The Millers and Lafayette’s Ku Klux Klan

History can sometimes be very messy, with dark chapters that take decades to sort out. Lafayette’s history is no exception.

Recent discoveries related to the Ku Klux Klan activities of town founder Mary Miller’s descendants have so sullied her legacy — and the Miller name — to the point that it should not be used to recognize anything — a street, a neighborhood or a housing development.

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Reprints: 1925 – Lafayette hit by big hail storm; much damage results to buildings

What has been declared by old-timers as the worst hail storm which has ever visited the district struck Lafayette last Monday night at 6:30 o’clock and for about 20 minutes it literally poured sheets of ice.

Many hailstones as large as baseballs were picked up and at times the hail was so thick that one could scarcely see across the street.

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Reprints: 1908 – The Leader and the Liquor Question

Petitions recently were circulated in the city of Lafayette requesting the board of county commissioners to refuse to grant licenses for the sale of liquors in unincorporated towns of the county. A copy the petition was presented to the publisher of the (Lafayette) Leader, and his signature was requested. The publisher of this paper was compelled to withhold his signature from the paper. This action was the result of honest convictions, and for various reasons, one of which is that it is no affair of the citizens of this town if gallons are located in other places. A man is master only of his own household. If his neighbor wishes to attend church, or if he prefers to spend his time at the saloon, it is, generally speaking, none of his concern.

But the fight is to be brought closer to home, and petitions now are being presented to the voters of Lafayette, praying that the question of license or no license — saloons or no saloons — be submitted to the voters of this city at the spring election.

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Lafayette area coal mine fatalities, 1887-1956

One of the most hazardous vocations on record, early coal mining was nothing more than men with picks undercutting hundreds of feet of rock to extract a narrow seam of coal. The room-and-pillar system for removing coal was highly productive, but very dangerous. Some coal was left in place to support the rock layers, and thousands of wood timbers were used to brace the rock above the voids so that the coal could be loaded. Dislodging the coal involved a miner bringing his own keg of black powder into the mine, which when packed into drilled holes could detonate prematurely or not at all. Miners worked separate rooms sometimes miles from the main shaft, which meant little supervision. Add to this the pay-per-ton wages wherein a miner often overlooked his own safety so that as much coal as possible could be loaded.

What could possibly go wrong?

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