Temperance societies against alcohol | Local News – Ricentral.com

Contributing Writer

RICHMOND – During the 1820s, people began to fully realize the devastating impact that alcohol was having on society. Those addicted to the intoxicating drink were seeing their homes and everything they owned auctioned off to pay debts. They were being maimed or killed in factory and farming accidents. Their health was failing, they were committing crimes and severing relationships. Around the country, people decided they needed to do something to end this affliction. Soon, thousands of temperance societies sprang up, promoting abstinence, alcohol education and the passage of laws that would make alcohol more difficult to obtain. Highly connected to religion, these societies benefited by churches nationwide beginning to preach about the dangers of consuming alcohol. Through education and trust in God, it was believed that alcoholism could be eradicated.

When the Richmond Temperance Union was formed, dozens of individuals signed on to become members. Meetings were held on Tuesday nights, alternatingly, at Potter’s Hall in Wyoming and Wood River Church. The union paid the owner of Potter’s Hall an annual fee of three dollars for the building’s use. The meetings were long, filled with gospel songs and excited discussion, and often ended after 10 p.m.

On January 16, 1883, the meeting was held at Wood River Church. Fifty-seven-year-old reverend Joseph J. Northup served as the union’s president. The husband of fifty-four-year-old Ruth Eliza (Green) Northup, who was also a member, he had long worked as a blacksmith in Hope Valley, Wood River Junction and Carolina in addition to his clergy work.

That evening, according to the union’s record book, a vote was taken to spend funds for the purchase of a new record book, and two local residents applied to become members of the union. Forty-four-year-old woolen mill employee George W. Aldrich and his 39-year-old wife

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