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Arthur, Timothy Shay (1809-1885), editor, temperance crusader, and novelist  

Claudia Durst Johnson

Arthur, Timothy Shay (06 June 1809–06 March 1885), editor, temperance crusader, and novelist, was born in Orange County, New York, the son of William Arthur and Anna Shay, occupations unknown. He was named for his maternal grandfather, Timothy Shay, an officer in the revolutionary war. By his mid-twenties, Arthur had yet to identify a profession or receive an education. In the 1830s, however, he began an intense program of self-education as well as a writing career as a journalist in Baltimore, where he quickly became a well-known and articulate champion of numerous social causes including temperance, Swedenborgianism, feminism, and socialism. In 1836 he married Eliza Alden; they had seven children....


Bloomer, Amelia Jenks (27 May 1818–30 December 1894), temperance and women's rights reformer and editor  

Kathleen Feeney

Bloomer, Amelia Jenks (27 May 1818–30 December 1894), temperance and women's rights reformer and editor, temperance and women’s rights reformer and editor, was born in Homer, New York, the daughter of Ananias Jenks, a clothier, and Lucy Webb. She received a basic education in Homer’s district schools and by the age of seventeen was teaching in Clyde, New York. After a year of teaching, Bloomer became a governess and tutor for a Waterloo, New York, family....


Bolton, Sarah Knowles (1841-1916), writer and reform activist  

Sherrie A. Inness

Bolton, Sarah Knowles (15 September 1841–20 February 1916), writer and reform activist, was born in Farmington, Connecticut, the daughter of John Segar Knowles and Elizabeth Miller, farmers. Bolton was a descendant, on her father’s side, of Joseph Jenckes, a governor of Rhode Island (1772–1732), and on her mother’s side, a descendant of Nathaniel Stanley, a treasurer of the Connecticut Colony....


Boole, Ella Alexander (1858-1952), temperance reformer  

Sheryl A. Kujawa

Boole, Ella Alexander (26 July 1858–13 March 1952), temperance reformer, was born in Van Wert, Ohio, the daughter of Isaac Newton Alexander, a lawyer, and Rebecca Alban. Both parents were born in Ohio and were committed Presbyterians and social reformers. Ella attended the Van Wert public schools and the College of Wooster, where she received A.B. and A.M. degrees in classics. She graduated second in her class and taught in the local high school for five years after college. On 3 July 1883 she married William H. Boole, a twice-widowed, prominent Methodist minister and cofounder of the Prohibition party. After her marriage she joined the Methodist church and moved to her husband’s pastorate in Brooklyn, New York. There she had one daughter and raised two stepdaughters from her husband’s previous marriages....


Cover Boole, Ella Alexander (1858-1952)

Boole, Ella Alexander (1858-1952)  


Ella A. Boole. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-107372).


Brooks, Walter Henderson (1851-1945), clergyman, temperance leader, and poet  

Adam Biggs

Brooks, Walter Henderson (30 August 1851–06 July 1945), clergyman, temperance leader, and poet, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Albert Royal Brooks and Lucy Goode, slaves. Brooks’s father was an enterprising slave who owned his own “snack house” and a livery business that brought him into contact with some of Virginia’s wealthiest citizens, including his wife’s owner, German consul Daniel Von Groning. Albert Brooks purchased his wife’s freedom in 1862 for $800. Still a slave, Walter Brooks at age seven was sold to the Turpin & Yarborough tobacco firm. He woefully recalled his time there, writing: “It was all I could do to perform the task assigned to my little hands. What I do remember is that I stood in mortal fear of ‘the consequences’ of failing to do what was required of me.” When the Richmond manufacturer fell victim to wartime economic decline, Brooks was allowed to reside with his mother and began working in hotels, boardinghouses, and restaurants. In his youth he acquired the doctrines that served as the foundation for his life’s work. He learned temperance from his pastor, the Reverend ...


Burger, Nelle Gilham Lemon (1869-1957), temperance leader  

Mary K. Dains

Burger, Nelle Gilham Lemon (27 July 1869–24 December 1957), temperance leader, was born Nelle Gilham Lemons in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Charles J. Lemons and Irene C. Jacobs. Their occupations are unknown. When Nelle was ten the family moved to Roodhouse, Illinois, where she began attending public schools and graduated from high school with honors. She then began teaching in area public schools. Two years later, on 1 September 1886, she married Charles A. Burger, an engineer....


Cannon, James, Jr. (1864-1944), southern Methodist bishop and temperance crusader  

Michael R. McCoy

Cannon, James, Jr. (13 November 1864–06 September 1944), southern Methodist bishop and temperance crusader, was born in Salisbury, Maryland, the son of James Cannon and Lydia Robertson Primrose, merchants. The family was prosperous and prominent in Delaware, where James’s uncle, William Cannon, was governor from 1863 to 1865. Possessed of strong southern sympathies, the Cannons moved to Salisbury, Maryland, at the time of the Civil War, where the family business continued to thrive. Longtime Methodists, the family abandoned the Methodist Episcopal church and helped to found the local congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. They were active in this congregation, in the Democratic party, and in the emerging local temperance movement....


Carse, Matilda Bradley (1835-1917), temperance worker, editor, and entrepreneur  

Ruth Bordin

Carse, Matilda Bradley (19 November 1835–03 June 1917), temperance worker, editor, and entrepreneur, was born near Belfast, Ireland, the daughter of John Bradley and Catherine Cleland, Scottish merchants whose ancestors had migrated to Ireland in the seventeenth century. Educated in Ireland, Carse emigrated in 1858 to Chicago. In 1861 she married Thomas Carse, a railroad manager with whom she had three sons. After her husband’s death in 1870, her youngest son was killed by a drunken drayman, propelling Carse into the temperance cause just as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was organizing. She devoted much of the rest of her life to business and volunteer activities related to that organization....


Chapin, Sarah Flournoy Moore (14 March 1830?–19 April 1896), reformer and temperance worker  

Ruth Bordin

Chapin, Sarah Flournoy Moore (14 March 1830?–19 April 1896), reformer and temperance worker, known by the nickname Sallie, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the daughter of George Washington Moore, a wealthy Methodist minister, and Elizabeth Martha (Vigneron) Simons, who was of Rhode Island Huguenot ancestry. Sallie spent her childhood in Cokesbury, South Carolina, where she was educated at the Cokesbury Academy. In 1847 she married Leonard Chapin, a prominent Charleston businessman and philanthropist who was instrumental in founding the Charleston Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). They had one adopted child....


Cheever, George Barrell (1807-1890), clergyman and reformer  

John Stauffer

Cheever, George Barrell (17 April 1807–01 October 1890), clergyman and reformer, was born in Hallowell, Maine, the son of Nathaniel Cheever II, a printer and bookseller, and Charlotte Barrell. He was one of five children in a prosperous family. His father died when he was twelve, and he became extremely close to his mother, whose ardent Congregational faith significantly shaped his career. He entered Bowdoin College in 1821 and was a classmate of ...


Cherrington, Ernest Hurst (1877-1950), temperance reformer and Methodist layman  

Jack S. Blocker

Cherrington, Ernest Hurst (24 November 1877–13 March 1950), temperance reformer and Methodist layman, was born in Hamden, Ohio, the son of George Cherrington, a Methodist clergyman, and Elizabeth Ophelia Paine. After attending the preparatory department of Ohio Wesleyan University (1893–1897), Cherrington taught school in Ross County, Ohio, and edited the ...


Comstock, Elizabeth Leslie Rous Wright (1815-1891), Quaker minister and reformer  

Thomas D. Hamm

Comstock, Elizabeth Leslie Rous Wright (30 October 1815–03 August 1891), Quaker minister and reformer, was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, the daughter of William Rous, a shopkeeper, and Mary Kekwick. Her parents were Quakers with family ties to the Society of Friends going back to the seventeenth century. They reared her in a strict Quaker atmosphere, an upbringing reinforced by education in Quaker schools at Islington and Croyden. In 1839 Elizabeth Rous returned to Croyden as a teacher; in 1842 she joined the staff of the Friends school at Ackworth. She remained there until her marriage in 1848 to Leslie Wright, a Quaker market gardener of Walthamstow in Essex. They had one child. After her husband’s death in 1851, Elizabeth Wright kept a shop for a time at Bakewell in Devonshire. In 1854 she immigrated with her daughter and an unmarried sister to Belleville, Ontario. Four years later she married John T. Comstock, a prosperous Quaker farmer of Rollin, Michigan, where Elizabeth Comstock and her daughter moved....


Crothers, Thomas Davison (1842-1918), pioneer physician in the medical treatment of inebriety, temperance advocate, and editor  

Sarah W. Tracy

Crothers, Thomas Davison (21 September 1842–12 January 1918), pioneer physician in the medical treatment of inebriety, temperance advocate, and editor, was born in West Charlton, New York, the son of Robert Crothers and Electra Smith. Members of Crothers’s family had taught surgery and medicine at Edinburgh University since the eighteenth century, and, with this influence, after attending the Fort Edward Seminary, he enrolled in Albany Medical College in 1862. With the outbreak of the Civil War Crothers signed on as a medical cadet at the Ira Harris Military College. Awarded his M.D. in 1865, Crothers continued his studies at Long Island College Hospital until he began his medical practice in West Galway, New York, in 1866. Four years later Crothers left West Galway for Albany, where, at his alma mater, he became assistant to the chair of the practice of medicine, lecturer on hygiene, and instructor in physical diagnosis. In 1875 he married Sarah Walton; the couple had no children. He also took a new position in Binghamton, New York, home of the nation’s first hospital for inebriates, the New York State Inebriate Asylum. There Crothers received his formal introduction to the medical treatment of inebriety. In 1878 he established his own private inebriate asylum in Hartford, Connecticut, the Walnut Hill Asylum (known after 1880 as the Walnut Lodge Hospital)....


Day, Albert (1812-1894), physician, temperance advocate, legislator, and leader in the treatment of inebriety  

Sarah W. Tracy

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....


Delavan, Edward Cornelius (1793-1871), antiliquor leader  

W. J. Rorabaugh

Delavan, Edward Cornelius (06 January 1793–15 January 1871), antiliquor leader, was born in Franklin, Westchester County, New York, the son of Stephen Delavan (occupation unknown) and Hannah Wallace. After his father died, the family moved to Albany, where the boy became an apprentice printer at Whiting, Backus & Whiting, from 1802 to 1806. He then attended the Reverend Samuel Blatchford’s school in Lansingburgh for two years....


Dow, Neal (1804-1897), politician and social reformer  

William H. Brackney

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....


Cover Dow, Neal (1804-1897)
Neal Dow. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90764).


Everett, Robert (1791-1875), Congregational minister, publisher, and reformer  

Maldwyn A. Jones

Everett, Robert (02 January 1791–25 February 1875), Congregational minister, publisher, and reformer, was born in Gronant, North Wales, the son of Lewis Everett and Jane Parry. The manager of a lead mine, Lewis Everett was also a Congregational lay preacher who raised his eleven children in a deeply religious atmosphere. Having decided at eighteen to enter the ministry, Robert studied theology at the Independent College at Wrexham and in 1815 was ordained pastor of the Swan Lane Welsh Congregational Church at Denbigh....


Fairbanks, Erastus (1792-1864), governor of Vermont, businessman, and antislavery and temperance leader  

David Michlovitz

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)....