In 1883, thirteen men led by Nat N. Kinney formed the group, in retaliation against the hordes of invading marauders that had plagued the area since the start of the Reconstruction Era. The original thirteen were Nat Kinney, James A. DeLong, Alonzo S. Prather, Yell Everett, James B. Rice, T.W. Phillips, James R VanZandt, Pat F. Fickle, Galba E. Branson, J. J. Brown, Charles H. Groom, James K. Polk McHaffie, and possibly Ben Price. During the period of 1865-1882, over thirty murders were committed, none leading to a conviction. The group was called both the "Citizen's Committee" and "The Law and Order League" by its members. However, because their secret meetings were held atop a "bald" mountaintop (in order to keep a lookout for spies), the public began to refer to them as the Bald Knobbers. As their numbers grew into the hundreds, out of a county of only 7,000 people, the original intent began to lose focus. Though initially praised for driving out the notorious outlaws, public sentiment soon turned against them. Although the men initially wore nothing more than a simple kerchief over their lower faces, if any disguise at all, many soon adopted a simple white muslin hood with corners tied off like ears, and cut out eye and mouth holes. This fearsome appearance only inflamed the anti-sentiment, peaking with the formation of the anti-Bald Knobbers. The Bald Knobbers were made up of both Democrats and Republicans. Nat Kinney was a Democrat and had run for office as such, though he had fought for the Union Army. Newer reports say that Kinney was a Republican, however this is false. The anti-Bald Knobbers were also from both sides of the political aisle. When the county courthouse burned down, both rival sides pointed fingers at each other, intensifying the bitterness between the groups. This loosely knit anti-Bald Knobber faction was best represented by the 19-year-old orphan Andy Coggburn. Coggburn hated Kinney, a very persuasive individual with a mysterious past, who had moved into the area with his family two years before the Bald Knobbers came into being. Coggburn took great pleasure in deriding Kinney, pulling pranks and speaking out against the vigilante gang. Kinney and his fellow Bald Knobbers held considerable pull in the county, and in no time Coggburn was shot and killed by Kinney in "self defense" outside the local church of Forsyth, where Kinney had gone to preach that night.