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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SONS OF TEMPERANCE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The SONS OF TEMPERANCE, a national semi-secret fraternal society, organized a Cleveland lodge on 27 July 1847; branches existed in the city for nearly 40 years. The centralized order of the Sons of Temperance organized nationally in 1842 in New York, in the wake of the evangelical Washingtonian TEMPERANCE movement. Its members pledged not to "make, buy, sell, nor use as a beverage, any spirituous or malt liquors, wine or cider." With private secret rituals and public meetings, the organization promoted mutual benefit and the improvement of character. The first local lodge, Division No. 275, met weekly over Bingham's hardware store in the post office building, but moved several times. There were 2 lodges in 1848; by 1857, Division No. 275 was the only one in Cleveland, with 150 members. Between Oct. 1866 and Aug. 1867, however, 4 new lodges organized, including the Lincoln Division for AFRICAN AMERICANS (not permitted to join regular lodges), created in July with 41 charter members. WOMEN participated in the local Sons of Temperance by 1859.

In 1852-53 the Sons of Temperance, with the Cleveland Temperance Alliance, tried to legally prohibit the sale of liquor. When such efforts failed, the group apparently turned to measures such as vigilante action against illegal dealers. At their 20th anniversary, the local Sons of Temperance counted 500 members, mostly tradesmen and middle-class professionals. Later, the number of local lodges declined, from 11 in 1874 to 2 in 1884. By 1885 only the Broadway Division remained, meeting in a church at Broadway and Gallup streets; by 1886 it too had disappeared.

Last Modified: 20 Jun 1997 10:28:29 AM

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