1922 - Fight On Rum Was Hot 80 Years Ago
New London, Conn., Was the Center of Liquor Fight Back in 1842.
New London, Conn., April 10. - King Alcohol was vigorously assaulted eighty years ago in this sea port even with more vigor than since the coming in of the Volsteadian Era. His enemies in 1842 fought under the banner of the Washington Total Abstinence Society which kept aloft for many years. But the time came when the banner was trailed in the dust and indifference killed off the attacks.
In those days there were many so-called temperance societies ranging from the Washingtonians who practiced total abstinence to the Rechabites who were compromising in nature, popular with the middle-of-the-road folks who permitted the use, judiciously, of a little beer, cider, wine and other light drinks. Rum, gin and whisky were barred while brandy was only for the use at the sick bed.
In 1843 with a population of 6,000 the Washingtonians had a membership of 2,000. By a crusade the members of open drinking places was reduced from 63 to 21. The small children were enrolled in the 'coldwater army' and the parades were of of great interest. There were temperance revivals in place of worship and public speakers from abroad kept up the enthusiasm.
The Washingtonians believed in moral suasion.
Two newspapers published in those days and found recently told graphically of the crusades. Swan was mighty for reform and had said: 'May the winds of the heaven never fill the sails of any ship bearing rum to New London.' Joseph R. Steward, who was known among his townspeople as The Spud, wanted all the names of grog dealers printed and when the two newspapers would not do this he issued a four sheet paper from time to time under the name of Our Organ and the Spud, and he had to go to Norwich to get it printed.
The records show that while the fight against King Alcohol waged in 1842 and 1843 with parades, some of which were a mile long with military escorts, the Washingtonians as the remnant of the liquor fighting host, expired in 1845.
Jackson Citizen Patriot
April 10, 1922
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