My dad had three older half-sisters, their mother died when they were young. They were Dollie, Margaret, and Virginia (Vergie). They all were born in Kentucky before the turn of the century. Dollie was born in 1886, Margaret in 1891, and Vergie in 1894.
My cousin had told me at one time she had a picture of Dollie, but that she had burned it. I had no idea what would make her burn a picture of her dad's half-sister. Recently she told me why she burned it. The picture was of a woman in her casket. That's not so unusual, it's what the woman had in her casket that upset my cousin. She was wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and had other Klan items in her casket. I'm not sure how she knew, but she said the women had something in the casket that indicated that she was an Imperial Leader.
I have also made contact with an extended cousin, Margaret's granddaughter. As we were talking she said that she remembers a picture of her grandmother in her casket and that she had KKK things in her casket. She believes her mother destroyed the picture after her father died. She was young the last time she saw the picture and wasn't really sure of the details.
Now, my question is, were both women involved or was there a mis-identification of one of the pictures. I don't know if that is something we will ever be able to figure out. I have another cousin that says that the original picture that my cousin burned had been copied and she believes a copy still exists. I am still hoping to find the copy.
Since getting this information I have done some reading on the WKKK. I had never really known that women were involved with the KKK, but it seems they were.
I found there was a huge explosion of clan membership in the mid-1920's, which would have fit right with their ages. They were both living in Cincinnati, Ohio during that time period.
I also found more information on the WKKK that I didn't know about before. They were involved with giving lots of money to charitable organizations. The major areas of work for the WKKK was for Americanism, education, public amusements, legislation, child welfare and delinquency, civics, law enforcement, disarmament, peace, and politics. Nationwide as many as a half-million women were in the Klan. There duty was to uphold "the sanctity of the home, and the chastity of womenhood."
Margaret died in 1927, at the age of 36, and Dollie died in 1930, at the age of 44.
When looking back through family history you never know what you will find, there will be things that you are proud of and things that are harder to understand.
I hope we can find the picture, it is a part of our ancestry, even if we don't approve of it.
I don't have any pictures of any of the women, I wish I did. I believe Margaret's granddaughter has pictures and I hope to meet her someday, maybe she will share. I have talked to her on the phone.