|Gov. W.W. Holden (via Charlotte Observer)|
As the state's foremost editor and opinion-maker in the pre-Civil War era, William Woods Holden of the North Carolina Standard took strong stances that meshed with the prevailing customs of the time. As a staunch Democrat, he wrote in favor of expanding slavery and supported secession - indeed, voted for it as a delegate to a secession convention.
Yet in a short time his views on these and other subjects came about 180 degrees. He saw that the war would devastate the South, urged an honorable peace and sharply criticized Confederate President Jefferson Davis and N.C. Gov. Zeb Vance, whom he had once helped win office.After a state senator helping him investigate the KKK was stabbed to death, and other acts of violence, Holden suspended habeas corpus and rounded up some Klan leaders.
The author of the article, Jack Betts, has a follow-up post in which he tells a little more about the murder of State Senator John "Chicken" Stephens.