the young and popular minister of the Baptist Church, delivering the first one, January 3, 1846.
The ‘Mystic Vocalists’ furnished music.
At the April meeting, 1846, after a lecture, a moderator was chosen, and several gentlemen ‘spoke upon the subject of approbating a certain individual in town to sell rum, which had been done by the Selectmen
In the same month a mass meeting was held, and the following resolution adopted.
‘That inasmuch as the traffic in intoxicating liquors is the direct cause of a large proportion of the poverty, crime and wretchedness in the community, it is the duty of every good
citizen to endeavor to suppress it by the use of every lawful means.’
The Fourth of July, 1846, was celebrated by an oration by Rev. Thomas Starr King
in the Unitarian Church, followed by a procession, headed by the Medford Band
, which marched to a grove on Forest street, belonging to Mr. N. H. Bishop
, where a public dinner and post prandial speeches were enjoyed.
The society would accept aid only from total abstainers, reasoning, ‘How can it be right for them to give their money to suppress what they countenance and support by their practice?
If it is wrong for them to do this it must be wrong for us to become their Agents.’
Decrease in membership, disappointment that many ‘returned to their cups’ after receiving aid, and the waning of popular enthusiasm, threatened the life of the society in 1854.
The annual report for that year stated that $153 had been given ‘for the suppression of the sale of intoxicating drinks, and if we have failed it is not our fault. . . . Let us hope for a law to do what we cannot do.’
The society revived with a moderate membership and held its own, encouraging temperance work and organizations, doing general charity and patriotic work until one by one the members were called to ‘Come up higher.’
Mrs. James O. Curtis
continued her work, generally