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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND CITY TEMPERANCE SOCIETY

CLEVELAND CITY TEMPERANCE SOCIETY

The CLEVELAND CITY TEMPERANCE SOCIETY was organized on 15 March 1836 at the OLD STONE CHURCH. Five gentlemen reformers met and pledged to form a society based upon the principles of total abstinence. According to the 16 March 1836 edition of the CLEVELAND WHIG, the meeting appointed a committee ". . . to obtain the statistics of intemperance in this city." On 29 March 1836, the following men were elected officers: Frederick Whittlesey, president; David H. Beardsley, 1st vice-president; Gordon Fitch, 2nd vice-president; JOHN A. FOOTE, secretary; and John Blair, treasurer. Meetings for the Society were open to the public and consisted of addresses and featured speakers, usually clergymen. By 1837 the society claimed to have a membership of 260, and on 1 Dec. 1837 presented and published "Statistics of Intemperance," an investigation into the quantities and locations of "spirits" sold in Cuyahoga County. By 1841 the society branched off into safety committees and affiliates, including the Friends of Temperance and the Cuyahoga County Total Abstinence Society, which was headed by former society secretary John A. Foote. At its anniversary meeting in March of 1843, the society proudly reported to have 1,500 members, and that, ". . . [w]hen established in 1836, there were 99 places in the city where intoxicating drinks were sold; but now there are only 8 such places."