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Bob Lind, Published August 26 2013

Neighbors: Ku Klux Klan stories from Dilworth

The kids in Dilworth had a way to warm up back in the winters of the 1920s. They’d sneak into the Presbyterian church and huddle by its stove.

One night, though, the kids had unexpected company. A group of men wearing white robes and hoods walked into the church.

The Ku Klux Klan had arrived.

One of those kids became the father of Patrick Fitzgerald, of Lake Park, Minn.

Pat writes that both of his parents grew up in Dilworth, and his father told him this story.

The Klan, the kids learned, was assembling in the church for a meeting.

The kids didn’t know who the men were, covered as they were with their hoods, but the church’s preacher obviously did, Pat says, “because as they walked by him at the door, he was saying, ‘Hi, Dave’ or ‘Hi, Jim,’ etc.”

That’s all Pat knows about that event. He does know, though, that the Klan burned a couple of crosses in downtown Dilworth.

Then there’s the story of Pat’s mother’s cousin who lived across the street from the Dilworth school.

This girl’s father worked for the Northern Pacific Railway, sold insurance on the side and was “100 percent Irish Catholic,” Pat says, and you know the Klan didn’t like Catholics.

One day the girl was playing on the lawn in the front of the school when the Klan held a march down the street.

While she couldn’t tell who they were due to the hoods, she did recognize the shoes of one of the men, remembering they were worn by a man who’d bought insurance from her father the day before.

The Klan apparently “didn’t mind the Catholics if they could buy cheaper insurance from them,” Pat says.

Not a university

One more item today. It’s in reference to a story here about Matthew Worner, formerly of Mayville, N.D., and now in government service, which said he went to Virginia Tech University.

Yes and no, an email says. Matthew did attend the college, but it’s just Virginia Tech, not a university.

So says Gary Cope, also a Virginia Tech grad, of Blacksburg, Va., where the school has its main campus.

Thanks to Gary for straightening this out.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com