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Lips that touch liquor – Shall never touch ours!

WOMAN’S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION IN ALABAMA

A temperance movement is a social movement against the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Temperance movements started in America as early as the American Revolution when farmers formed associations to ban whiskey distilling. The movement spread to eight states, advocating temperance rather than abstinence and refraining from drink on the Sabbath.


Complete abstinence encouraged by 1830

The American Temperance Society was formed in 1826 and grew rapidly. By the 1830s, the complete abstinence of alcoholic beverages was being encouraged. Legal prohibition of all alcohol was the goal of many organizations during the Victorian era.

The Salvation Army was founded in London in 1864 with a heavy emphasis on both abstinence from alcohol and ministering to the working class.

Did you know that religious persecution occurred in early America? Read about it in this historical series by Donna R. Causey

National organization formed

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, a National organization with State and local branches, originated in the great temperance crusade of 1874. A National Convention was called to meet in Cleveland, Ohio, November 17, of that year, at which sixteen states were represented and the organization formed. By 1916 every state and territory in the nation was organized.

temperance-movement

Conditions of membership were to sign the total abstinence pledge and pay annually into the treasury of the local union a sum of not less than 50 cents. Part of the money was retained for local work, and a part was used for auxiliary offices, State, National and World’s needs. The total paid membership in the United States in 1919 was about a half million.Temperance pledge

First officers and duties

The badge of the society was a bow of white ribbon. Mrs. Annie Wittenmyer was the first president of the National Society. Miss Frances E. Willard succeeded her in 1879 and held that position until her death in 1898 when Mrs. L. M. N. Stevens, of Maine, became the National President. She was succeeded by Miss Anna A. Gordon in 1914.

The work was carried on by six departments:

  1. Organization: organizers, lecturers and evangelists; young woman’s branch; Royal Temperance Legion branch; work among foreign speaking people; work among the colored; work among the Indians.
  2. Prevention: health through temperance.
  3. Educational: scientific temperance instruction; physical education; Sunday School; World’s Missionary fund; presenting the cause to influential bodies; temperance and labor; parliamentary uses; cooperating with other societies; W. C. T. U. institutes; anti-narcotics; school saving banks; juvenile courts, industrial education and anti-child labor; medal contests.
  4. Evangelistic: alms houses, unfermented wine at sacrament; the Bible in the Public Schools; proportionate and systematic giving; prison reform; work among railroad men; work among soldiers and sailors; work among lumbermen and miners; Sabbath observance; humane education; moral education and race betterment; mothers’ meetings and white ribbon recruits; rescue work; purity in literature and art.
  5. Social: social meetings, red letter days; flower mission and relief work; fairs and open air meetings. Legal: legislation; Christian citizenship; franchise; peace and international arbitration.
  6. There was also a bureau of publicity, a bureau of uniform legislation, and a special committee on anti-polygamy amendment to the Federal Constitution.

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Alabama

Under the influence of Miss Frances Willard, National President, local branches of the organization sprang up in Alabama. In 1880 a number of citizens of Gadsden and Etowah County petitioned the legislature for local option for the county, which aroused an interest in the subject of temperance. In May, 1882, a local union was organized with Mrs. L. C. Woodliff, president, and fourteen charter members.

In December, 1883, the women of Tuscaloosa, under the leadership of Mrs. Ellen Peter Bryce, Mrs. Reuben Searcy, and Miss Julia Tutwiler, organized a local union under the name of “Woman’s Home Union,” of which Mrs. Reuben Searcy was elected president. In January, 1884, a State meeting was held in Tuscaloosa at which were present, besides representatives of the unions from Selma, Gadsden, and Tuscaloosa, Mrs. Sallle Chapin of Charleston, S. C., and Miss Henrietta Moore, of Ohio, National Officers. At that convention the State Union was organized, with Mrs. L. C. Woodliff, president, Mrs. Ellen Peter Bryce, of Tuscaloosa, vice-president, Mrs. Charles Sibert, of Gadsden, secretory, and Miss Mattie Coleman, of Montgomery, treasurer, Miss Julia Tutwiler, press superintendent, and Miss Susie P. Martin, superintendent of literature.

President attended the Conventions

In October. 1884, Mrs. Woodliff, the president, attended the 11th National Convention of the W. C. T. U., which was held at St. Louis, Mo., and in November of that year the second annual Convention of the Alabama Union was held at Selma to which Mrs. Woodliff brought great inspiration in her report of the proceedings of the National Convention which she had recently attended.

The third annual State Convention was held at Birmingham in November, 1885, at which time Mrs. Bryce was president. Courage and love of humanity were so highly exemplified by this band of pious women that an account of the initial efforts made by the Tuscaloosa women prepared by Mrs. Ellen Peter Bryce, and preserved in manuscript form in the Department of Archives and History, typifies the efforts of women, at that period entirely unaccustomed to public activities.

Mrs. Bryce writes an article

While sitting in my husband’s office reading the paper at our home in the Alabama Insane Hospital—I think it must have been in 1880—in looking over the legislative news I noticed so many acts to prohibit the sale of spirituous liquors within three miles, or five miles of some country church or school house. I believe there were a column of these notices. I asked him what should be done to rid our county of this awful curse.

The Doctor replied that if I would write an article for our town paper, calling a meeting of our citizens at the court house on some convenient evening, that he would help me. I immediately accepted his offer and he headed it, ‘Strike While the Iron Is Hot.’ I wrote the article and signed it, ‘A Woman.’ The night we selected turned out to be a cold, sleety night but we went and the court house was crowded with men from the city and county both. I think the time must have been ripe for such a meeting. There were men with their rain coats dripping wet standing in the aisle for want of room. I know that Dr. Searcy, Mr. Woolsey Van Hoose, Dr. Bryce and Dr. Wyman had exerted themselves to get up a crowd. Miss Julia Tutwiler and I were the only two women present.

At last one man rose and said, ‘Who got up this meeting anyhow, and what was it for?’ He said it in a gruff voice. Then someone asked someone else to take the chair and explain the object of the meeting. I don’t remember who took the chair but the chairman said this meeting was in answer to an article in the weekly paper signed, ‘A Woman.’ I just trembled and Miss Tutwiler, who was sitting just behind me, patted me kindly on the shoulder and said in a low tone to me, ‘It is all right, Mrs. Bryce, don’t be nervous, it is all right.’ There were several speeches made and discussions followed as to how to get rid of the six liquor saloons in our city.

And that was the first prohibition meeting ever held in Tuscaloosa. I know the meeting was good for a prohibition candidate for the legislature was elected soon after.

About that time we were invited by the citizens of Northport to hold a prohibition meeting over there in the Methodist church. Dr. Bryce, Dr. Searcy, Dr. Wyman, Miss Tutwiler and I rode down to the river in a big hospital ambulance. We took our supper and ate it as we rode along.

I remember the great big steamboat, the R. E. Lee, was at the wharf and the big waves it made shook our little canoe. It was awfully muddy and slippery going down that hill and Miss Tutwiler and I got our shoes bogged, up.Our bridge had been burned by the Federals. Just as we got in the middle of the river the lantern went out and Dr. Searcy was hunting for his last match and the light from the barroom of the steamboat was blinding our eyes out there in our little canoe in the middle of the dark river.

We felt then that the handsome steamboat with its gayly lighted barroom was a strong contrast to our little boat with the five prohibitionists struggling in the dark water. We compared one to the liquor traffic and the other to the prohibition party,  feebly beating its way along. At any rate, like the prohibition cause, we got safely across. We found many of the citizens of Northport awaiting us at the landing, and one young man stepped up and said that a gentleman and lady who knew my husband and me had sent him down to invite us to supper. But it was then too late and the church was full of a waiting audience, so we had to decline with thanks this kind invitation. A good many speeches were made and I remember especially Col. Powell of Northport gave a fine address.

In December, 1883, the women of Tuscaloosa organized into a union and in January, 1884, we had a state meeting at Tuscaloosa and our union joined the State and National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Mrs. Sallie Chapin of Charleston organized the union in the Presbyterian lecture room. Mrs. Reuben Searcy was made president and Mrs. John Martin, Miss Julia Tutwiler, myself and about eighty more joined beside the children in the Band of Hope. Later on we had Miss Frances E. Willard and other distinguished women to speak at the court house to crowded houses.

It took years to get rid of the saloons. At one time in our history, when we got rid of the saloons, we had the dispensary. It was a step better than the saloon, but we wanted prohibition which we finally got. At the next election, there was a fierce fight between prohibition and the’ open saloon. But we women wrote an earnest plea to the men of our city not to allow whiskey to be brought back. This earnest cry of the women to the husbands, fathers, and brothers in Tuscaloosa was published in our city paper, we telephoned every woman in Tuscaloosa whom we could possibly reach and read the petition to them and got their permission to sign their names. Not a woman refused to let her name go on the petition!

The women met at that time at each other’s homes and prayed earnestly for deliverance from the liquor traffic. The consequence was that our city voted for “no whiskey.” Our prayers were heard by Heaven and our petition heeded by the men of our city, and from that day Tuscaloosa has been dry—both city and county.

Although there are a few blind tigers occasionally caught, mostly the negroes, we are happy to know that our beautiful University town is free from those pitfalls to ruin our young men. Many a mother’s heart rejoices over this.

In the early days we had Frances Willard and other distinguished women to speak and later on Gov. Glenn, Dr. Denny, Richmond Hobson and others. Judge H. B. Foster, Mr. Luther Maxwell and others have always stood squarely up to the cause.”

(Prepared by Mrs. Ellen Peter Bryce, and copy made from the original, in the hands of Mrs. Annie K. Weisel, President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Birmingham, Ala., 1917.)

Annual Conventions, 1882-1916

The list which follows gives the number of session, place of meeting, inclusive dates, and bibliography of the Minutes.

  • Tuscaloosa, Jan. 22-24, 1884, pp. 14.
  • Selma, Nov. 13-14, 1884, pp. 28.
  • Montgomery, Nov. 17-18, 1886, pp. 80.
  • Mobile, Dec. 1-2, 1887, pp. 86.
  • Tuscaloosa, Apr. 16-17, 1890, pp. 64.
  • Selma, Dec. 1-3, 1893, pp. 74.
  • New Decatur, Jan. 7-9, 1903, pp. 68.
  • Anniston, Nov. 9-11, 1904. pp. 50.
  • Birmingham, Dec. 5-7, 1905, pp. 49.
  • Montgomery, Oct. 16-18, 1907, pp. 52.
  • Mobile, Nov. 17-19, 1908, pp. 51.
  • Birmingham, Nov. 17-18, 1909, pp. 63.
  • Guntersville, Oct. 18-20, 1910, pp. 60.
  • New Decatur, Oct. 17-20, 1911, pp. 62.
  • Opelika, Oct. 2-4, 1912, pp. 72.
  • Mobile, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 1913, pp. 84.
  • Gadsden, Nov. 3-5. 1914, pp. 63.
  • Birmingham, Oct. 26-28, 1915, pp. 60.
  • Huntsville, Oct. 10-12, 1916, pp. 39.

Early Presidents.—

  • Mrs. L. C. Woodliff, 1884;
  • Mrs. Ellen P. Bryce. 1885-1887;
  • Mrs. M. L. Stratford, 1888-1889;
  • Mrs. J. Morgan Smith, 1890;
  • Mrs. Mattie L. Spencer, 1891-1904;
  • Mrs. Marv T. Jeffries, 1905-1907;
  • Mrs. C. M. Mullan, 1906;
  • Mrs. J. B. Chatfield. 19081911;
  • Mrs. Annie K. Weisel, 1912-1916.

SOURCES

  1. History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 2 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
  2. Wikipekia

See all historical books by Donna R. Causey

Faith and Courage: 2nd edition -A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love Book 2): Book 2 in Tapestry of Love Series In this action-packed novel, George Willson witnesses the execution of King Charles II and is forced to leave the woman he loves to witch hunters in 17th century England as he flees to his sister, Mary, and her husband Ambrose Dixons home in Colonial American. Ridden with guilt over difficult decisions he made to survive, George Willson and the Dixon’s embrace the Quaker faith which creates more problems for their survival in the New World.

Faith and Courage: 2nd edition -A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love Book 2): Book 2 in Tapestry of Love Series (Kindle Edition)


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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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129 comments

  1. Tiffani Chanel

    My great-grandmother & her 7 sisters were teetotalers and traveled all over Alabama & Georgia speaking at churches & events.

  2. Fontrella Cole

    They could have smiled for the picture.

  3. Darrell Terpo

    Looking at those frowns and I see why their husbands drank!!

  4. Linda Eyke

    Kathleen, more reference material.

  5. Marilyn Sheeley Kavanaugh

    I can remember a friend of my very tee totaling grandmother bemoaning the demise of the WCTU.

  6. Jerry Smith

    Looking at this picture motivates me to drink.

    1. Troy A. Ham

      I was trying my best not to make that comment!

    2. Don Duncan

      I choose the whiskey!

    3. Don Duncan

      I choose the whiskey!

  7. Christopher Mann

    My question is this: Looking at those women, WHO out there wants to??

  8. Buddy Hayes

    Easy choice. I’ll have another round.

  9. Daniel F Stinson

    I’m thinking I know why the men were drinking.

  10. Hayes Glenn Turpen Ellis

    That would have made take a drink

  11. Phyllis Edwards

    Don’t believe their was a problem

  12. Alex Deal

    It’d take a few to want to kiss them.

  13. DaleLee Jones

    No wonder they look sad and depressed

  14. Trey LeBlanc

    Probably why men were drinking??

  15. Mike Henderson

    Thank goodness for whiskey……lmao.

  16. Larry Darby

    They don’t look like they’re descendants of western Europe.

  17. Patricia Singleton Jandt

    Funny now but not at their time.

  18. Mike Green

    Ugliest bunch I ever saw. Hope to get a drink for sure now.

  19. George Dana Johnson

    I am sure the man will need a drink or two first.

  20. Steve Fugatt

    I couldn’t drink enough to make me even want to think about it! What bunch of sour looking, old bats!

    1. Yodie Akins

      I was going to say, man, I am surprised we didn’t go extinct. . .

    2. James Moore

      My thoughts exactly lol

    3. Jim Bryant

      Love this! My sentiments exactly!

  21. Don Blakeley

    The men might have been all that hot either…..

  22. Dave May

    I like the one right of center on first row. Soon as I get a drink , I am calling her

    1. Stephen Newell

      There’s not enough liquor in this town for me to do any of them!

  23. Gary Shannon

    I’m sure a lot of men had no problem with this .

  24. Dixie Jones Snowden

    I want that hat the one in the center back has on!

  25. Mary Self-Beeman

    Pretty sure y’all don’t have to worry about ANY lips touching yours!

  26. Stephen Newell

    If my dog had a face like theirs, I’d shave her butt and teach her to walk backwards!

  27. Patty Davis

    Wow ever considered what the men looked like and probably smelled like?

  28. Jimmy Headrick

    This should be a Jack Daniels ad.

  29. Angie Taylor

    They sure do look mean & grouchy,maybe they needed a drink to laugh a lil,lol

    1. Steve Fugatt

      Yeah, they do look a bit up tight! :p

  30. Paul Lindgren

    Those women need drinks.

  31. Stacy Dupree Grier

    There sure are some hateful comments on here. Maybe some of you should read up on your history and the hardships back in the pioneer days.

    1. Clifton Cox

      No different than today’s.

    2. Lakin Cross

      I don’t have to read about them, I lived them.

  32. Amy Parker

    I will have to dig it up, but Cullman County had one of the first rallies in 1878 or 1879. It was held in Bremen. My uncle did a newspaper write up on it in the 1950s, when he owned The Cullman Tribune.

  33. Jeff Pollard

    Sounds like a good deal to me.

  34. Ran Wilson

    So the brown paper bag served two purposes… one to carry your booze in, and the second…

  35. Frank D Beyer

    I heard they have great personalities..!!!

  36. John McGee

    From the looks of these gals, you’d have to have a few drinks to want to kiss them.

  37. John Witt

    I would steer clear of this bunch.

  38. Bubba Lee

    You couldn’t drink them ol girls pretty

  39. Ruby Smith

    All the girls today think they started the fish lip craze but the one just right of center on the front must have started it in the late 80’s. . .1880’s, that is! 🙂

  40. Mark Schoolcraft

    Well I don’t believe in doing anything to excess or more so to in temperance and correct me if I’m wrong even the good book tells us to drink thy wine for thy stomachs sake so I’m not against having a nip just against people who don’t know when to say when

  41. Marvin Hooks

    Does that include beer?

    1. Chris Wright

      I’d rather have the liquor

    2. Chris Wright

      Pollyanna Josh Darnell

  42. Steve Fugatt

    Damn you are cold!!!! :p

  43. Blake Davis

    It would take something stronger for sure!

  44. Greg Chapman

    I’m not a drinker but I think I would wet my lips with liquor to avoid them.

  45. Don Meeks

    That’s a good one John!!

  46. Jeff S Johnson

    What they should of said is “lips that touch liquor will be touching ours”. That probably would have stopped the drinking stone cold.

  47. Ian Garth McIver

    one of my mothers favourite sayings ….

  48. Jeremy Bolden

    Boy I bet they were a fun bunch to hang around.

  49. Jason Cothrum

    From the looks of this bunch I would drink on purpose.

  50. James Clay

    After looking at these women, I would have stayed drunk all the time!!!!!LOL

    1. Jason Duke

      It would take two shots of Jose to even start to ponder such a feat.

  51. Keith Williams

    There are a few other reasons ,no one will touch those lipps!

  52. Richard Healey

    That really limits the target audience to just blind people with out dogs.

  53. Laura Long Collins

    They look like a lot of fun…

  54. Tyler Walker Clark Benyo

    Ric sez…Before prohibition the federal government made up to 40% of their revenue from a tax on alcohol sales. In order to make up for the loss of revenue from the sale of liquor brought on by prohibition legislation in 1916, the federal government instituted our now famous income tax. Then the cost of WWI debt and the great depression inspired congress to repeal prohibition and re institute the tax on alcohol but keep the now widely popular (sarcasm inserted here), income tax. Thanks…I’ll drink to that!

  55. Jean Duke

    By the looks of the picture these ladies have nothing to worry about!! Lol

  56. Willie Perdue

    Give me a fifth, please,,lol.

  57. Steven Suggs

    The one in the middle is kinda hot……lol

  58. Clay Wommack

    Start of the gay movement

  59. Lakin Cross

    The problem with these women is their attitude, must really have cost them in the bedroom curriculum. A litter liquor may have made it some what a pleasure with the attention they may have created. It sure would have made those lips look more pleasant. Those lips looks like the ass end of a horse.

  60. Gene Startley
  61. Sonny R Hodges

    They sure are missing out on a lot of Good Times.

  62. Darron Taylor

    Damn that make me want to drink more

  63. Richard Alexander
  64. Mike Coupe
  65. Jim Bell

    I’ll drink to that!

  66. Rogers Parker

    Michael Parker I bet it they go to rev. Billy ray Collins the sword of Joshua independent full gospel pentecostal assembly of state road 23 on the frontage road

  67. Jimmy Lee Coleman

    Sweet weeping Jesus I’d need the whole damn bar!!!

  68. Adam Ensign

    I’ll take that offer.

  69. Christopher Kitchens

    I wonder how many raging alcoholics this picture helped create?

  70. Tim Ellis

    Wee Doggie! I guess I would have to turn to the Demon Alcohol to save myself from this crew!

  71. Jerry Barnett

    Not enough Alcohol in The State of Alabama to make me want to Kiss any of Those Sea Hags. Yuck.

  72. Don Johnson

    Good lord look at them, I ain’t never been that drunk!!!!

    1. Don Johnson

      Jimmy Lee Coleman have you notice that most all these groups like this one , and the anti abortion ladies, for lack of a better word, are people you wouldn’t want to sleep with anyway !! Lol

  73. Bubba Crisman

    Would need a stiff one to kiss one of those beauties.

  74. Dan Rodgers

    This picture is a still from a film. These women weren’t part of the temperance movement, they were making fun of it. Look at them. Don’t they seem to be going over the top on purpose?

  75. Deborah Gardner Baxter

    Who would want to kiss these ugly old hags anyway?

  76. Albert Clayton

    My thought exactly Steve Fugatt, have to be knee walking drunk to kiss one of them.

  77. Jo Peavey

    I don’t know these people!

  78. Ed Philpot

    LIKELY no one wanted to touch their lips! Lots of ugly here.

    1. Nathan Smock

      Quite a sober looking crew, no?

    2. Lindsay Herrington Stewart

      Nathan Smock I’d have to drink to get with them! Shewwwww LOL

  79. Rick Zelius

    You ugly old hags don’t have to worry about that

  80. Jeanne Hay

    They all look like they could use a drink!

  81. Ken Allen

    I’m headed to the liquor store… and FAST!

  82. Gary Pike

    Which lips we talking about?

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