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Day, Albert (06 October 1812–26 April 1894), physician, temperance advocate, legislator, and leader in the treatment of inebriety, was born in Wells, Maine, the son of Nahum Day and Persis Weeks. Little is known about Day’s family or his youth; his father died early, forcing Day to earn a living and save his studying for the evening....

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Neal Dow. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90764).

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Dow, Neal (20 March 1804–02 October 1897), politician and social reformer, was born in Portland, Maine, the son of Josiah Dow and Dorcas Allen, operators of a tanning business. He received a basic education at the Portland Academy and later at the Friends’ Academy in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He also received an education in social involvement from his parents, who were ardent Quakers, committed to various types of social reform. As a child Neal witnessed escaped slaves moving through his home, which was a station on the Underground Railroad. His father traveled widely in New England in the interests of antislavery, with the support of the Society of Friends. Dow wanted to attend college and become a lawyer, but his parents objected, so he went into partnership with his father in the family business. In 1830 he married Maria Cornelia Durant Maynard; they had nine children, five of whom survived to adulthood....

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Fairbanks, Erastus (28 October 1792–20 November 1864), governor of Vermont, businessman, and antislavery and temperance leader, was born in Brimfield, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Fairbanks, a farmer, carpenter, and mill owner, and Phebe Paddock. He received a limited public school education in Brimfield. Erastus taught school himself for a time before moving north with his family to St. Johnsbury, Vermont. In 1815 he married Lois C. Crossman, with whom he had eight children. Three years earlier, at the invitation of his uncle, Judge Ephriam Paddock, Fairbanks began reading the law in Paddock’s office. Fairbanks was soon compelled to quit his legal studies, reportedly owing to poor eyesight. He instead became a merchant, operating country stores in the towns of Wheelock, Barnet, and East St. Johnsbury for eleven years while establishing “a reputation for absolute integrity and for interest in anything that concerned the public welfare” (Ullery, p. 89)....

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St. John, John Pierce (25 February 1833–31 August 1916), governor of Kansas and Prohibitionist, was born in Brookville, Indiana, the son of Samuel St. John and Sophia Snell, farmers. He attended country schools in Indiana, receiving a rudimentary education. Owing to his father’s fondness for alcohol, the family suffered economically, and during his teens he was forced to support himself by working in a store. Later in life St. John recalled, “Boy as I was, I hated the demon, Drink, that had made such a change in my father, had broken my mother’s heart, and darkened my boyhood’s home” (Headley, pp. 776–77). In 1847 he moved with his parents to Olney, Illinois, where at the age of nineteen he married Mary Jane Brewer. Two months after the marriage St. John left his wife and departed for California. This marriage produced one child and ended in divorce in 1859....