The Day the Ku KIux Klan Came to Smiths Falls




Author’s Note–A 12 foot cross was erected near Chambers Street on April 28,1926. A month later a second cross was burned on the outskirts of town and a third cross a week later at Rideau Heights. In mid June a  fourth cross was burned on Franktown Road, a mile and a half north from town.–These notes are files from —Smiths Falls by Glenn J. Lockwood–also available at Heritage House Museum in Smiths Falls ( open seasonally)


Ku KIux Klan Demonstration Attended by Several Thousand

With files from the Almonte Gazette– Sept. 24 1926

That the Ku Klux Klan- of Canada is strongly organized in Smiths Falls was evidenced at a mammoth Klan demonstration there Sunday afternoon and night in *McEwen‘s open field. Impressive demonstrations were given, concluding before midnight. It is estimated that between *six and seven thousand people were in attendance at the demonstration, Hundreds motored to Smiths Falls from Kingston, Belleville, Brockville, Perth, Ottawa and the whole countryside. Klansmen and Klanswomen were also from Kingston, Brockville and Smiths Falls which exemplified the degree work in initial meetings.

The celebration was given over the initiation of 22 local candidates.  During the ceremony 6 huge crosses burned while the demonstraton proceeded. Programs held both afternoon and evening were under the chairmanships of a Klan’s knight leader from London, Ontario. A brother Klan leader, who is known with the local movement gave the addresses and told them that the Klan was part of Scottish legacy and insisted that only the stores of white Protestants be patronized.

The square in which the services-were conducted were marked off with British flags, as well as an elevated platform for the speakers. On another platform was stationed a twelve piece orchestra under the leadership of Mr. Wm. Yarwood which led in the singing of sacred and patriotic selections.

All taking part in the ceremony were gowned in white, with white hoods and masks. The horses used were likewise draped. A noticeable feature was the omission of names of knights or those taking part. Against a beautiful moonlit sky the evening service was most impressive and included the full initiation and obligation. For the evening service crowds most were assembled before six o’clock and automobiles formed a long procession from the town to the field.

An impressive part of the service was the announcement given by the London speaker about a railway accident the previous night. A former Smiths Falls resident, a C.P.R. engineer, and one of the first to join the Klan in western Ontario, had been dangerously injured.  A two minute silence was observed and prayers offered. The injured man, whose three comrades were killed outright, had expected to be at the Smiths Falls demonstration that day.

At the afternoon meeting the speaker informed thousands that the Klan had received 150 new local members of which 22 members were women. At its first meeting in Smiths Falls some time ago,  the Klan had steadily grown in numbers until today- with a large membership of several hundred. A cloud of secrecy entirely surrounded all proceedings and numbers of Klansmen fully robed from out-of-town stationed themselves among the crowd. The Vice Wizard spoke to the crowd many times on the evils of white women marrying outside their race and contaminating the blood line.

Author’s Note–So what did it bring to the then depressed town of Smiths Falls?  They received more than their share of sensational media and Protestant unhappiness with the local Orange Lodge. Half the folks were from out of town and the only reason it was held in Smiths Falls was because it was easily accessible by train as it was a hub. There never was another Klan meeting that anyone knows of in the area, and no evidence to say how long the Smiths Falls membership met in secret. Luckily, the Klan was on their way out in Canada by 1927.


*McEwen‘s Field became the Rideau Regional Centre now OPP Centre

*It was estimated there were actually 12,000-15,000 people not 5 or 6 thousand.


Hannah Munro-Wright– Growing up in Smiths Falls this was something not taught to me by teachers in school but by class mates who found it in history books… also my parents and their friends knew of this. A lot of them believed the burning of the crosses at the 4 corners of town put some bad karma on the town.

Larry Cotten–I found the picture of the KKK in Smiths Falls interesting. Many don’t realize that the Klan was well organized across Southern Ontario in the mid 1920s. There are similar pictures of parades in Collingwood, Barrie, Penetanguishene and Owen Sound in Central Ontario from the 1920s. A Catholic Church in a major city in Ontario was torched … allegedly by the Klan during that time period.


Related reading


Knights of the Ku Klux Klan standing in front of a cross in Kingston–DateAugust 31, 1927

The Ku Klux Klan Rally in KingstonThe Ku Klux Klan Rally in Kingston

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun


October 1926

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

16 responses »

    • I find a lot of unsettling things that happen in history. It happened and let us hope things like this never happen again. I don’t go looking for things like this.. trust me.. but the story needed to be told.


  1. If they come back, I will personally wring their necks and the necks of their parents, siblings and offspring, just to halt their geneological line because it is so defective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” – Sir Winston Churchill. And talking about and studying history is necessary to avoid repeating past mistakes. So ya, we really need to know about this $hit Mike.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda, very cool read, ty for posting this. I was surprised yet also satisfied to see such a short lived following. I’m currently reading the volumes of “Whiskey and Wickedness” in Smith Falls. What an info packed read they are, just love the history of this area and try to gleen every word I can via any way possible, within reason of course. I had no idea of this being in the falls as any documents I’ve read have not even dropped a single clue of such. Keep on keepin on and you now have another that will look forward to your future and past articles as well. Cheers. Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

      • So true Linda, history in itself is so important, yet I see there seems to be limited interest in the young today. Now having said that, I too in my early years had a limited focus on such, so perhaps as years pass on by the young will gravitate more towards adopting an interest, perhaps on common ground where they can associate with different aspects of it. I do metal detecting on close to a daily basis with allowances form a few Ont, Gov groups and also homesteads etc etc. It’s the research to find these places that brings about so much interesting fact and then times when digging something up tells such a good story of what was, as well as at times what happened. It’s like sitting on the edge of my seat at times waiting for the next cool find that’s lurking below the soils lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My grandfather, Frank Morrow, was a long-time member of Carleton Place LOL No. 48, and he was aware of at least one other member of that lodge who was also a Klansman. My father told me Grandpa found a KKK application form in his coat pocket more than once in those days; each one apparently landed in the Findlay Oval when he got home.

    Since the Klan member in question still has descendants living in the area I am choosing not to reveal his name, but I will relate a story involving him and his adopted son that happened about 20 years after the event related here..

    His son took a job with the CPR in Montreal in an effort to distance himself from his parents, but unfortunately he had a couple of character flaws his father was aware of–he was an alcoholic and was not exactly treating his wife very well. He also refused to have a phone in their home for some reason.

    During a visit to Carleton Place the son went out to one or more of the local drinking spots, and while he was out his father started questioning his wife about how he was treating her. Rather reluctantly she admitted to her father-in-law that he had been beating her when things weren’t going his way. His father told his wife the next time it happened she was to go to the nearest neighbour with a phone and call him collect.

    When she called him he told her not to ask any questions, but to go back home and get her washing machine ready.

    When the son was on his way home from wherever he had been drinking that night he was met a couple of blocks from home by a few of his father’s fellow Klansmen who were living in Montreal in full Klan regalia who proceeded to give him a pretty thorough working over. Apparently he never tried roughing his wife up again, and she definitely needed to have the washing machine ready when he came in. I think we can leave what happened to the readers’ imaginations.


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