The Blue Lodges, 1854 – 186?

Blue Lodges, 1854 – 186?

Alternative names:
“Friends Society,” “Social Band,”
“Dark Lantern Society,” and the
“Sons of the South.”

A set of independent fraternal organizations dedicated to
the expansion of slavery during the Kansas union admission
controversy. Originating in Missouri, Founded by Joseph O.
Shelby in 1854 where the majority of their members resided,
but also active in Kansas, and parts of Arkansas. It is
speculated they were a branch of the pro-slavery Knights of
the Golden Circle. a feature of the society was secretive
handshakes, handsigns, exclusive passwords, and oaths. Signs
of said secrecy were wearing hemp in their lapels, and using
the phrase, “Sound on the goose.” for admission to Blue Lodge
meetings. Initiates were sworn in with their hands placed on
a bible. Some higher ranked, influential members were Benjamin
Stringfellow, John Stringfellow, David R. Atchison, Claiborne
Jackson, Alexander McDonald and Jo Shelby. Their sole political
goal was the expansion of the divine institution of slavery into
the, then, new state of Kansas. To accomplish this they acted as
a social, and electoral advocacy club advocating for southern,
pro-slavery migration into Kansas. Utilizing their numbers for
the purposes of swaying local elections, protecting their members
from abolitionist terror campaigns of violence, and assassination,
lobbying local Cherokee reserves into the pro-slavery movement,
and recruiting the regional white population, within Kansas. Most
Blue Lodges disbanded after Kansas was admitted as a free state
in 1861, the few that remained reoriented their political goal
to advocacy for southern secession, all were defunct
by the end of the civil war.

Notable members, and sympathizers:

Elias Rector (Poet)
Joseph O. Shelby (founder)
John Rollin Ridge (Writer)
John Stringfellow (Doctor)
David R. Atchison (Senator)
Claiborne Jackson (Politician)
Jo Shelby (Confederate Officer)
Benjamin Stringfellow (Confederate officer)
Alexander McDonald (Kansas slavery advocate)

call to chat