This tiny spit of a woman kept the crowd at the Big Horn City Historical Society’s meeting captivated Sunday. She was Roxie Olmstead and her topic for the afternoon was “Wyoming’s Ku Klux Klan.”
The KKK came to Wyoming in June of 1921, claiming to be a Protestant, Christian organization and in 1923 Sheridan’s order, Klan Number 5 was organized. Estimates are that at one time, Sheridan’s Klan had 500 members. Olmstead said the Klan had four major tenets.
Olmstead came to Sheridan three years ago from Kansas to live with her daughter after being widowed. She has given numerous presentations, but her most popular topic has been the 1920’s Ku Klux Klan. During her research she happened upon a startling discovery.
During the mining days near Acme, north of Sheridan, the area was filled with immigrants, mostly Catholic, and rumor has it that it was the KKK that burned the St. Thomas Church near Carneyville and later, the Catholic Church in Kleenburn. A third church was built in Monarch in 1953, but this time it was made of stone and still stands today as a private residence.
The Klan never did achieve much strength in Wyoming.
The Big Horn City Historical Society meets the 4th Sunday of every month in the Big Horn Woman’s Club.