Why So Many Pen Names?

George R. Clements valued his privacy, but beyond that, I’ve wondered why he wrote under so many different pen names. He was known more commonly as Hilton Hotema, but he also wrote under the names Kenyon Klamonti and Dr. Karl Kridler.

One of his family members said that the Post Office in Sebring, FL had begun to refuse to send out his newsletters, so he started writing under a pen name. And once they refused to send out newsletters written by that name he moved on to another pen name. So it was the censorship imposed by the U.S. Post Office that required him to take on new identities to continue to spread his message.

The name “Hilton Hotema” is a rather unusual name, but looking back through George Clements’ history we found that he might have combined two names of men he knew and respected earlier in life.

Boyd Hilton

Boyd Hilton was a Choctaw Indian pictured in Hilton Hotema’s book “How I Lived to Be Ninety.” Naturally, we suspect he used his last name for the first name of his pen name.

Bailey Spring, James Usray, and Rev. Solomon Hotema

Bailey Spring, James Usray, and Rev. Solomon Hotema

Rev. Solomon E. Hotema

We also came across the name of a Choctaw Indian named Rev. Solomon E. Hotema (“Tissy”) who was frequently mentioned in early Choctaw Nation history, as he was a representative and senator, and also a good friend of principal Chief Wilson. He was highly educated and a very prominent Choctaw leader amongst his people.

Unfortunately, his story is not a happy one… On April 14, 1899 he was convicted for murdering three of his neighbors that he claimed where witches and caused his children to die. During this period, several people in the community died from unexplained ailments, probably yellow fever or dypyheria, or any number of other diseases being passed around at the time. However, when Solomon Hotema’s young daughter died he started looking around for an explanation, and in his grief he convinced himself that “witchcraft” was the cause.

Under the influence of alcohol, he killed an old lady who everyone in the area believed was a witch, and in the process injured two children. Then he killed two other people, a man and a woman each at different locations. He was acquitted for killing the old lady (witch) on an “insanity” defense; however, he was convicted on the other counts of murder.

Samuel Webster, grandson of Solomon Hotema, and Judge Thomas Chauncey Humphrey with the gun Solomon Hotema used to kill three people.

Samuel Webster, grandson of Solomon Hotema, and Judge Thomas Chauncey Humphrey with the gun Solomon Hotema used to kill three people.

Even though he confessed, he was tried three times using a plea of insanity, with the last going to the U.S. Supreme Court where the conviction was affirmed and he was scheduled to be executed. However, President Teddy Roosevelt commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Solomon Hotema died around 1907 in a prison in Atlanta, Georgia.






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