Two small corrections on Forrest

The Billboard

The Billboard

Gentle Readers, a few days ago, I made a post about the Nathan Bedford Forrest billboard overlooking the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. In trying to sum up Forrest’s life quickly, as the post more concerned the billboard and the people who erected it today than the man himself, I made one error and one statement that could lead to misunderstandings. I’m sorry about that. No excuses; I got it wrong.

To wit, I called Forrest a founder of the Ku Klux Klan. This might be true in a very broad sense that he joined the organization among the first generation or so of its members, and he absolutely rose to a position of considerable influence therein, but Forrest joined the Klan about a year after its founding. He came to the Klan early, but it already existed for him to join. He didn’t form it himself.

I also referred to “Keep the skeer on” as Forrest’s motto. I did not mean that literally, as I hoped clear from context, but I can see how others read it differently. The words under his picture on the billboard. He did say them and they did refer to how he preferred to treat his opponents and victims, before, during, and after the war. But I have no evidence that Forrest understood them as his personal motto as one might the slogan on a coat of arms, a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or so forth.

Hope that clears things up. Sorry again.

2 comments on “Two small corrections on Forrest

  1. And you still got it wrong. Forrest was not the founder of the KKK in any sense of the word. These are the founders —

    The original KU KLUX KLAN was founded on December 24, 1865 at the law office of Judge Thomas M. Jones at Pulaski, Tennessee. The “Jolly Six” as they referred to themselves were former Confederate Army Veterans.
    1. Captain John C. Lester – Knight Hawk
    2. Captain John B. Kennedy – Grand Magi
    3. Frank O. McCord – Grand Cyclops
    4. Calvin E. Jones – (son of Thomas M. Jones)
    5. Richard R. Reed – Lictor
    6. James R. Crowe – Grand Turk

    Also I point out that Forrest may or may not have been a member. A very good sourced article on this is posted at —-

    Now do you have any proof that Forrest ver said “keep the skeer on em” before or after the war? If so let’s see the sources. This is the only source I can find where Forrest actually made the statement—

    “Get ’em skeered and keep the skeer on ’em” Forrest to Lieutenant Morton.

    Note some other quotes of Forrest posted. Note the sources.

    • I don’t claim Forrest uttered the words before or after the war. Nor would it matter to my point if he had or hadn’t. They describe a strategy that he employed as a Klan terrorist after the war and which he used in his business as a slave trader before it.

      Had you read either the original post or this one for context, none of this would be news to you. That you persist in this as you have suggests you either can’t or simply don’t care to do so. I don’t know which would be worse, but on further consideration find myself indifferent to the question. You shall have to answer it for yourself.

      I will do you the courtesy of a final reply to your other comment, but you’re done here all the same.

Your input is welcome

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.