The leading Democrats in Wilmington in the late 1890's were primarily businessmen. They kept in close contact with Democrat leaders in other parts of the state, including Josephus Daniels, the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer.
Three of the most prominent Democrats were Col. Walker Taylor, Hugh MacRae, Col. Walker Taylor, and Col. Alfred Waddell.
Col. Walker Taylor
Col. Walker Taylor was the leader of a group called "The Group of Six,"which took an active role in the White Supremacy campaign. He was also the commanding officer of the Second Regiment, North Carolina State Guard at Wilmington. Though not involved in the initial violence, his forces took military control of the city on November 10, 1898.
Hugh MacRae MacRae mansion
The commonly acknowledged leader of the conspiracy to overthrow the elected government was Hugh MacRae, a prominent statewide and local businessman. MacRae secured the Gatling gun which was used to intimidate black leaders in the fall campaign, and was the leader of the white group called "The Secret Nine," which played a major role in the Coup.
Col. Waddell, ex-Confederate officer and ex-Congressman, was the "Robbespierre" and orator of the white supremacist revolution. His stump speech, which spoke of "choking the Cape Fear River with black carcasses," inflamed the Redshirts and White Supremacy unions that marched in the fall campaign. After the riot and coup, he was elected mayor of Wilmington for two terms.
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Link to Chapter 3.1:
FUSION SUCCESS IN THE 1890's