Ku Klux Klan (Mecosta County, Mich.) Collection,   1916-1974, and undated
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Collection Scope and Content Note

In 1926, Lewis D. Capen of Millbrook, Mecosta County, Michigan, became the Exalted Cyclops of the Mecosta Klan No. 28. He served in the leadership position, an equivalent to chapter president, until 1929 when he became Great Kaliff or Grand Titan, a leadership position over Province # 4, which included the Klans of Ionia and Mecosta counties, and the towns of Petoskey, East Jordan, Hart, Manistee, Portland, and Muskegon, Michigan. Besides his Klan activities, Capen, born in Milbrook, Michigan, in 1892, he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Level Lodge 219 of Milbrook. Note: a large collection of these records is also available at the Clarke. Capen was also a veteran of World War I and postmaster of Milbrook. On October 14, 1935 he married Hilda Hill, a teacher.

Capen’s accumulated organizational correspondence, membership cards, publications, forms, and photographic materials constitute the bulk of this collection. The Klans of Mecosta, Osceola, and Shiawassee, as well as those in Province # 4, mostly in lists, and the Women of the Ku Klux Klan mostly in forms and publications, are documented in this collection.

The membership cards for the Mecosta Klan are photocopies. They are organized alphabetically by surname. Each card usually includes the member’s name, age, home county, city or township, and address. A few remarks and financial notes maybe included.

Used in conjunction with other Klan collections and newspapers at the Clarke, this collection provides an insider’s view of life in the Michigan Klan during the 1920s-1930s.

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