Ann Arbor Argus, January 27, 1888

The regulation of alcohol was the topic of this week; specifically, a proposed law to allow prohibition of the sale or manufacture of intoxicating liquors in our county. An owner of a brewery asked a judge to file an injunction prohibiting the Washtenaw County Clerk from holding the election where voters would approve the law or not. By his own admission, passage of law would cause him financial ruin. Beyond that, he alleged that the petitions filed by the county clerk was composed of separate and detached petitions and some of the signors affixed only their initials and not their full signatures.

Judge Knowles denied the injunction for several reasons. The judge opined that the court could not proceed with too much caution as granting such an injunction must only be reserved for the cases where most serious and irreparable harm will be suffered. The matter of the signatures would not be considered because the clerk was vested with the power to verify them and the court could not review his actions. Besides the injunction, the complainant wanted the judge to decide the constitutionality of this law and he would not do that unless the matter was “free from doubt”, which he felt it was not. While the law may be oppressive and unpopular, an unwise calamity, that was not enough reason to find it unconstitutional. Essentially, the judge denies everything because he doesn’t want to undertake a political action of the executive branch…something he does not believe that the judicial branch has the right to do.

In other words, our brewer friend lost this round. Interestingly, alcohol was not the only “vice” to be targeted this week as elsewhere the Argus reported that the Ypsilantian commenced a “crusade against the cigarette”. In other news:

  • The new course of study at Chelsea’s Union School was not including any sort of study of music which, in the eyes of a great many patrons, is a great mistake
  • Prof. Swift’s lecture on Teloscopic Wonders was sparsely attended whereas a “nonsensical one horse show” in “this place” tends to be better attended (a little snark from our friends in 1888!)
  • A Leap Party was held at Hangsterfer’s Hall. This is not the first mention of Leap Parties that I have seen and this leads me to believe that Leap Year was a bigger deal then than it is now
  • High schoolers are going to take a sleigh ride out to Ypsilanti where they will have a “royal time”
  • There will be a minstrel show at the opera house next Wednesday. Comedians will be in cork and the rest will be in white face. This is really confusing to me…weren’t minstrel shows super offensive to black people with white folks wearing blackface? Was this something else?
  • Nellie, the little daughter of Thomas and Kay died at age three years, five days (it doesn’t say what she died of but other listings mention scarlet fever quite a bit)
  • Mrs. Levi Wines and Miss Jennie Wines were injured quite badly when in a sledding accident as the sledded down State Street hill. It has honestly never occurred to me that you could sled down the streets but I guess you could before cars! I hope they were okay!
  • The Misses Millers, of Packard Street, were surprised by a group of friends on Friday evening
  • The Washtenaw Pomological Society will meet February 4th to discuss fruit exchanges
  • James Brown is languishing in jail for being drunk on the street (the way this is written so familiarly makes me think that Jimmy B was in jail quite often)
  • The Opera House is a hoppin place, showing Memoirs of the Devil and My Aunt Brigett
  • Mr. A. R. Schmidt would like to remind us that there is a “vast difference” between Schmidt and Smith and HE was not the one who signed for the law to allow prohibition of alcohol
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