I am finding evidence that a distant cousin may have participated in or been an organizer of the Lilly, PA Klu Klux Klan incident where 400 armed Klan members attempted a cross burning in the town and were confronted by the townspeople. Shots were fired and 4 eventually died.

In The Ku Klux Klan in Western Pennsylvania, 1921–1928 by John Craig as well as in newspaper articles the individual is specifically mentioned by their initials and last name. Unfortunately there are several relatives known to have those initials and lived in that area during the time period as well as potential for other family members potentially being involved.

I found in this journal article, the following text: "and now stored at the State Archives in Harrisburg. These provide additional information on the 1920s — notably the names and occupations of Klan members and a very detailed series of materials on the next decade." AND "Loucks, Pennsylvania. This work can now be supplemented by the very substantial Klanarchives :Pennsylvania State Archives, State Police Records, RG30: Ku Klux Klan records (hereafter cited as "Klan archive"). This collection includes five boxes of correspondence, 1922-1940, and three boxes of "general" material from the same period. The latter includes a wide selection of Klan pamphlets and newspapers."

I have been poking around the PA State Archives Page and found these documents in The New Deal Collection, box group 30 which confirms the above mentioned statements and these do not seem to be part of ARIAS or any of the other online documents.

My specific question is: Has anyone taken inventory of the membership or even the leadership details of these 5 boxes of documents and microfilmed, digitized, or even made summary list of those documents and made it available online or something I could request via my library? OR Is anyone aware of a full list of individuals (newspaper articles mention a couple dozen only) involved on both sides of the Lilly, PA incident that may be available in now publicly available information?

Note: Yes I could hire a researcher to go and view the state Archives, but this at this point is a curiosity and am just looking for a summary document / membership list vs. details of the content and it is not in my direct line. That said I also do not plan on contacting the current form of the extremist organization for this information as I doubt if they still had records of this detail they would provide it.

  • I don't have any advice here, just a comment that I'm really glad that there is interest in digitizing and transcribing documentation of the names of people involved with the Klan and other extremist organizations.
    – Asparagirl
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 19:39
  • Wait, no, I do have an idea after all: have you tried asking the FBI or other agencies for their records about the incident or about Klan activity in PA in general, using a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?
    – Asparagirl
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


The Pittsburgh Post Gazette did a write up about the incident awhile back: Lillian Thomas: The tiny town that fought the Klan, April 11, 2004.

I would suggest perhaps - unless you contact the Klan itself for a membership roster - contact PSP for an old police incident report. You may also search through Cambria County court records.

The resistance at Lilly by the way is said to be the beginning of the end up here for the Klan.

  • Thanks for the more recent article of the incident. I got a lot of names from other articles as well. Really hoping for the list mentioned of involved members mentioned in the archive/question.
    – CRSouser
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 0:53
  • Hi, Jeanne, welcome to G&FH.SE! Glad to see you here. Hope you have fun exploring. The Tour and the Help Center are under the help button in the top nav bar. If you have questions about how the site works, they can be posted in Meta. Three badges already -- well done!
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    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 1:46

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