History is filled with atrocities committed by the Ku Klux Klan. It brings a welcome sense of justice to discover situations where their nefarious activities were turned upon them. This is in no way to trivialize the horrors suffered by innocent people, but to provide a rare glimpse into what happened when a victim fought back, and inflicted more damage than imagined.
Daniel Webster was not a popular resident of Gate City, Virginia. He was known more for eccentricities than anything in 1885. Webster was “white,” but sued another man who was a pillar of the community. Webster was not a pillar of the community. The name of the person sued, as well as the charges, have been lost to time.
The suit placed Webster at odds with most, including the local Klansmen. He wasn’t particularly shocked when he was awakened from sleep on that cold, December night. Someone threw large rocks at his house. He looked out his window and found a countless number of white robes in his front yard. Webster decided he wasn’t going down without a fight. He pulled a revolver from his desk and opened the window.
He systematically shot one Klansman after another while they stood on his lawn. He emptied the weapon, and yelled out, “Get me the other gun!” The robed men scattered. There really was no second weapon, but the ruse was successful.
The next morning, news traveled of many men who suffered mysterious gunshot wounds during the night, but none could really say why. Jack Wade was severely injured when a bullet passed through his hip. A portion of Robert Scott’s chin was blown off. Tom Maloney, likewise, had a serious injury that left him invalid.
What we do know, for certain, is that the Klan never bothered Webster again.