Female Union temperance Society.
by Helen Tilden Wild.
Written by request of the surviving members.
XTRACTS from selectmen's records given on a previous page show the situation in Medford
in the '30's and '40's. Rev. Caleb Stetson
, Rev. Hosea Ballou
, 2d, Deacon Galen James
, James O. Curtis
and others were leaders in the crusade against liquor sellers.
The ‘Washingtonian Movement,’ so called, had between 1840 and 1845 found many supporters all over the country, and a desire to help in the great reform brought into being the ‘Female Union Temperance Society,’ which continued its organization for fifty-two years. Mrs. James
, the first secretary, recorded, ‘Several ladies of Medford
met at a room in the house of Mrs. W. Peake
on Friday eve, Dec. 12, 1845, for the purpose of forming themselves into a society to promote the cause of temperance.
The meeting was called to order by Mrs. C. Stetson
. Mrs. Doctor Fuller
was chosen Moderator.’
The constitution was adopted December 23, 1845.
It defined the objects of the society as follows: 1st, to promote the cause of temperance by procuring lecturers, and by such other methods as may from time to time be adopted.
2d, to encourage those who have abandoned
intemperate habits by affording relief in certain cases to their suffering families.
The members pledged themselves ‘to abstain wholly from intoxicating drinks, to discountenance the use of them in the Community and to purchase nothing whatever at stores or shops where they are known to be sold.’
This pledge was amended in 1851, by introducing ‘except as a medicine’ after the abstinence clause.
The charter list contained the names of one hundred of the best known matrons and young ladies in the town, representing all churches and all walks of life.
The work of charity for ‘reformed inebriates’ was immediately begun, and courses of lectures were carried on during the four succeeding winters, Rev. Mr. Bosworth