Monday, November 30, 2009

The Klan at Work in Ainsworth

Henry J. Paulus ran a general store in Ainsworth for a brief time — so brief that I can find no trace of him in the census reports.

One evening in 1924, he attended a political party in Ainsworth. He returned from it to find "a group of hooded men burning a cross in front of his store … who he believed were KKK members." Mr. Paulus was Catholic, which was probably what angered the Klan. An investigation by federal agents failed to catch any of the culprits.

The incident did not make the papers at the time. We know about it only from a newspaper article 22 years later. In July 1946, somehow the Vidette-Messenger found out that the Klan had paid a second visit to Mr. Paulus, who now owned a hardware store in Los Angeles. This time, the paper reported, a cross had been planted in front of Mr. Paulus' home, but he took it less seriously than the earlier incident.

In June of 1926, we find Mr. Paulus advertising his Ainsworth general store for sale. By March 1927 he had sold out to "Mr. H. and George Argus." I don't know whether his decision to leave Ainsworth was a result of Klan intimidation.

Sources:
♦ "Former Ainsworth Resident Gets 2nd Klan 'Visitation.'" Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, Ind.) 15 Jul. 1946. Access Newspaper Archive. Lake County (IN) Public Library 29 Nov. 2009 .
♦ "Hobart." The Times (Hammond, Ind.) 15 Mar. 1927. Access Newspaper Archive. Lake County (IN) Public Library 29 Nov. 2009 .
♦ "Real Estate for Sale." The Times (Hammond, Ind.) 1 Jun. 1926. Access Newspaper Archive. Lake County (IN) Public Library 29 Nov. 2009 .

1 comment:

LLoyd Puchek said...

I believe the Ku Klux Klan were set to rid him once and for all if that 3rd visit to him came out, Catholics and Blacks were on their hit list.