The Temperance Question, Silver Pickle Casters and Scapegraces–January, 1888

Of course, there was no Martin Luther King Day back in 1888, mainly because he didn’t exist yet. And civil or equal rights weren’t a thing that newspapers really talked much about (not that I’ve seen yet, anyway).

But a social issue that was most definitely a “thing” was alcohol “temperance”. Some historical definitions draw a line between temperance and straight out prohibition (with the former calling for what we would now call responsible drinking and the latter calling for the abolish of alcohol), but when I read about “temperance”, I tend to find the author leaning towards an out-and-out ban.

To be fair, there were few or no safety nets for people negatively affected by alcohol. Your husband drinks up his wages and you are left to starve? Too bad, so sad for you. Your husband uses alcohol as his excuse to beat the crap out of you? Your lot in life. You are an alcoholic and would like to stop drinking? Good luck, kid!

There is a very long and, in my opinion, somewhat rambling editorial on the issue. Their ultimate thought was that the “local control” option would win the day. If prohibition went into effect, it would last until a change could be effected (three years). This issue would not go quietly…it is in many articles I have read.

Other highlights from the editorial section:

  • “Mrs. F” writes against war, saying that she lost four brothers in the Civil War. Her most chilling words though are these: “I am alone and cannot vote”. As much as I love to wax nostalgic about our past, and think about all of those fine pioneers, it does me well to remind myself that if I had lived then I could not have voted. That is terrifying.
  • Prof. J. Bengel, a much loved teacher, passed away suddenly.
  • William Frank has been making some changes at the Germania Hotel, including the addition of rooms.
  • The city band (Otto’s?) had a masquerade and made $110! They gave away some cool prizes, including a gold headed cane for the men and a silver pickle caster for the ladies.
  • Young “scapegraces” have been hanging around the post office, making it an inconvenience for everyone, especially the ladies. The Courier wanted a police officer stationed outside the post office to stop this disgrace to the city. As an aside, no boy should be allowed inside the building to sell papers.
  • Last Wednesday, a group commenced a 9 mile sleigh ride and were out until the “we sma’ hours”. This led to some sleepy school children the next day!
  • A.L. Noble has an “ad” in the paper. Seeing that made me think of this blog.
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