Election Day is closing in, and Issue 13 has proponents and opponents alike expressing their positions in ways both time-honored (yard signs, letters to the editor) and “new tech” (social media).
Political passion is certainly nothing new in Yellow Springs, and one of the most inflammatory issues was temperance in the late 19th century.
The following newspaper article from the 1874 Yellow Springs Ledger recounts different tactics of persuasion used in pursuit of the goal of achieving the defeat of alcoholic use. Although singing, praying and marching are not surprising methods, asking saloon-keepers to sign a pledge against alcohol was somewhat startling. (A pamphlet appealing to “Yellow Springs Manhood” can be found here, and another look at the issue shows up in Harold Igo’s ghost stories.)
The article contains numerous spelling and grammar errors (perhaps due to the zeal of the author for the cause?) which have not been corrected.
The Campaign At Yellow Springs
Organizing for the CHARGE;
The Campaign at Mylon’s, He holds out still:
100 Women in line move on FROGTOWN:
The womans temperance movement which was inaugurated here on the evening of the 23d ult. incrases in interest. Since then meetings have been held by the women every afternoon and with the exception of one or two evenings for mutual consideration and prayer have been held alternately in the different churches of the place. The feeling is very deep and earnest. The force of women now at work is somewhat less than one hundred, and we feel assured that if necessary this force can be materially increased. No woman takes it to heart that the charge of cowardice has been made against the League; they well know [damage] past history that public sentiment frequently [damage] matters before the season of full fraction They have not been idle. They have been and are still at work as faithfully as they know how.
On the day of organization a committee was appointed to prepare four different pledges one for the signature of the druggist, one for the physicians, one for the saloon keepers and one for the citizens.
The next day these pledges were accepted by the mesting and a committee of three waited on the druggist and obtained their signatures. Another committee obtained the signatures of all the physicians. The sloon-keepers refused to sign their pledge. The town was divided into seven districts and two laidies appointed to canvass each district with the citizens pledge and obtain all the signature possible, their success has been gratifying.
It was not until yesterday that the women felt they were ready for thei work on the street. They were not waiting to ascertain the sentiments of their friends outside before they started forth but each one wanted to feel satisfied for herself that she had the requisite amount of faith for the work. They have put their hands to the plow and will not look back.
They go forth in faith believing that there is one higher than man to aid them and in that faith will never surrender until success crowns their efforts. The first effor was at the liquor-shop of Wm. Moylan. The door was kept shut and the usual observances of prayer and singing were gone torough with. At the saloon of Larry Cohoe in Frogtown, the reception was more cordial, the ladies were invited in and prayed and sang until almost dark.
In the evening another mass Meeting was held in the M. E. Church at which the expence ho the ladies, engaged in the work with the saloon keepers was reported. Rev, Cvrum,l Gaddis, Rodgers, Weston and others gave short addresses. It was resolved by the meeting to sustain the women, by every means needful to the successful completion of the work.