Early Dallas County history contains many articles with mention of Klan activity. Dallas Deputy Sheriff Hilliard Bright was killed during a December, 1922 raid on a whisky still at Rowlett Creek. All the city and county offices were closed for his funeral. The services at the gravesite were brought to a close by members of the Ku Klux Klan, dressed in full Klan regalia, marching to the open grave and placing a large cross of red roses near the numerous other floral offerings.
According to the Handbook of Texas Online:
The post-World War I era was marked by the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan. With 13,000 members, the Dallas chapter was the largest in Texas, and the national “imperial wizard” was a Dallas cut-rate dentist named Hiram Wesley Evans. Some 75,000 citizens greeted Evans on “Klan Day” at the 1923 State Fair. The Dallas Morning News led the attack on the Klan, helping Ma (Miriam A.) Ferguson defeat Dallas judge Felix Robertson, the Klan candidate, in a Democratic runoff for governor in 1925.
Hiram Wesley Evans, “imperial wizard” of the Ku Klux Klan, son of Hiram Martin and Georgia (Striplin) Evans, was born on September 26, 1881, in Ashland, Alabama. While he was a youth his family moved to Texas, and he graduated from high school in Hubbard. He studied dentistry at Vanderbilt University but left before obtaining a degree. He received his dentistry license in 1900 and practiced in Dallas until 1920. On February 5, 1923, he married Bam Hill; they had three children.
In 1920 Evans joined the organization and devoted most of his time to its support. By 1921 he had reached the rank of “exalted cyclops” and led a group of Klansmen who forcibly removed Alex Johnson, a black bellhop, from the Adolphus Hotel and wrote “K.K.K.” on his forehead with acid. The next year Evans began his climb to power within the Klan. Early in 1922, when the “Realm of Texas” was organized, Evans became a “great titan” (district leader), and several months later he was appointed “imperial kligrapp,” or national secretary, by the imperial wizard, William J. Simmons. Under his leadership the Klan became involved in state and local primary elections.
While uncovering the dark past of Hiram W. Evans, a Dallas Klan leader, you might also be captivated by our article delving into the remarkable yet untold story of Henry and Surrelda Jane Yeary Markrum, which offers a unique perspective on history.
Evans was imperial wizard from 1922 until 1939. Shortly before his resignation he sold the Klan’s Peachtree Street Palace to the Catholic Church. He wrote several books, including The Menace of Modern Immigration (1923), Alienism in the Democracy (1927), and The Rising Storm (1929). While serving as imperial wizard he dealt in emulsified asphalt for highway construction in Atlanta.
The state of Georgia brought a suit against him for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, but the suit was eventually dropped. Evans died in September 1966 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a Democrat, a Mason, and a member of the Christian Church and the Congressional Country Club.