Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Temperance in Waynesville

Temperance demonstration in Waynesville
Temperance demonstration in Corwin, Ohio
(in front of the Panhandle Hotel)
Photographs in collection in
The Mary L. Cook Public Library

Waynesville was a potential source of Temperance work with all its churches working in accord to defeat the evils of alcohol. The cause was especially strong among the large Hicksite and Orthodox Quaker and Methodist populations of the Waynesville area.

Below is an article published in the Richmond Telegraph (Richmond, Indiana), January 30th, 1874:

THE WOMEN'S WAR ON THE DRINKING SALOONS ~ Corwin, Ohio ~ In common with thousands of others I have read with a lively interest accounts of hte Women's temperance movement in southern Ohio. The good work has extended to this (Warren) county, and during the past week a band of good temperance men and women in this place and Waynesville (just across the river) respresenting all the differnt religious demominations, with many outside of such organiztions, have entered into a league for the suppression of the unholy traffic in this vicinity. Being detained here a few hours waiting for a conveyance to Harveysburg, I have had an opportunity of seeing the manner in which the work is carried on. Wayensvile has a number of saloons, but the "chief sininer" is one Thomas Franey, at his place. Franey is a stout, red-faced Irishman, about 50 years old. He has been keeping a grocery, livery-stable and saloon here for years, has grown rich and portly and looks as though some of these fine mornings he might furnish a subject for a coroner's Inquest. He is genial and polite, and appears to be well qualified to make a good living in some more honorable calling.

About half-past 8 A. M., the church bells of Waynesville were heard, which was understood to be a signal for a gathering of the league. When convened, the first hour is spent in devotional exercises, reports of the success up to date, and a discussion as to the best plans for the day's work, in which men and women all participated. at the close of the hour for such services, the women repair to vehicles in waiting, driven by th gentlemen present, and then the visiting begins.

About half-past 10 the coming procession was announced, and wishing to have a good view of the proceedings, I stepped across to Franey's in avance of the ladies , and before they arrived I had an opportunity of inspecting the premises. He has been built an addition to the his store-room just back of the saloon part, about twenty feet square. This room is nicely plasterd and warmed by a coal grate, in which was buring a bright, cheerful fire. Chairs were placed all around with a view to seat every lady. In a moment the procession filed in; Franney stood at or near the door, meeting the ladies with a smile and a shake of the hand. They formed and passsed back to the room which has been described. After all had passed in Franney saw that they were comfortably seated, then stepped back, leaning against a whisky cask, motioned to the boys to keep still; and awaited the denouement.

A few moments of silence, then two verses of a hymn were sung and all kneeled in prayer, while one addressed, in feeling language, the throne of grace. Then another prayer and another hymn and then the meeting adjourned. In the meantime, however, Jane Jones, who was one of the party, had called Franey to the door, where she implored him in the most earnest manner to close out his saloon and sign the pledge, but he only have a polite ear to her entreaties and declined to comply with her request. As the ladies passed out he bid them good-bye in the same kindly manner as he had recieved them, asked if all had a way of riding back to town, and finding that some had not, had a buss brought out and sent them off in good style. Over in town I learned that they were not treated so well. At one saloon they are not admitted at all, but are compelled to occupty the side walk. At another the (Hammell House) the proprietor who, I am sorry to say is a renegade Methodist preacher, curses and swears and declares that he doesn't sell whisky at all, that he simpy keeps it where his guests can get if whenever they want it, charging them fifty cents per day each for extras. Unless he sells better whisky than most saloons are said to keep now-a-days, one would find it a difficult job to get the worth of his money.

The question is askded what class of citizens take part in this movement? For Waynesville and vicinity I am prepared to answer: The best men and women to be found. A large number I know personally, and inquiry elicited the fact that others were of the highest respectablity. Many are well known Friends (Orthodox and Hicksite) while, as I said before, every other denomination is fully represented, all evincing a determination to hold out, as one lady replied to my inquiry on this point, "until the day of judgment, or until every saloon is closed." Amen! I say; and then let every one of these women vote . . .

The article continues talking about the difficulty of enforcing the prohibition laws of Ohio.

Thanks to Tom Ham of Earlham College for the article from the Richmond Telegraph.


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