Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 22

By | September 4, 2023

[September 4, 2023]  I was very young and did not witness the brave act of one lone man who stood up against the powerful and very dangerous Ku Klux Klan.  But the whole town knew, for some were witnesses when the local Marshal blocked the KKK from entering this rural town.  It was shortly before I was born, in the town I often visited, where my relatives grew up.  There are no traffic lights and one main road on the west side of town, several bars, one church, a tiny general store, a gas station, and a railroad station.  The KKK was no small matter.  They would kill whites or blacks and saw themselves as the local moral police.  The town I grew up in, just half an hour south, is where two white men were kidnapped, tortured, and then lynched by the Klan for immoral behavior.  The KKK was extremely powerful, and the Governor once asked the FBI for help.

As the story was told to me, the Klan wanted to move into town and take away some men to teach them a lesson.  The black-robed, armed KKK members, about two dozen strong, marched on the main street from the south side.  Meeting them was the town Marshal, who held a shotgun in his hands and a revolver on his hip.  Outnumbered and outgunned, the Marshal stood his ground, declaring that the only way they were coming to take control was over his dead body, and he planned to take a number down with him.  The black robbed men were wise enough not to make a direct challenge, and they promptly left after a few exchanges of threats against the Marshal.

Today, people say this encounter was no big deal.  For the town’s citizens, keeping the Klan out was a godsend.  Everyone knew what had happened to the two men from my hometown, and they were having none of it.  Many residents feared for their lives, and rightly so.  These were not church-going folks and were darn happy the KKK was not around to cause havoc.  I first heard the story in my grandparents’ church.  It seemed like every citizen turned out for church services each Sunday morning and all appropriately dressed in their finest clothes.  I was allowed to wear long pants, and I fancied myself a young man who could hang out with all the cool high school kids.

Decades later after the KKK were run out of town, when I was 17, I was in town and standing outside a cousin’s home when the town Marshal pulled up in his patrol car.  I’m thinking about all the small-town Marshal stereotypes when he said, “You’re a Satterfield, ain’t ya?”  I said, “Ah, yes, good to meet you.”  How the heck did he know I was a Satterfield?  He said, “Get in; I have something to show ya.”  I had to decide quickly, but there was no backing out, so I got in the front seat (the back seat would have meant something far different).  Driving across the RR tracks, he drove out near several cow pastures.  Using the patrol car’s PA system, he broadcast, “Moo, Moo, Moo, Moooooooo.”  The cows looked up and went back to eating grass.  We chatted about my mom and dad, and he knew them well and drove me back to my cousin’s home.  It was like being in an alternative universe, but I was glad to know the man.  I later found out this was the man who, over 30 years earlier, had risked his life and held off a couple dozen KKK members by himself.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

26 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 22

  1. Mother Picasso

    Sir, thank you for respecting your granddaughter enough to write these letters. One day, she will appreciate them.

    1. Doug Smith

      It is easy to run away and not have to face danger. It is easy to retreat to safety when you are in immediate threat. But the brave people are those that make the world a better place like this Marshall. Without strong men like him, we would live in a police state run by dictator thugs just like China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. And if you don’t like America, no problem, move to one of these countries but don’t come back.

  2. Eddie Gilliam

    Good article. Dare to stand. I heard several people growing up say if you don’t stand up for something, you will fall for anything . Moses was raised in the house of Pharaoh yet when he saw one of his Jewish brothers getting beat up. Moses stood up for the Jewish man. He later called by God to stand up to Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go out of Egypt to promise land. They’re were in bandage. Not matter what party we belong to let’s stand up and out for any injustice.

  3. Greg NH

    Gen. Satterfield, I do wish you will continue with this letter series. It is mostly entertaining to me and I think you made it this way so that it would keep the interest of your granddaughter. Like any young person you have to grab their attention and hold it. Most of your letters do exactly that. That is what makes them so readable. And, for me, re-readable. Let us know at some point whether you will put these into book form or not. For, they are a bit personal.

  4. Laughing Monkey

    Hi everyone, great letter, once again. Read his entire series of letters.

  5. Gibbbie

    Just another great letter!!!! Gen. Satterfield, love this new series. And I’m learning a lot about the stories of you growing up and what affected you and what motivated you to become an officer in the US army. Well done. I too hope you make this into a book. Thank you!

  6. Tom Bushmaster

    Gen. Satterfield, each time I read one of these “letters” it makes me smile. Why? Because it reminds me of my childhood from the 1970s. Maybe a decade or two after you but very similar in many ways. Please continue with the series and keep us informed as to your entire family. I liked when you brought in your brother when you went to see King Kong. Funny. Thanks.

    1. Nick Lighthouse

      Yeah, I liked it too when he wrote about the King Kong movie. And, BTW I understand completely. The movie is really for adults.

  7. Ron C.

    Gen. Satterfield, another impressive letter to your granddaughter. I certainly hope to hope that she reads these letters at some point in her life to understand you and to see what you saw and thus why you made certain decision. Although I must say that I believe much of the direction you went in life was determined very early. Getting hard jobs and being willing to do work that others would never do. And not wimping out or crying when you were tired or hurt. You learned important lessons early. good for you.

  8. Melissa Jackson

    “Decades later after the KKK were run out of town, when I was 17, I was in town and standing outside a cousin’s home when the town Marshal pulled up in his patrol car. ” Now that had to be scary!

    1. Winston

      Yes, I would think so too.
      It is better to be frightened now than killed hereafter — Winston Churchill

  9. Grover in the Grove

    Another very informative and entertaining letter to your granddaughter, Gen. Satterfield. Well done!

  10. Karl J.

    Another excellent “Letters to My Granddaughter” in this series. I do believe that I’m right in saying that this is your best mini series to date. Altho this is not a mini-series now but a longer series. Please keep them up. I love each one of them. Do you plan on coming out with a book with these letters, Gen. Satterfield? I would buy it. Please let us know.

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Karl J. I have not yet made up my mind 100% but I am leaning toward making this into a book. So far, I don’t see a real audience but maybe I’ll publish it just to see. Thanks for the inquiry.

      1. British Citizen

        Sir, I hope you do decide to turn these into a book. I saw how you created your last book “55 Rules for a Good Life” and how you interspersed stories of interest that helped tie the rules together in a fashion that was both happily entertaining, as well as dearly informative. Your “free” website is such a blessing that you are not always trying to get us to pay something here and there. A breath of fresh air. Cheers.

        1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

          Your question is something that many of us have been asking ourselves now for a few weeks. Is Gen. Satterfield going to turn this into a book. Or does he have something else in mind. I would think he wants to turn it into a book but his comment about having an audience is legit. Will he have one? Yeah, surely we could buy the book but it goes much further than that. I hope that he comes out with a book titled “55 MORE Rules for a Good Life.” We know that he dropped a few to get the rules down to 55. Let’s see how that one works out too.

  11. Pumpkin Spice

    Wow, wonderful story. What are you thinking when you meet wonderful or great people? Do you ask them the secret of their life? What do you say? Those are the kinda thinking I’m doing here.

    1. Lady Hawk

      Yep, I’m with you Rev Cain. The series is now up to 22 letters. I can’t wait to read them all back to back in a book with additional comments from Gen. Satterfield.
      These are wonderful letters exploring the early life of Gen. Satterfield and his family. These stories tell us what formed his decisions later in life and if you read them closely you will see how they transferred to his current status as a US Army general officer.

      1. JT Patterson

        Great comment, LH. I was thinking along the same lines. Gen. Satterfield sure knows how to inform and entertain.
        Be sure to get a copy of his latest book. Yeah, I’ll hawk them for him. “55 Rules for a Good Life” is the BEST. Get it at Amazon.


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