The liquor traffic has always been a source of revenue to the county. In fact this has been the chief argument for maintaining the traffic from the fifth day of May, 1828 to the present.
The first meeting of the board of county commissioners of Hancock county was held on April 7, 1828, and the first liquor license was granted on May 5, 1828. In that early day the applicant for a license to sell liquor had to present to the board of commissioners a recommendation signed by twelve freeholders of the county. When this had been done, and the fee paid, the license was issued in a very simple form:
"On the application of James Parker for a license to retail spirituous liquor and foreign groceries at his house in the county of Hancock, Indiana-by a recommendation of twelve of his fellow citizens of the same township (freeholders); therefore it is ordered by the Board that the said James Parker be licensed for and during the term of one year from this date, and that he now produces the receipt from under the hand of the Treasurer of said County of his having paid Five Dollars as a tax on said license."
Another entry was made in about the same form relative to the application of Joseph Chapman:
"On application of Joseph Chapman for a license to retail spirituous and strong liquors, foreign and domestic groceries at his grocery in the town of Greenfield and in the County of Hancock, Indiana. Therefore it is ordered by the Board that the said Joseph Chapman be licensed as such for and during the term of one year from the date of said license-And the said Joseph Chapman here now produces a certificate from under the hands of twelve free holders of said township of Brandywine-and that he paid the sum of five dollars as a tax to the County Treasurer."
Liquor at that time was commonly sold in the groceries. It is interesting now to observe the distribution of groceries that were licensed previous to 1840, that also retail liquor "by the small." Following is the list;
James Parker, -1828, Greenfield
Joseph Chapman- 1829, Greenfield
Amos Dickerson-1831, Sugar Creek
Morris Pierson-1831, Greenfield
Barzilla Rozell-1837, Brown township
Taylor Willett-1838, Charlottesville
Asa Gooding-1838, Greenfield
Jacob Schramm-1838, Sugar Creek
Peter F. Newland-1838, Charlottesville
Lewis & Slifer-1838, Hancock county
Joshua Stone-1838, Greenfield
John Delaney-1838, Sugar Creek
John Dye-1839, Sugar Creek
Solomon Hull-1839, Hancock county
Asa Cooper-1839, Hancock county
Gavis Richardson-1839, Hancock county
William Garrison-1839, Hancock county
William Bentley-1839, Hancock county
William Griffin-1839, Greenfield
John Martin- 1839, Hancock county
Laymon & Graft- 1840, Hancock county
John Wilkinson-1840, Greenfield
Hart & Burk-1840, Greenfield
Among the old papers in the clerkÕs office may still be found itemized claims filed against decedentÕs estates. Now and then a grocerÕs claim may be found showing the liquor items on the same bill with "foreign and domestic groceries." These claims are illuminating with reference to the customs of the times.
While the grocers were retailing liquors as indicated above, the taverns were also engaged in the same business. Of the twenty taverns licensed in this county before 1841, all but six retailed liquor "by the small." When the distribution of the taverns over the county is observed in connection with the distribution of the groceries that retailed liquor, and when it is remembered that whisky could be bought for ten cents per quart, one begins to appreciate the ease with which it could be procured in those days.
Conditions as described above prevailed pretty generally in the county until within a decade of the Civil War. There is no record of the combined opposition of the people to the sale of intoxicating liquors during the early years. Persons could be punished, of course, for selling liquor illegally, and the grand juries did frequently return indictments for such violations of the law. In the report of the grand jury, made on February 17, 1849, for instance, ten indictments were returned against persons for "selling and giving liquor to a drunken man." Eight indictments were also returned against person for "selling liquor without a license." Other indictments were returned at other times. It is interesting to observe, too, in a copy of the Greenfield Reveille, published in April, 1845, that a large part of one column was given to an argument against the liquor traffic. The article was prepared by G. N. Voss, an attorney of the local bar, and much of his argument was addressed to the "moderate drinker."
In the early fifties the county was pretty thoroughly organized by a secret order known as the Sons of Temperance. The purpose of the order is explained in its name. Lodges were instituted in all parts of the county, and young men were solicited to sign the pledge. No records of the organization remain in existence, but the older people tell us that a great deal of temperance enthusiasm was aroused by the order.
On March 5, 1859, however, an "Act relating to the sale of Spirituous, Vinous, and Malt Liquors" was approved, which required special notice of the intention to apply for a license to sell, etc. Provision was also made for remonstrating, and it may fairly be said the right here was the
At the June session of the board, in 1859, John Hudson made application for a license to retail liquor in the town of Walpole (Fortville), but the board refused to grant the application because of the insufficiency of his notice. Several other applicants had the same difficulty during the next year or two. At the September term, 1859, the applicant was successful. Licenses were also granted under the new law to Andrew Hagan at Walpole, and John Carmichael and Frederick Hammel at Greenfield.
Joseph Gustin, by his attorney, Thomas D. Walpole, also applied for a license at the September term, 1859, to retail liquor, whereupon Joseph R. Atkinson presented a remonstrance against granting said license, signed by himself and ninety-seven others. He also presented objections in writing, all of which were considered by the board, who thereupon refused to grant the license. Gustin then by his attorney, David Vanlaningham, moved the board for a new hearing, but this motion the board overruled.
The remonstrance of Joseph B. Atkison and others, mentioned above, was the first of a long series of remonstrances that have been filed before the board of commissioners under the different laws that have been enacted since that time. On September 3, 18690, Robert D. Cooper, by his attorney, David Vanlaningham, applied for a license to retail intoxicating liquors. On September 4, 1860, Reuben A. Riley presented a remonstrance signed by himself and ninety-nine others against the granting of a license to the applicant. The applicant moved the rejection of the remonstrance, which motion the board overruled. The application was withdrawn on September 5.
On September 6, 1806, W. W. Pierson applied for a retail liquor license, which the board refused, on the ground of the insufficiency of the description of the premises in which the liquor was to be sold.
At the March session of the board, in 1861, John Carmichael again made application for a license to retail spirituous liquor. Joseph B. Atkison first moved the board to dismiss the application because of the insufficiency of the notice, but this motion was overruled by the board. He therefore filed a remonstrance signed by himself and one hundred and twenty-six others against the granting of such license to said applicant. The cause was set down for hearing, after which,
"The board being sufficiently advised in the premises, finds that said applicant is not of good character and is not fit to be intrusted with a license to retail spirituous liquor.
"It is therefore considered by the board that said application be denied, and that a license to retail spirituous liquor by said John Carmichael be refused.
"And thereupon said John Carmichael tendered fifty dollars and a bond, and demanded a license, all of which was rejected by the board.
At the June term, in 1861, Jonathan Dunbar applied for a license. He introduced oral testimony in proof of the publication of his notice, and also as to the fitness to be instructed with a license. Joseph B. Atkison again came forward with a remonstrance signed by himself and one hundred and fifty-five others against granting a license to the applicant, whereupon Dunbar withdrew his application.
When the remonstrance against Dunbar was filed, the Hancock Democrat published the list of names that appeared upon it. Some of the names were omitted from the list, at which the signers were aggrieved. In explaining the matter a week later, the Democrat stated:
"It so happened that the remonstrance had been signed in parts and that not all parts had been collected and filed, and therefore were not published in the paper. This caused a complaint from citizens whose names did not appear, because they were eager to have their due portion of credit for having opposed the application. The people were represented before the board of commissioners by Joseph B. Atkison and William R. Hough."
It is not the intention to give a detailed statement of the contest that has arisen on every application that has been filed before the board of commissioners for a license to sell spirituous and intoxicating liquors. The foregoing instances have been detailed merely to show the temper of the people and the earnestness with which they undertook a campaign for cleaner living and purer homes. It is interesting to observe in this connection the following editorial from the issue of the Hancock Democrat of March 27, 1861:
"It is perhaps not generally known that this place is without a licensed grocery and has been for the last six months. Several efforts have been made in vain to obtain a license. The citizens seem to be determined to wipe away the stigma of reproach brought on our town by the whisky leaders who care more for the base use and advantages acquired through its instrumentality than for the fame and good order of society. The public sentiment of the town is so well known that no man who respects the will of its citizens or regards his own character will be apt to offend the public by petitioning for a license to sell spirituous liquors in Greenfield. Should such an attempt hereafter be made the character and fitness of the applicant will be well ventilated if we can correctly judge public sentiment.
"Whilst we are on the this subject, we can further say, that there is but one licensed grocery in Hancock county. Who can hereafter say that Hancock is a whisky county?"
The "one licensed grocery" referred to above was operated by Andrew Hagan at Fortville. At least the record of the board of commissioners shows no other license at this time. Hagan, as stated above, was licensed at the September term, 1859, and annually thereafter until September, 1864, when a remonstrance was filed, and his application withdrawn.
That the zeal of the people did not abate at the close of these two years is indicated by the following tabulated statement, showing the names of the applicants, the dates of the application, and the disposition made of the applications by the board of county commissioners:
Andrew Hagan- September, 1862. Granted.
John Carmichael-September, 1862. Remonstrance and appeal.
Andrew Hagan- September, 1863. Granted.
Loring W. Gapen- March, 1864. Denied.
Andrew Hagan- September, 1864. Remonstrance; application withdrawn.
Loring W. Gapen- December, 1865. Remonstrance; application withdrawn.
William G. Ritchie-December, 1865. Remonstrance; granted.
Nicholas Klock-December, 1865. Remonstrance; application withdrawn.
Robert H. Offutt-March, 1866. Remonstrance; application dismissed.
John Walsh- June, 1866. Remonstrance; application dismissed.
Jacob Stoehr-September, 1866. Granted; remonstrators appeal.
Nicholas Klock- December, 1866. Remonstrance; appeal defeated.
William G. Ritchie-June, 1866. Granted; remonstrators appeal.
John C. Rardin-December, 1866. Granted; remonstrators appeal.
When the application of Andrew Hagan was withdrawn in 1864, the county was without a licensed saloon until in December, 1865. At that time a license was granted to William G. Richie at Greenfield. It is interesting to observe, too, that a few months after the county had been at least legally "dry," the following editorial was published with evident pride in the Hancock Democrat:
"Let all the world know that in this county there is not a licensed liquor shop, nor has there been such for months past. The whisky power in this county fought long and hard for political ascendancy under an able and unscrupulous leadership, but all in vain. The good people, irrespective of party, can now congratulate each other that the name of Hancock county is no longer to be identified in the public mind with drunkenness and intemperance."
After the withdrawal of his application, in 1865, Loring W. Gapen did not apply for a liquor license until September, 1870. During these intervening years he must have been engaged in selling "soft drinks," and in view of the comfort and satisfaction that so many people have derived from drinking sodas, the following item taken from the issue of the Hancock Democrat of July 4, 1867, is probably worthy of a place in the temperance chapter of the countyÕs history:
"Soda Water,-L. W. Gapen, not satisfied with feasting the inner man with his cream, has procured a soda fount, after the latest cut, and is daily dispensing this delightful and healthy beverage to delighted crowds. Our 'devilÕ says it is the most elevating effervescent he has yet become acquainted with in his peregrinations."
Joseph B. Atkison or Reuben A. Riley usually represented the remonstrators in the legal battles before the board of commissioners in the campaigns that were waged during the years indicated above. William R. Hough frequently appeared for them, also.
Beginning with March, 1868, there was a cessation in the remonstrance activity which continued for almost two years. The Good Templars made their appearance and a number of lodges were organized in the county. Men and women joined the order and signed the pledge to abstain from the use of intoxicating liquor. Remonstrances were filed against the applications of Nicholas Klock, of New Palestine, in June and September, respectively, 1868. From March, 1868, until September, 1869, twelve applications were granted without opposition. In September and December, 1869, remonstrances were filed against three applications, but with these exceptions, no objection was offered until March, 1872. In the meantime the liquor traffic flourished. During 1871 and up to and including March, 1872, ten licenses were granted. Six more were granted during the remaining months of 1872.. But a wave of opposition was sweeping over the county, and beginning with the March term, 1872, remonstrances were filed and eight applications were denied.
The crusade against the liquor traffic was now becoming more general. Organizations began to arise in different parts of the county and an effort was made in all quarters to oppose the evil. On Tuesday afternoon, March 3, 1874, a meeting was held at the Methodist Episcopal church, on the corner just southwest of the court house, for the purpose of organizing a "Temperance Alliance" among the ladies. A number of men were also present and addresses were made by Captain Paullus, Major Branham, Rev. Logan and Rev. Hagans. The proposed constitution of the Alliance was read, which amounted to a pledge that all persons signing the same would abstain from the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage. It was then given to the audience for signatures and about fifty people signed it. The following persons were elected as officer of the Alliance: President, Mrs. Captain Paullus; vice-president, Mrs. A. P. Williams; treasurer, Mrs. H. B. Thayer; secretary, Mrs. Joseph Bartlow.
A mass meeting was also determined upon to be held at the Methodist Episcopal church, on Sunday evening, March 8, 1874. There was a large attendance at this meeting. The Rev. Mr. Logan made an eloquent address, and was followed by a number of the business men of Greenfield, among whom were: W. S. Wood, Captain Ogg, Charles G. Offutt, A. W. Hough, Dr. Hall, Dr. Barnett, Ephraim Marsh.
The constitution of the Alliance was again presented and a number of people affixed their signatures thereto. Another pledge had also been prepared for attorneys alone, in which they were to agree not to take employment in defense of a man charged with a violation of the liquor law. James A. New and A. W. Hough, it seems, signed this pledge, but the other attorneys were unwilling to do so. Ephraim Marsh said in the meeting that he would not sign it under any circumstances. Charles G. Offutt also refused to sign the pledge and spoke at length upon the unfairness of presenting such a pledge to attorneys. A few remarks from the address of Mr. Offutt, in which he seemed to voice the sentiments of the attorneys, will indicated their attitude on the matter. He took the position that because a man was charged with a violation of law, it did not necessarily follow that he was guilty, and then proceeded:
"Again, can it be said that because an attorney engages in the defense of a man charged with a violation of the liquor law, that the attorney is in favor of intemperance? I think not. As well might you say that because an attorney defends a man charged with larceny of a horse, that he is , therefore, in favor of horse stealing. Just as well say, sir, that if a man engages in the defense of a murderer that he is in favor of taking human life. It is not the duty of an attorney to make a defense for a man charged with a crime by suborning witnesses, misleading a court or jury as to the facts or the law of the case; but it is his duty to protect the interests of his client by all fair and honorable means and to the best of his ability." Mr. Offutt spoke a length upon this phase of the question and was heartily applauded when he close.
On Saturday evening, March 7, 1874, a mass meeting was held at the Christian church, at which George Barnett presided. A number of the business men spoke, including William R. Hough, James A. New. Drs. Thoms, Howard and Barnett. William Mitchell,, John H. Binford, Captain Riley and others. On Monday, March 9, 1874, the ladies of Greenfield held another meeting at the Methodist Episcopal church for the purpose of appointing committees to visit the liquor dealers to see what they proposed to do. These committees were appointed and Tuesday afternoon, following, Mrs. Havens, Mrs. Bradley, Mrs. A. P. Williams, Mrs. Q. D. Hughes, Mrs. F. J. Crawford, Mrs. Kight, Mrs. Gant and others visited the saloon of Mr. Mc Carty. He informed them, as reported in the issue of March 12, 1874, of the Hancock Democrat, "that it was his intention to quit the business and that as soon as his government license expired, he would engage in other pursuits."
The same committee also visited William G. Richie at the "Elephant Saloon." On making their business known, Mr. Richie informed the committee, as reported in the same issue of the Democrat, "that he was not ready to sign any papers; that he would take the matter under advisement, and that when he came to the conclusion to sign their paper and quit his business he would inform them. In the meantime he proposed to prosecute his business as heretofore, strictly in conformity to the laws of the land, and that he had deliberately made up his mind that those who had signed their pledge must go elsewhere for their liquor, unless it was strictly for medicinal or mechanical purposes. He desired a list of the names that he might aid the cause of temperance at least to this extent. He said that if the ladies would visit the poor of the town and see what the children needed in the way of clothing, etc., to enable them to attend the common schools, the Sabbath school and the church, he was ready and willing to do his full share in this good work." He informed the reporter that he would treat all ladies with the utmost kindness and consideration, and that he would expect similar treatment in return.
On March 11 a committee composed of Mrs. Foley, Mrs. Paullus and Mrs. Brown visited the saloon of John Walsh. As reported in the same issue of the Democrat, he informed them "that he was ready and willing to quit so soon as he could rent his room, and until he did so it was his intention to sell intoxicating liquor in accordance with the existing laws of the state, at least until his present stock was exhausted. If he could not rent his room he might renew his stock, but in no case would he sell liquor in violation of the law. Mr. Walsh informed the ladies that he was strictly a temperance man, and did not have much faith in liquor for medical purposes. He had made up his mind to live as long as he could without the use of liquor for any purpose, and that he was ready to die when he could not live without it. So far as he was concerned he intended to live and die without the use of liquor in any form. John paid profound attention to the ladies and treated them with his accustomed kindness. He says that he will continue to do so; that when he tires of their presence he will go away, and that he will in no case offer them any insult."
The ladies continued to visit the different saloons from day to day, and in the issue of the Hancock Democrat of March 19, 1874, further results were reported as follows:
"They visited the saloons several times, which resulted in an agreement with Messrs. McCarty and Walsh. Mr. McCarty is to quit the business of liquor selling on or before the first day of March, and to close the house at nine P.M. until then. Mr. Walsh had rented his room and will give possession in three weeks. Mr. Richie had made no definite promise, beyond saying that he would take the matter under advisement until the expiration of his present government license."
It is only natural that so much agitation should cause a great deal of gossip, much of which found its way into public print. In this connection the following letter of W. G. Richie was published in the Democrat on March 19, 1874:
"To the Editor of the Hancock Democrat:
A communication in the Indianapolis Sentinel of this date, from Greenfield, calls for a few words from me. It says that the 'prayer testÕ has not been tried on me, and that the writer thereof is uncertain what effect it would have. The writer further says that if this faith, he thinks 'a small application of the Baxter law would have the desired effect.Õ In reply, I desire to say that I have treated the ladies with kindness, and expect to do so as long as they obey the law. I am engaged in selling liquor under the laws of the United States and of the state of Indiana, and as long as I obey the law I shall expect all who visit my house to do the same. As to the Baxter law, I have no fears of any of its provisions, and when I fail to obey this or any other laws of the state, I Hope A. K. B. or any others will wax it to me.
Mass meetings were continued, in which Mrs. M. L. Paullus, Mrs. J. P. Foley, Mrs. Inez Lyons and others took an active part. William R. Hough, John H. Binford, R. A. Riley, and other business men mentioned above, were frequently at these meetings and assisted the ladies in their campaign.
The ladies also continued to visit the saloons. In fact, they took their knitting and stayed all day. The following paragraphs taken from the issue of the Democrat of April 16, 1874, will indicated the method pursued:
"Our crusaders are still on the war path, but they have somewhat changed their tactics. On Tuesday morning they commenced the business of 'sittingÕ with Mr. Richie, at his Temple of Bacchus. They commence at seven A.M. and retire at nine P.M., each couple being relieved every two hours. Billy and the ladies appear to get along very well, and there is no visible aspect in the change of affairs. They paid a vist to Dr. Hall the other day, at his drug store, but seemed to decide that it was only necessary to make a 'short sitting.Õ
"All things considered, we cannot see that the situation has much improved from the beginning, except that a few have been weaned from their cups."
The intensity of the campaign that was waged in the spring of 1874 could not be maintained for a very long time. Activity in the temperance cause, however, did not cease. During the next year or two the columns of the local newspapers published notices of meetings held at churches and school houses in all parts of the county. The WomanÕs Christian Temperance Union was also more or less active in the county. The year 1877 is notable in the history of the temperance movement of the county for ushering in the
The first of these was known as the Red Ribbon Society. It did not gather as much strength in the county as did the Blue Ribbon societies two years later. Its center of greatest strength was in and about McCordsville and Fortville. A Red Ribbon Society was organized at McCordsville on June 7, 1877, with a membership of sixty or more. Professor Motsinger, principal of the McCordsville schools was at the head of the society. The organization was very active among the young people and in a few months secured a large number of members. On June 10, 1877, three wagonloads of members of the society went to Fortville to assist in the organization of a Red Ribbon Society there. Over a hundred members signed the pledge at Fortville on that evening. These societies were known as the Red Ribbon societies because of the small red ribbons that were worn by persons who had signed the pledges. Anti-profanity and anti-tobacco pledges were also signed by many members of the society.
In 1879 one D. B. Ross, a temperance lecturer, came into the county and led a series of meetings at different points. Great interest was manifested by the people in temperance reform, and now Blue Ribbon societies were organized in every quarter. Below are a few clippings from the Hancock Democrat from different points:
"We are glad to hear the wave has struck these parts. Last Saturday evening they held their first meeting without any regular speakers and twenty-six signed the pledge. On Sunday evening George W. Duncan and John Binford addressed a large audience and about thirty-four called for the blue ribbon. As some of them have been lingering too long at the cup, it is to be hoped that they will keep their promises and will lead a sober and useful life."
On March 25, 1879, the Fortville correspondent included the following item:
"Fisher, our saloon man, started a counter movement by tying ribbons on all dogs he could catch-but it only makes friends to the temperance cause. It was a dirty piece of business, intended as a slur on the Blue Ribbon, but was only a fair sample of the character of the men who deal in the vile stuff, " etc., etc., etc.
Ross began a series of meetings at the Christian church at Fortville in March, 1879, and met with great success. On April 2, 1879, five hundred and fifty-six names were on the roll of the Blue Ribbon societies in that locality. Everywhere in the county societies were organized, pledges were signed, and blue ribbons were worn, A "Blue Ribbon Column" was also edited by the societies in the Hancock Democrat during the spring of 1879.
In March, 1879, the temperance forces at Greenfield organized the Greenfield Temperance Association, an incorporation under the laws of the state of Indiana. Its articles of incorporation may be found in Miscellaneous Record, No. 2, page 496, in the office of the county recorder of Hancock county. The objects, as stated in the articles of incorporation, were:
"First, the promotion of the cause of temperance wherever such work can be done.
"Second, the reformation of inebriates and of all persons addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage, and for the union and association of all persons interested in the cause of temperance for mutual labor and counsel.
"Third, to render aid and assistance to reform inebriates under such rules and regulations and in such manner as the board of directors may determine and from time to time establish.
"Fourth, to establish headquarters and reading rooms and to provide, in the discretion of the board of directors, for lunch rooms for its members and such proper persons as may see fit to resort to them."
Provision was made for the issuance of twenty thousand shares of stock at one dollar per share. Following are a few "articles" that show the nature and the spirit of the work of the organization:
"Article 17-The work of the association shall be based on the leading idea of the 'universal Fatherhood of God and the Universal Brotherhood of Man' and shall be carried on humanely with malice toward none and charity for all, persuasion being the leading feature of the work to be done.
"Article 18- The seal of the corporation shall have engraved upon it the name of the corporation and the motto, 'Malice toward none and charity for all.'
"Article 21-Ladies may take stock in said corporation and shall be eligible to all offices, providing that not more than one-half of the board of directors shall consist of ladies."
The original incorporators were: Nelson Bradley, G. T. Randall, H. B. Thayer, R. M. LaRue, F. E. Glidden, Samuel E. Duncan, Mrs. F. E. Glidden, John F. Mitchell, Samuel S. Boots, F. M. Walker, Walter C. Roberts, Isaac C. Davis, John W. Jones, Mrs. W. D. Hughes, Mrs. A. C. Heaton, Mrs. W. H. Sims, Mrs. F. M. Walker, Mrs. L. L. Lorinor, Mrs. H. F. Williams.
Pursuant to the purpose of that organization as stated above, a room was rented in the Guymon House for a reading room, and was supplied with papers, magazines, books, etc. Everything was done to make it attractive for young men and boys. This room was maintained for several months during the summer and fall of 1879.
A further movement was undertaken in April, 1879, for the organization of the Greenfield Christian Temperance Union. Its work was not to be limited to the city of Greenfield, but was to extend over the entire county, and an effort was made to interest the people of the county in the movement. For this purpose the following call was issued through the columns of the Hancock Democrat:
"We, the undersigned friends of the Cause of Temperance, residing in Hancock county, in the spirit of the following pledge: 'With malice toward none and charity for all, I, the undersigned, do pledge my word and honor, God helping me, to abstain from all intoxicating liquors as a beverage, and that I will by all honorable means, encourage others to abstain.' Do hereby issue this call for a Christian Temperance Union County Convention to meet in this city on Monday the 5th day of May, 1879, at 2 P.M., in the Court House. The object of this Convention shall be to organize a County Christian Temperance Union for the purpose of carrying on the good work already begun in our county. All persons favorable to this movement, and who will subscribe to the above pledge, will be received as delegates. (Signed): G. T. Randall, F. E. Glidden, J. H. Williams, Sam E. Duncan, Rev. L. L. Lorinor, H. L. Moore, Mrs. L. C. Heaton, Charles G. Offutt, O. M. Edwards, Walter C. Roberts, Mrs. O. W. Shick, Mrs. S. C. Gilchrist, Mary E. Swope, H. B. Thayer, Sidney LaRue, L. A. Vawter, Mrs. Kate Applegate, Mrs. G. T. Randall, Mrs. Dr. Boots, G. W. Duncan, Charles E. Barrett, John W. Jones, H. B. Wilson, Mrs. J. H. Bragg, Lizzie Gilchrist. O. P. Martin, Nelson Bradley, C. W. Gant, J. W. Walker, John H. Binford, Mrs. E. Bradley, Mrs. H. J. Williams, S. C. Shumway, John P. Wright, Mrs. Lorinor, Mrs. H. C. Burdett, Mrs. F. H. Crawford, Mrs. M. W. Hamilton, Mrs. Q. D. Hughes."
A convention was held at the court house, pursuant to the above call, and was attended by a large number of people from all parts of the county. G. T. Randall was elected president of the meeting and Charles E. Barrett, secretary. A committee appointed to nominate suitable officers for the county organization made the following report: President, George W. Duncan; vice-presidents, Blue River, B. H. Binford, Brown, Alex McDaniel; Brandywine, Ephraim Bentley; Center, J. H. Binford; Buck Creek, G. W. Hendricks; Green, Milo Walker; Jackson, Jackson Gause; Sugar Creek, Adam P. Hogle; Vernon, J. W. Ferrell; corresponding secretary, James J. Walsh; recording secretary, J. W. Jones; treasurer, Nelson Bradley; managers, G. T. Randall, Mrs. Ann Fulgum, O. P. Martin, Thomas West, Elihu Coffin.
The general sentiment of the convention was expressed the following resolution:
"Whereas, the evils of intemperance are of such a character as to giver rise to the necessity of immediate and thorough organization throughout our county for the purpose of counteracting and checking as far as possible the aforesaid evils; therefore,
"Resolved, that we, the members of this convention, in view of the terrible evils of intemperance with the best interest of society and Christianity, 'With malice toward none and charity for all.' Do hereby pledge ourselves to use our best endeavors to counteract the aforesaid well-known evils."
With the numerous organizations now established in the county it was desirable to have a closer relationship existing among them and a better acquaintance among their members. For this purpose a grand temperance picnic was planned to be held at Pierson's grove at Greenfield, on July 4, 1879. Invitations were extended through the local papers to all persons interested in the promotion of the temperance cause, and all were invited to wear blue ribbons on this occasion. From twelve to fifteen hundred people were reported present at the picnic. Choirs sang, and Col. John M. Wray and D. B. Rosser, of Indianapolis, and Charles G. Offutt, of Greenfield, made eloquent temperance addresses. W. S. Sparks, Jr., read the Declaration of Independence. George W. Duncan was master of ceremonies during the day. A Fortville wagon containing forty girls dressed in red, white and blue was an interesting feature of the occasion. The receipts of the day amounted to forty dollars and thirty-six cents, of which the surplus was applied toward the maintenance of the reading room that had been established in the Guymon House.
The intensity of the campaign that had been waged for several years naturally developed a great deal of feeling between the temperance people and those representing the liquor interests. In the midst of this bitterness the saloon at New Palestine was dynamited on the night of October 16, 1881. The building belonged to Indianapolis parties, the stock to Walker & Hafner. On the night of May 12, 1882, a billiard room at New Palestine, operated by John Walker, was likewise blown up. Both of these buildings were completely wrecked and there were left on the spot piles of wreckage. Windows were broken in the surrounding houses and the entire town was shaken by the explosions. It was never judicially determined who committed these acts. There was unity in the condemnation of the acts, however, from all sources. It was expressed not only on the street corners, but in the local papers and by correspondents from all parts of the county.
During the years that followed, temperance agitation was kept up, but very largely by ladies' societies and through the agency of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
On September 20, 1893, the ladies of Greenfield appeared before the city council and asked for an ordinance compelling saloon keepers to remove screens from before their windows and doors. Such an ordinance was presented, but was lost. On October 4, 1893, the ordinance was again presented for action. The council at that time was composed of John A. Barr, John Eagan, John B. Huston, Taylor Morford, Jasper Moulden and William Vaughn. Of these, Morford, Barr and Moulden voted in favor of the ordinance. Eagan, Huston and Vaughn voted against it, and the ordinance was lost.
The Woman's Christian Temperance Union remained more or less active in the county during the years that followed, and on April 1 and 2, 1899, held a normal institute at the Christian church in Greenfield. Representatives and speakers were present from different parts of the state. Three sessions of the institute were held daily. One was a "mothers' meeting." Consecration meetings were also held. Reviews of literature on temperance were given and such subjects as the following were discussed: "Indiana Methods," "Enfranchisement of Women," "How to Use the Press," "How to do Christian Work Successfully," "How to Advertise and Conduct Public Meetings Successfully," " To What Extent Are Women Responsible for the Saloons?" "To What Extent Are Men Responsible for the Saloons?" and "Scientific Temperance Instruction in the Public Schools." These meetings were largely attended by the people of the county interested in temperance work, and much inspiration was drawn from them.
During the year that followed liquor licenses were granted in greater numbers, however, by the board of county commissioners. From January, 1901, to June, 1902, licenses were granted at the rate of almost two per month. Then began a period of greater temperance activity again in the use of remonstrances.
In the spring of 1903 a Citizens' Reform League was organized at Greenfield The league used a "power of attorney," in form like the following, upon which the signatures of all the citizens possible, resident within the city of Greenfield, were secured:
"I, -------, the undersigned resident and voter of the first ward in the City of Greenfield, Hancock County, State of Indiana, do hereby respectfully authorize, empower and request -----and ----, or either of them, to sign my name to any and all remonstrances against persons who may give notice of intention to apply for license to sell intoxicating liquor in said ward, and also to properly file and present such remonstrances to the Board of Commissioners of said County.
Practically all of the persons who executed the above "powers of attorney" constituted Robert Williamson and W. C. Wellborn as their attorneys in fact to sign such remonstrances for them.
At the March session of the board of commissioners, in 1903, the applications of Robert Fair and Richard Todd were pending.
Great numbers of the above cards had been signed, but the liquor interests had also procured a large number of withdrawals. When the applications came up for hearing the commissioners' court room was crowded to overflowing and both applications were withdrawn.
During the spring of 1903, however, the same methods were used and remonstrances were successfully filed against William G. Maniford, of Fortville, William Chappel, of Maxwell, Charles Fair, of Greenfield, and Lewis J. Gordon, of Wilkinson.
For more than a decade the farmers of the county had been organized in their farmers' institutes. When these temperance fights came to the front, the rural people left no question unanswered as to where they stood on the liquor traffic, as shown by resolutions adopted from time to time in their meetings. At the institute held in January, 1903, they placed themselves on record as follows:
"Resolved, that we commend the General Assembly of the state of Indiana for its action in supporting the preliminary steps in the great movement of temperance by passing the Nicholson law, the Moore law and the Search and Seizure laws, and as farmers of this section of Indiana, we stand ever ready to advance morality, common decency and the protection of our homes and families from the arch enemy, Alcohol. Be it
"Resolved, that this institute stands pledged to the support of the Littlfield-Carmack interstate commerce bill, providing for the submission of interstate liquor packages to the laws of the state to which they have been consigned."
In 1909, when it became evident that there was danger of the repeal of the county local option law, our agricultural people again went on record:
"Resolved, that for the preservation of the sacredness of the home in Indiana, for the sake of sterling manhood of the fathers, and in defense of the never-dying love of the devoted mother, and for the preservation of our sons and daughters, that we are opposed to any institution or business that degrades the home or human race, therefore we demand that the county local option law be permitted to remain on the statute books until it is given a trial."
On 1910 they again expressed their convictions:
"That, as husbands and fathers, who love our families and our homes as we love our lives, we are steadfastly and forever opposed to any custom, law, institution or business, whose tendency and effect is to debase and degrade the children of men, and as the abolition of the saloons in Hancock county has removed from our midst one of the greatest evil influences that lead men astray, we are unalterably opposed to the repeal of the county local option law and demand its rigid and impartial enforcement."
On March 7, 1908, the Willow Horse Thief Detective Company adopted the following resolutions:
"Whereas, the temperance people of Hancock county are now engaged in a determined effort to subdue the liquor traffic by preventing the granting of any more saloon licenses; be it
"Resolved, that we, the member of the Willow Horse Thief Detective Company, No. 196, in regular meeting assembled, March 7, 1908, send greetings and good cheer and pledge our support, both morally and financially, if need be, to this glorious work."
In 1908, Civic Leagues and Good Citizens' Leagues were organized in the county to keep up a crusade against the liquor traffic. The citizens, churches and ministers all took an active part in the work of the leagues. Among the hardest fights waged in the county were those by the leagues against Arch Duncan, Richard Hall and others. A great deal of bitterness was developed and many ugly things were said of each party by the other. Evidence was introduced before the board or commissioners to show that inducements had been offered especially to some of the poorer people to get them to sign the remonstrance or to execute "powers of attorney" as heretofore indicated. Charges and counter-charges were made, and when the attorney for the applicants was charged with having misplaced the remonstrances, it looked for a time a though there might be acts of violence in the court room.
In September, 1908, the county local option law was passed. Immediately after the holidays petitions were circulated in the county for a county local option election. This petition was filed with the county auditor on January 30, 1909, with over two thousand signatures thereon. The election was ordered for March 5, 1909. There was a thorough canvass of the county by both the "wets" and "drys." Four thousand, four hundred and thirteen votes were cast in the election, with the following results:
All of the precincts in the county cast a majority of "dry" votes with the exception of the third precinct in Brown, which had a "wet" majority of three, and the seventh precinct in Center, which had a "wet" majority of seven. As a result of this election, the county was "dry" for a period of two years.
In the meantime the county local option law had been repealed and townships and cities were made the units. Under the later law elections were held in Brown, Center, Sugar Creek and Vernon townships, and in the city of Greenfield, on March 28, 1911. The result of these elections was as follows:
This again left the entire county, with the exception of the city of Greenfield, "dry."
In the spring of 1913 it became necessary for the "wets: in Brown and Vernon townships to circulate petitions in order to have other local option elections held. This was done and a sufficient number of names was secured in each township. Elections were held on the second day of April, 1913, in each township, with the following results:
The "wets" having won the election in Greenfield in 1911, it became necessary for the "drys" to circulate a petition in order to procure another election. This was done with the following result at the polls on May 2, 1941: "Drys," 585' "wets," 637.
During the summer of 1914, the "wets" secured a sufficient number of signatures on a petition in Sugar Creek township and an election was ordered to be held on September 23, 1914. The result of the election was : "Drys," 278; "wets," 127.
Under the local option laws the entire county, with the exception of the city of Greenfield, has been "dry" since 1909.
After the entire county had been "dry" for two years the city of Greenfield on March 28, 1911, voted "wet." The council, composed of Henry R. Fry, Frank C. Gibbs, James N. Goble, John V. Rosser and Isaac W. Wilson, at once took under consideration an ordinance for closer government of the liquor traffic within the city, and on April 5, 1911, the following ordinance was approved by Ora Myers, mayor:
"An ordinance to license, regulate and restrain all shops, inns, taverns and other places where intoxicating liquors are kept for sale within the city of Greenfield, and there to define the resident and business districts of said city and provide for penalties for the violation thereof and repeal ordinance and parts of ordinances in conflict therewith.
"Be it ordered by the common council of the city of Greenfield, Indiana, that it shall be unlawful for any person to retail, barter or give away or keep for any of such purposes any intoxicating liquors within the city of Greenfield without first procuring from said city a license so to do and then only in compliance with the provisions of this ordinance.
"Before any license shall be issued under the provisions of this ordinance, the applicant shall have previously procured a license from the board of commissioners of Hancock county, Indiana, and shall exhibit the same to the clerk of said city, and shall pay in advance to said city the sum of Five Hundred Dollars as a license fee. Upon complying with the foregoing provisions, a license shall be issued to such applicant, signed by the mayor and attested by the city clerk, which license shall entitle the applicant to sell and retail, barter and give away such liquors for the term of one year from the date of the issuance thereof, and then only in compliance with the provisions of the ordinance.
"The room where intoxicating liquors may be sold at retail, bartered or given away in pursuance to this ordinance, shall be a front room on the ground floor of a building facing upon a public street; said room shall have a glass door or door and glass window or windows in the front thereof, next to said street, which shall be kept clean and transparent at all times, so as to give an unobstructed view of the entire interior of said room, to one looking into said room from said street; said room shall be provided with sufficient light to afford one looking therein to have a clear view of the entire interior of said room at all times; there shall be no side or rear entrance into said room except such as admit directly into said room from the public street, alley or the interior of the building or from the exterior of a regularly operated hotel, and then only when such hotel immediately adjoins said room; there shall be no side, rear or other room used at any time in connection with said room where said liquors are hereby permitted to be sold, bartered or give away or kept for such purposes; except a regularly operated hotel adjoining said room; all doors and entrances from any such side, rear or other room, except a regularly operated hotel adjoining said room shall be at all times securely locked and fastened and no person allowed to enter or depart by way thereof; there shall be no stairway leading from said room to any other room or place above; that the licensed shall have the right to sue a basement beneath his saloon for storage purposes and for no other purposes.
"There shall be in said room no screen, partition device or construction of any kind which obstructs a clear and full view of the entire interior of said room from the street in front thereof at any time of the day or night; there shall not be permitted in said room at any time any chairs, seat, table, music, musical instrument, slot machine, dice box, dice, playing cards, gaming device, game or amusement of any kind, or any elevator, dumb waiter or speaking tube provided; that stools may be kept behind the bar for the sole use of the barkeeper and owner; no person shall be employed as bartender or be permitted to act as such in said room who is in the habit of becoming intoxicated or while in a state of intoxication; said room shall be securely closed and locked and all persons except the proprietor thereof, or a member of his family, shall be excluded therefrom during all days and hour the sale of such liquors are prohibited by the laws of the state of Indiana. All liquors sold, bartered or given away in said room shall be delivered at the bar, which shall be located in said room at a distance not exceeding ten feet from the front door of said room. It shall be unlawful for the proprietor of such license to deliver any of such liquors at any place in said room except at the bar thereof. (As amended, February 4, 1914.)
"No intoxicating liquors shall be sold at retail, bartered or given away or kept for any of such purpose and no building, room or place shall be kept or maintained for the purpose of selling any such liquors at retail, or for bartering or giving away the same, except within the boundaries of the business portion of the city of Greenfield, Indiana, and then only in compliance with the provisions of this ordinance.
"The business portion of the city of Greenfield, Indiana, for the purpose of this act is hereby defined to be included within the following boundaries and not elsewhere:
"The south boundary thereof shall be the north line of South Street in said city, the east boundary line thereof shall be the first alley east of East Street in said city, the north boundary line thereof shall be the south line of North Street in said city, the west boundary line thereof shall be the east line of Pennsylvania street in said city.
"The entire remainder of said city is herby defined to be the resident and suburban portions of said city and no licenses shall be issued for the sale of any such liquors therein.
"No intoxicating liquors shall be sold at retail, bartered or given away, and no building, room or place shall be kept or maintained for any of such purposes within two miles of the corporate limits of said city of Greenfield, Indiana.
"None of the foregoing provisions of this ordinance shall apply to wholesale liquor dealers who sell such liquors exclusively to licensed retail liquor dealers, nor shall the same apply to duly licensed druggists or pharmacists.
" It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to keep for sale at wholesale any intoxicating liquors or to keep any building, room or place for such purposes or for the storage of such liquors intended to be sold at wholesale, within the corporate limits of the city of Greenfield, Indiana, and within two miles of such corporation limits, without first procuring a license from said city so to do.
"Upon payment to said city the sum of two hundred dollars by any person, firm or corporation desiring such wholesale license, said city shall issue to such person, firm or corporation a license in like manner as retail dealers only, any such intoxicating liquors for and during a period of one year from the date of said license and no part of such license fee so paid shall be refunded by said city under any circumstances.
"It shall be unlawful for the proprietor or any such wholesale liquor license to permit any intoxicating liquors to be drunk upon or about the premises where liquors are kept for sale at wholesale.
"Any person, firm or corporation keeping for sale, bartering or to be given away any intoxicating liquors, which are kept in the building, room or place for any of such purposes, in violation of any of the provisions of this ordinance, shall upon conviction or plea of guilty be fined in any sum not exceeding one hundred dollars for each offense, and upon failure to pay or replevy such fine and the cost of such suit, such person shall be imprisoned in the county jail one day for each dollar of such fine and costs.
"All ordinances and parts of ordinances in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed.
"This ordinance shall be in full force from and after its passage and due publication in the Greenfield Daily Reporter."
In the last elections in Sugar Creek and Vernon townships, the petitions had to be filed by the "wets." The names of the petitioners were published as news items in the local papers. It was illuminating to learn how many men "had not expected the names to be published." Many humorous stories were soon afloat of what happened when the wife and children learned that father had singed that petition. Whether all such stories were true or not, it was evident that many men who signed the petitions were ashamed and unwilling to have their families and neighbors know about it. Publicity was found to be a powerful agent in purifying the life of a community.
The long crusade in the temperance cause has at different times created strong feeling among the people of the county. Bitter words have been spoken and hard things have been said of each faction by the other. Principles have been forgotten and personalities have at times occupied the arena. These things have, no doubt, been unavoidable with a humanity that it's not yet perfect. During the last local option campaigns, however, there has been a tendency on the part of all to wage the battle on cleaner and less vindictive lines. Possibly the lesson has been learned that it pays, and that it makes for strength. In many of the earlier campaigns the columns of the newspapers were filled with personal invectives that had no effect except to prejudice and stir up bitterness. As set over against this method of campaigning the principal articles used in the last campaigns are inserted herein. They are arguments designed to appeal to reason, and are absolutely free from all personal matters.
The first statement was issued by the "wets" just before the election in Greenfield on May 2, 1914, and was scattered over the city. It is, no doubt, the strongest argument ever issued in the county in behalf of the liquor traffic. It is strong as a positive argument, but it is infinitely stronger for the manner in which it diverts attention from the vital matter at issue in the liquor traffic. It is based on principle, however, and is illustrative of what has just been said:
"Tax Payer, Voter, Citizen, you are interested in the following thoughts, facts, and figures.ÑMay help you some in exercising the Great American Privilege intelligently.---Prejudice and Sentiment aside, you want to do what's best for your own and your city's interests.
"Greenfield has a little over $2,250,000 taxable property. According to law a city may go in debt and issue its bonds therefore, to the amount of 2 per cent of its property, or in our case, $45,230.
|We have issued, outstanding and unpaid bonds||$35,000|
|Electric light plant||15,000|
Or $5,000 more than permitted by law. Of this debt Greenfield pays in interest $3,000 annually.
Understand, we are making no complaint and have no objections to this, Greenfield has about everything in the way of public utilities that any city has, and good at that, but they all cost money.
Where does it come from? Who pays the bills?
Listen! The tax levy for our city last time was 58 cents on the hundred. When added to Township, County and State, we have a total tax levy of $2.99 on each hundred dollars, one of the highest for cities of our size and class in the state.
This year's levy, 12 cents for Corporation, produces $2,713, one-half of which is available next July, other half next January.
|On hand last report||$4,687|
|Half from levy July||1,356|
The fixed salaries of officers and employees alone amount annually to $5,000, saying nothing of all other employees and expenses, which amounts to several thousand dollars.
Smallpox, Epidemic, or whatever it may have been, has been costing the City $100 per day for the past thirty days. Again we ask:
|Who pays the bills? Where must the money come from?|
|Six saloons have been contributing $500 each, or||$3,000|
|For electric light and city water, $100 each, or||600|
|From their six homes, approximately||400|
|Or a total of||$4,000|
Now a comparatively small number of taxpayers, without consent or knowledge of the city or its officials, without even consulting them as to the wisdom of such action would not only withhold the $4,000 from the city, but have imposed the additional expense and burden of holding another election.
To close saloons. Very well. Then this shortage must come from some other source.
City officials are not to blame because the Corporation Fund would run short. They figured on receiving this money and made the levy accordingly.
Only one thing to do. Increase the tax levy, and of course increase taxes. This Sounds Good! If $2.99 isn't high enough make it $3.99. What's the difference?" Who cares for the expenses? The property owners have to pay the bills.
Anything else? They would vacate six good business rooms, now bringing good incomes, depreciate their rental value one-half, and depreciate the value of the whole block, building or property in proportion.
Social Clubs Again! In these same rooms they would have a cheap restaurant or two (soft drink joints), a few more pool rooms or bowling alleys, and in one or two a nice, stylish 'Social Club.'
'Social Clubs,' you know, are very popular in dry territory. Have you forgotten our 'Social Clubs?' Don't you remember how Mayor Myers, just for recreation, used to go out occasionally, raid a 'Social Club' and return with a dray load of barrels, boxes and tubs and things? How they were stacked up in the Court House and guarded with jealous care until the contents were emptied into the sewer and all the innocent little fish in Brandywine made intoxicated?
We don't expect our argument to appeal to those who have no property interests here, and who contribute little or nothing to the support of our city and her improvements and institutions in the form of taxes. But we think you who own property and who have made Greenfield what she is, should remember this.
For any city to have a very high tax rate is a poor advertisement. High taxes keep out the investor. High taxes cause the owners of property to throw it on the market, anxious to sell. And a city where everybody wants to sell and
nobody wants to buy presents indeed a deplorable condition.
Now what would be accomplished by the closing of saloons here? Indianapolis, only 20 miles distant, with a half dozen breweries and a thousand wholesale liquor houses and saloons, interurban cars every hour in the day and half the night, some of which would be known as 'Evening Suit Case and Jug Specials,' 'Blind Tigers' and 'Social Clubs.' Do you honestly believe Greenfield would be very 'dry?' Do you?
Abe Martin says, "You kin allus tell a dry town by the sugar barrels around the depot."
Under the present arrangement, and it's a good law for the protection of citizens, if a saloon keeper causes a man to become intoxicated, and he or his family thereby injured, they have an action in damages, not only against the saloon keeper, but his bondsman as well.
If he sells to a minor the law holds. But if that same man, or that same minor sends a few dollars through the mail to wholesale liquor houses, they can have delivered to them by express their bottles or jugs of liquor, get intoxicated, get themselves and others into trouble, and you have absolutely no remedy. Which condition would you prefer?
Oh! But our opponents say:"The excessive use of intoxicating liquor ruins and wrecks the lives of men and women and destroys happiness and homes."
The excessive use of drugs does the same. The social evil is worse than both, and must you go down in your pocket, must you give of your time and substance, must you lay higher taxes on your property in a vain and useless effort to improve the habits of your neighbor who resents such efforts as unwarranted interference in his personal affairs?
A good and well meaning man took a seat in a passenger coach one day, glanced across the aisle at another passenger and noticed the fellow had no nose. Curiosity got the better of judgment. He arose and sat down beside him with the observation: "My friend, I see you have lost your nose." "Yes," said the other, "I have lost my nose." "Might I ask," said the meddlesome one, "how that happened?" "Oh, sure! That came from sticking my nose in other people's business." Profound silence.
One never engaged in a more thankless business then when he attempts to act as guardian for another when uncalled for and unsolicited. Moreover in a free country where every man's privileges are equal to every other's, he refuses to be forced, driven or coerced, and when such methods are attempted it only results in driving him to resort to any trick or scheme to defeat the object and purposes of the one who interferes with his personal and private business.
So, good friends, if you feel that your personal habits are, or should be, the standard for your neighbor, if you feel that he should eat and drink when and what you do, and feel that you are called on to see that he does so, take our advice; don't force, drive or coerce him; if you can't reach him by argument, kindness, reason, education and the 'personal touch,' abandon the job, because you can't do it the other way.
Under the present high license and well regulated liquor laws we have done away with pool and billiard tables, music, lunches and chairs. All shades and screens have been removed. We open and close on legal hours. Close on Sundays and all holidays. If we violate your laws your officers are on duty, and your courts are open. If you desire us to refuse your friend or relative, who unfortunately many not know how to use liquors, notify us and your orders are respected. Yet we feel that we should not be held responsible should he obtain his supply from another source.
Under such conditions we feel that we are entitled to continue our business. We are your friend and neighbor. We are tax payers, householders, and owners of real estate. Here we have lived for years, here our children were born and grew to manhood and womanhood. No complaints; no charges filed; no violations of law; no indictments; no crimes.
May we not then appeal to you for fair and just treatment? You, the Voter, shall decide; and so when the little white ballot drops softly and silently as the snowflake from heaven falling upon the sod yet executing a free man's will as lightning executes the will of the Master, with confidence in your intelligence and judgment we believe your vote will be for a square deal for your fellowman. And we shall respect and obey your verdict whatever it may be.
Following is also the statement issued by the "Drys" in Sugar Creek township just prior to their last election on September 23, 1914. This article was published in the Greenfield Daily Reporter on Saturday evening, September 20 1914, and a copy of the paper was sent to every voter in Sugar Creek township. It is a "temperance argument," otherwise it is drawn on lines similar to the previous article. All personalities are avoided and an effort is made to present the issue on its merits.
"On Tuesday, September 23rd, the people of Sugar Creek township will determine, by the use of the ballot, whether the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage shall be prohibited in that township.
The right of suffrage is one of the most sacred rights secured to the citizens of this great and richly blessed land. It is not limited to any class or classes of people, nor is it denied to any person because of his political or religious faith. The ballot is the instrument placed in the people's hands wherewith they may determine the policies that shall be pursued by them. By the use of the ballot they give answer to the questions that are propounded to them for solution. On September 23rd, if any man in Sugar Creek township feels that he should cast his vote in favor of the reestablishment of the saloon in that township, no one can deny him that right. If anyone feels that the sale of intoxicating liquors should continue to be prohibited, as it has been for the past four years, the right to cast his ballot that way is secured to him.
It is said of Lincoln that he sometimes deliberated and pondered long before his mind was made upon on a matter of mere policy, but that he never at any time hesitated from a moment to take his stand on the right side of a question, when he considered a moral issue to be involved.
Whether mistaken or not in their conclusions, the citizens of Sugar Creek township, who favor a continued prohibition of the sale of intoxicants, do so because they believe that their community, upon which a benevolent Creator has showered His choicest blessings, will have a better moral tone, and that it will be a better place for young people, as well as older people to live, if it is without the saloon; that even though there be some who will go to distant points to squander their earnings, to purchase intoxicants, yet that fewer will be reached by the saloons at a distance, than if the saloon be in their immediate midst.
The citizens of the little town of New Palestine especially remember that at the present there are no saloons between Indianapolis and Connersville; that the elements of society that are attracted, and go long distances solely for the purpose of reaching the saloon to satisfy their craving, are not people who stand for purity and cleanliness in the home, or in the social organization. The citizens of New Palestine send greetings to the citizens of the township at large, and respectfully ask that their beautiful little city be not made the notorious dumping ground between Indianapolis and Connersville.
A canvass of the business men of New Palestine will show overwhelmingly that they are not in favor of the reestablishment of the saloon.
The growth of the town of New Palestine has been steady during the past four years. There is not a single vacant house in town. The teachers, men of family, teaching in the New Palestine schools this year, are unable to reside in town with their families because of the lack of houses.
The books of the New Palestine Bank show that money has not been leaving the town, nor the community, since the saloon has gone. The amount deposited in the bank at the time the saloons were closed was $93,339.77; amount on deposit September 10, 1913, $154,217.67; gain: $60,817.90.
One concern, it must be admitted, has suffered a loss of business during the time that Sugar Creek township has been without the saloon, and this the Justice of the Peace Court.
During the last four years with saloons, this Court has collected fines, $184.50; during the four years last past, without the saloons this Court collected in fines only $80.50; shortage, $104.00.
But since these fines are almost always paid by men who are least able to squander their earnings, this amount has probably gone to the grocer, butcher, merchant, etc., etc., etc., and the wives and children are likely better off to just that amount, plus the additional amount that was spent in creating a cause for the fines.
In this connection, an interesting investigation is suggested to those who frequented the saloons during the past three or four years of their existence in New Palestine, and who have personal knowledge of the people and families who were represented in the saloons during that time. The township trustee's 'Poor Record' is a public record, and may be examined by any one. Examine this record as it was made up during the last three or four years of the saloon's existence. Make a list of the persons and families whom the township had to 'help' during those years. Check those whom you know frequented the saloon, and spent their earnings there during those years. Now examine the same record as made up during the three or four years last past, without saloons, and see how many families on your list have been dropped from this record, and are now self-supporting.
But this is not all that has been done. Observe the following statistics that have been taken from the town record of New Palestine:
|January 1, 1910||$3,002.48|
|September 10, 1913||300.00|
|Cash on hands|
|January 1, 1910||$ 393.74|
|September 10, 1913||1,113.36|
It might also be stated that the reason for the present indebtedness is that bonds not yet matured cannot be paid until due.
In connection with the reduction of debt and the increase of cash on hands during the past four years, without saloons, attention should also be directed to the lax levies for municipal purposes during the past five years; 1910, 85 cents; 1910, 85 cents; 1911, 85 cents; 1912, 80 cents; 1913, 75 cents.
Twenty-five cents of the tax levy of 1913 for municipal purposes is for a road fund for the betterment of the streets and alleys.
This is the first time for a number of yeas that the town of New Palestine has been in a condition to create a fund for this purpose, and lower taxes at the same time.
The matter of casting the ballot should be taken seriously by every citizen. There is not greater menaced to a free democratic government than carelessness and negligence in the use of the ballot. Every man should feel in duty bound to appear at the polls on election day, and to cast his ballot in support of a policy as his judgment directs, and as his conscience dictates.
The question to be propounded to the voters of Sugar Creek township for their determination on September 23rd, will be:
Shall the sale of intoxicating liquors be prohibited in Sugar Creek township?
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 393-423.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI February 24, 2002.
Return to 1916 Index | Return to Hancock Co. Main Page
|Tom & Carolyn Ward / Columbus, Kansas / firstname.lastname@example.org|