the expansion of Southern slave interests but the survival of what was now a Southern slave state. This is when the efforts of the KGC start becoming increasingly mysterious. They were always a somewhat reclusive group but with the bombardment of Fort Sumter they rapidly took on the mantle of a subversive organisation to Federal authorities. They largely went underground in the Northern states and it is somewhat murky as to the extent of their activities.Eventually the leaders within the Confederate government saw that they couldnt win a long war with the Union. In terms of material and human resources the Southern state was in no position to wage a war of attrition with the North. It was then seen by some in the South that unconventional measures would be necessary for their survival. It seems that there isnt much in terms of official historical records that survived the war. Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin burned almost all the records of Confederate clandestine efforts shortly before the fall of Richmond in April 1865. Benjamin would then flee the South and live in exile in England for the rest of his life. He would also never leave a hint about what he knew about Confederate secret operations during the war.Judah P. BenjaminConfederate Secretary of State
Connections between the KGC and clandestine efforts of the Confederacy are murky at best. One of the best books I have ever found that deals with some of this is:Come Retribution:The Confederate Secret Service andthe Assassination of LincolnWilliam A. Tidwell withJames O. Hall andDavid Winfred Gaddy1988, University Press of MississippiISBN 0-76070-381-7Come RetributionThis books goes a long way towards answering some of the questions about Confederate clandestine efforts during the war. It also demonstrates that the Confederate Secret Service was more than aware of the KGC. It is more difficult to establish how closely they worked with each other. There were people associated with the KGC that were involved with John Wilkes Booth and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The Confederacy saw the KGC as a way to establish an armed resistance movement within the Northern states but this never blossomed into what they really needed.With the end of the war the role of the Knights of the Golden Circle would change again. There was no longer a Southern state for them to assist. This is when a true mythology begins to come about around the KGC and the "Lost Cause". There were former Confederates that chose to flee the country after the collapse of the South. It is interesting to look at what happened to many of these folks that left. Just look up Confederados on the internet sometime. Some of them managed to escape to Brazil and set up a colony of sorts there.Sons of Conderate Veterans Brazilian ChapterSome descendants of the original Confederados duringa festival celebrating their Southern Heritage.I havent found any information supporting any alleged connections between the Confederados and the KGC. It seems to me that the Confederates that chose to flee the country eventually either came back peacefully or committed themselves to their new homes. Still Ive found questions that remain about activities of the KGC after the war. Probably the most famous recent example of this was the movie National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.National Treasure 2: Book of SecretsIf you get the DVD, at least with the one Laurie and I got, they have a nifty little featurette on the Knights of the Golden Circle. It doesnt provide much more than a few minutes of cursory information but it is fun to watch. The movie itself ends up in the Black Hills around Mount Rushmore; this was another draw for us to get the movie. We love the Black Hills.Now when it comes to serious current research on the KGC Ive found a couple of very interesting books and websites. Im going to start with a Yahoo discussion group that doesnt get as much attention as it deserves:I really do find this discussion group somewhat amazing. It seems like a week doesnt pass without a posting of some incredible bit of information. If you follow up on some of the postings here you can find some interesting background information around everything from Confederate secret operations in Canada to just what Jesses James ties to the KGC might have been. I can not recommend this group enough. Even if you dont have much to contribute it is worth it just following the things they turn up.I think this book got a lot of treasure hunters taking the legends of the lost gold of the Confederacy quite seriously again. It also has a lot of information on the Knights of the Golden Circle:Shadow of the Sentinel:One Mans Quest to find theHidden Treasure of theConfederacyWarren Getler and Bob Brewer2003, Simon & SchusterISBN 0-7432-1968-6Shadow of the SentinelThis book contends that the KGC was a very real movement after the war. One of their major concerns was with raising the gold they thought would be needed to fund a new Southern rebellion. It looks like the rebellion never came to be but the gold might have been collected. You have to remember that this is just one of the legends around lost Confederate gold. The thing that makes this stand above some of the other books on the topic is the authors have facts to support their ideas. They even have a little gold to support their ideas as well
Knights of the Golden Circle
The Knights of the Golden Circle was a Texas-based secret society. Their objective was to create a confederation of slave-holding states in parts of Mexico and the West Indies, extending slavery; the group's plan thus mirrored the objectives of secession, a cause they actively supported during the Civil War. Legend has it that they hid the fabled confederate gold allegedly sent off for safe keeping as the waning days of the war. Others have linked them to the KKK.
At the link below is a fascinating history of the KGC and the historical context, it is after all subtitled "A History of Secession from 1834 to 1861." It was written by a member of the order and published in 1861. The rituals and degree structure described in this book clearly indicate the influence of Freemasonry; whether it was founded by men who happened to be Masons is unclear, as Freemasonry is not mentioned in the text.
"A History of Secession from 1834 to 1861"
The Knights of the Golden Circle Research and Historical Archives