In one form or another there has been in Sullivan county a persistent movement against the liquor traffic for more than sixty years. This movement may be said to have culminated on March 3, 1909, when at the county option election, held under the law passed by the last session of the legislature, the "drys" carried the county by 1,821 majority. The six precincts which "went wet" gave only small majorities. Hamilton township voted dry by 213 majority, and Curry, where the real fight had been made between the opposing forces of saloon and anti-saloon, gave a dry majority of 146.

With the exception of the lodge of Masons at Carlisle, which maintained its organization only a few years during the twenties, it appears that the first important social organization in the county was the Sons of Temperance at Sullivan, organized about 1848. The object of the order was to promote temperance, but, being a secret order, it became more of a social organization or club than otherwise. Most of the charter members were temperate men who were not in the habit of using spirituous liquors as a beverage, but the membership contained some who would be termed at that time "moderate drinkers," and these are said to have continued their convivial custom even after initiation. However, the lodge at Sullivan had a great influence for the promotion of sobriety in the town and adjacent country and a large proportion of the citizens became members. A two-story frame hall near the southwest corner of the square was built by this order. Many of the social occasions of the time were undertaken under the auspices and leadership of this organization. The Good Templars and the Royal Templars were similar organizations that followed the Sons of Temperance, and at different localities had their following and influence.

In 1853 the legislature passed a law for the limitation and control of the liquor traffic, providing that the sale of intoxicating liquors should be under the control of a county agent, thus creating a new office in each county, and also providing that liquors should only be sold for medicinal purposes and on the prescription of a physician. But the representatives of the state in controlling the liquor business lacked, in the majority of cases, the strength and judgment of character equal to the responsibilities put upon them by the insistent drinkers, and the system was a failure.

In 1855 the legislature passed an act which was prohibitory in its nature. The manufacture, sale or drinking of spirituous and malt liquors were forbidden in the state except for medicinal uses. Sullivan county had prohibition under this act about six months, when the law was declared unconstitutional.

It was about 1872 that the Crusade Movement first set in, and in time spread like wildfire over the whole country. The women were in many localities the principal actors in this movement, and in some towns collected in parties and by intimidation and feminine suasion in many instances routed the saloon forces, caused the liquors to be poured into the gutters, and produced at least a temporary cessation of the traffic. The newspapers do not record during this time any forceful measures to stop the traffic in this county, but meetings were frequently held and the legal machinery then provided was constantly invoked to keep out saloons.

The agitation begun with the Crusade resulted in what was known as the "Baxter Bill," which produced much excitement when it was passed in 1873. At the next session it was modified and finally repealed. It provided among other things that the saloon-keeper should file with his application for license the petition of a majority of the voters at the last election in the township or ward where he desired to sell, asking that he be granted license. During the continuance of this law various ways were devised by which the law could be evaded.

The organization of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union followed as a result of the Crusade Movement of 1873, and in this, too, Sullivan county has co-operated through its local organizations. The Prohibition party, which first placed national candidates in the field during the eighties, has had adherents in this county since that time. But perhaps the most effective organization for combating the liquor traffic has been the Anti-Saloon League, which was organized about the beginning of this century, and is both a national and state organization. Though it originated as a church movement, it is in fact a general movement on the part of the people at large, under the leadership of national, state and local executive committees.

Those who desire to follow the history of the anti-saloon movement in its details in Sullivan county will find much information in the following chronological items, culled from the issues of the Democrat during the past forty years. Murray Briggs, the editor for most of this time, was in active sympathy with the movement. The dates given are the dates of issue of the Democrat.

Jan. 7, 1867-In compliance with a numerously signed petition the board of trustees of Sullivan passed an ordinance requiring $500 license of all liquor sellers.

Feb. 7, 1867-Citizens of Carlisle generally exulted over the "drying up of the last grocery" in their town. The proprietors left town, whether from public sentiment or from fear of grand jury, is somewhat uncertain.

Aug. 1, 1867-Board of trustees of Merom, Thomas Kearns president and H. H. Shideler clerk, adopted resolutions requiring saloon-keepers to pay a tax of five dollars per day for every billiard table, 10-pin or 9-pin alley, license of $100 per year for privilege of selling liquor and requiring certificate of good moral character of applicant signed by two-thirds of the legal voters of the town, and providing penalties for illegal selling and disorderly conduct.

Jan. 13, 1870-The correspondent of the New Albany Ledger, writing from Farmersburg, says: "The moral sentiment of the people is of such a character that we are without the usual appendage of a western town, a grog shop."

Aug. 12, 1870-Good Templars have organized at Carlisle.

March 13, 1872-A large number of indictments against liquor dealers are on docket, and numerous convictions. Judge Patterson takes a new departure, now adding five days in the county jail to the usual fine of $5 and costs. Prosecuting attorney also announces his intention to pursue absent witnesses with attachment and make it rather expensive to hire witnesses to stay away.

July 31, 1872-More licensed saloons in this place (Sullivan) than ever before.

Feb. 24, 1873-Meeting held in Literary hall (schoolhouse) to discuss bill providing that liquor dealers must get signatures of majority of voters in order to get license. T. J. Wolfe presided. Speeches in favor of the bill made by James L. Griffin, W. T. Crawford, J. T. Hays, Rev. W. P. Armstrong, Rev. Mr. Robertson and others. Governor Hendricks was telegraphed that Sullivan county approved the law.

June, 1873 - Two licenses granted in Sullivan under the new law.

June 14, 1873-Last day for the saloon in Carlisle.

April 6, 1874-Temperance meeting at the Presbyterian church was rather more spirited than usual. Speeches made by Hays, Crawford and Kildow. Effort had been made in March by the women to secure an effective remonstrance.

Aug. 12, 1874-"To the county commissioners of Sullivan county: I hereby notify you that I am opposed to granting any more permits to any person to sell liquor in this the ____ ward of Sullivan for the space of one year, and any petition bearing my name will be without my knowledge or consent." This was signed by about two-thirds of the voters, including nearly all the men of prominence in the town about that time.

Sept. 9, 1874-Intense interest centered in the applications for liquor license under the Baxter law. At the last municipal election in this place, under the ruling of the attorney general, but one polling place was opened and all the votes taken there instead of by wards as formerly. The applicants claim this was unconstitutional, and the petitions were made up on the basis of the election of 1873 and the applications arc claimed to be signed by a majority of the voters in the wards as shown by the poll books of that election. Senator Voorhees appeared as legal counsel for the applicants, and N. G. Buff for the temperance men. The permits were granted.

Sept. 23, 1874-Licenses granted in Sullivan and Shelburn.

Dec. 30, 1874-The Sullivan Amateurs have made arrangements to bring out the popular play of "Ten Nights in the Bar Room" in fine style at Literary Hall. They purpose to give two entertainments, presenting this play and a new moral drama entitled "The Fruits of the Wine Cup."

May 5, 1875-Temperance ticket nominated, and the following officers elected on that ticket: Trustees, James A. Catlin, A. B. Stansil, Uriah Coulson, Thos. Robbins, J. R. McKinley. Only one office won by the opposing ticket.

June 9, 1875-Town board passed ordinance making license fee $100, the highest allowed by the state law.

June 16, 1875-About $1,000 from liquor licenses added to the tuition fund of this county.

Aug. 29, 1877-Murphy or blue ribbon temperance movement has been inaugurated here and meetings held for the past week. Four hundred have signed pledge.

Oct. 24, 1877-Luther Benson lectured at court house last week. Audience spellbound for an hour and a half. Mr. John Lee for a week has been conducting successful meetings on the Murphy plan at Carlisle. About 160 signers of the pledge, probably fifty of whom were regular drinkers. The damage to the saloon business has aroused keepers to point of retaliation, though the speaker was most gentle in manner and, moreover, frail in health. As he was leaving town several men followed him to the train and assaulted him.

Nov. 14, 1877-Audience room at M. E. church nightly crowded, and people who never before went to temperance meetings attend regularly and hundreds have pinned on the blue ribbon. Messrs. Shelby and Black are conducting the meetings with wonderful success.

Nov. 28, 1877-Shelby-Black meetings followed by weekly meetings at different churches. Executive committee have arranged series of meetings in surrounding towns and all the school districts.

Dec. 15, 1877-Meetings still well attended. Middletown and Fairbanks movement highly popular: at New Lebanon, 78 signers on Sunday night, and Monday 37 more.

Dec. 26, 1877-Various societies of the county report 2.881 signers.

Feb. 13, 1878-Front doors of saloons freely used on Sunday.

March 30, 1878-County convention held at the court house. Lafayette Stewart chosen president. Rev. Taylor, A. D. Murphy and Prof. George W. Register, secretaries, N. Conkle of Farmersburg and Smith Greenfield of Carlisle vice presidents. A permanent organization was effected. A resolution passed promising continued diligence and disclaiming all intention to permit the organization to enter politics. Thirty clubs reported 5,000 signers of the pledge. The number of signers in Sullivan brought up to 994.

April 10. 1878-No saloons in Turman township.

July 10, 1878-On the 4th a temperance rally held at Sullivan, at which speeches patriotic and in the interests of temperance were made by the president of the county association, by John Springer of Jacksonville, Ill.; by Mrs. William Denny of Vincennes, by Luther Benson, and by John Billman and Captain Crawford. Great satisfaction was expressed that in a crowd of eight or ten thousand not a single drunken man was seen, and no disturbance of any kind.

Sept. 25, 1878 - Association at Sullivan resumed meetings. Messrs. Hoke and Sherman tendered the use of the opera house for the meetings.

Oct. 9, 1878-Executive committee for the ensuing year appointed-J. R. McKinley chairman, A. D. Murphy secretary and John Thompson treasurer.

1878-79-Interest in meetings declined during this winter, and the organization became inactive for a time. In February, 1879, it was reported that Sullivan was making no attempt to enforce closing ordinances.

May 10, 1879-County convention re-elects Lafayette Stewart and A. D. Stewart president and secretary of the county association.

Dec. 10, 1879-Last week we published an application for a liquor license in Farmersburg. Within 24 hours after the reception of the paper containing the advertisement every citizen in town had signed a remonstrance.

Feb. 22, 1882-Good Templars met in convention at New Lebanon, 26 delegates, three-fourths of whom were voters. Resolved to support no candidates who would not pledge themselves to vote for an amendment providing state prohibition.

March 4, 1884-W. C. T. U. is trying to prevent the two saloon-keepers in Carlisle from obtaining licenses.

March 7, 1884-Fight against saloon-keepers in Carlisle successful.

May 30, 1884-W. C. T. U. circulating petition in Sullivan among the women asking commissioners to refuse all applications for license.

June 6, 1884-About 50 ladies of the W. C. T. U. attended commissioners' court and succeeded in preventing issuance of licenses to all applicants but two.

June 27, 1884-Ladies went to Merom to organize W. C. T. U.

Aug. 26, 1884-W. C. T. U. brought Mrs. Josephine R. Nichols to address the teachers' institute and secured resolution recommending the passage of a law requiring instruction on the effects of alcohol to be given in the public schools.

July 29, 1884-Branch of the W. C. T. U. organized among the young ladies of Sullivan.

Nov. 9, 1891-The first Demorest medal contest won by Ethel Ireland. Meeting held to consider the organization of a W. C. T. U. (The old association had apparently ceased.)

March 3, 1896-Commissioners hold that remonstrance should be directed against individual applicants; the judge of the circuit court that it should be against any and all persons desiring to sell liquor.

June 5, 1896-License refused in Jackson township because of remonstrance signed by over 400 voters.

June 27, 1901-Compromise effected between the Anti-Saloon League and the saloon-keepers in the form of an agreement that the saloon-keepers will respect the Nicholson law in regard to closing from 11 p. m. to 5 a. m. and on Sundays, during which time no liquor will be sold or given away. Also will permit no gambling or unlawful games of any sort, and allow saloons to be inspected at any time by members of the league. The league agreed to suspend all remonstrances so long as the saloon-keepers kept faith. The agreement was signed by five leading saloon men, and remonstrances may be filed against those who do not sign.

Dec. 12, 1901-The Cass township remonstrance, signed by 350 voters, has been held valid. This leaves Cass township without a saloon.

Feb. 6, 1902-The people of Cass township have filed 12 remonstrances in 13 months.

June 19, 1902-Remonstrance being circulated in Hamilton township. Effort being made to induce majority of voters to give power of attorney to Joshua Beasley and William H. Crowder, Sr., to sign names on remonstrances against any and all applicants for saloons.

Sept. 11, 1902-Remonstrance held good in Hamilton township. The saloon men having caused almost every man who signed remonstrance to be summoned as witness, the temperance people made it the occasion for a rally in the court house yard. Free lunch was served to all, and speeches made by ministers and citizens. The decision has closed all but four saloons in Sullivan.

Dec. 25, 1902-The supreme court sustains the power of attorney in the remonstrance against the liquor traffic. A remonstrance had been signed by John Ragle et al. against John Mattix in Jackson township in the spring of 1900, and the commissioners refused the license. This action was reversed by the Sullivan circuit court on the ground that the remonstrance did not mention Mattix, but was directed against all applicants. The supreme court upheld the validity of this form of remonstrance.

Jan. 8, 1903-Haddon township successfully remonstrates against two saloons.

July 9, 1903-Remonstrance sustained in Hamilton township; leaves but two licenses in Sullivan.

Sept. 17, 1903-Temperance forces defeated in Hamilton township, leaving eight saloons in Sullivan.

Sept. 15, 1904 - Commissioners grant 15 licenses. Remonstrance in Jefferson township again successful; no saloons there in many years.

March 16, 1905-Paper being circulated to give A. E. Hazelrigg and W. H. Crowder power of attorney to sign names of petitioners to all remonstrances against those who apply for license to sell liquor outside of business district in Sullivan.

May 4, 1905-Several applicants for license in Cass township refused because of remonstrance.

Aug. 10, 1905-Licenses granted to sell liquor in Sullivan, Shelburn and other places. Gill township was the first in the county to file remonstrance under the Moore law, and it proved effective.

July 20, 1905-Meeting of representatives from Curry, Hamilton, Jackson, Haddon and Gill townships organize a Sullivan County Law and Order League, W. D. Scott chosen president of the Hamilton township branch.

Feb. 15, 1906-Sullivan one of the few counties in the state in which saloons have increased in the past year, the number having increased from 55 to 64. This is due no doubt to the growth of mining camps. Dugger, a mining town, has no saloons, and all Cass township is dry under the Moore law.

Sept. 6, 1906-Remonstrance signed by 578 persons filed by Curry township, a majority of 67. At present there are 64 saloons in the county, 22 being in Curry township.

April 4, 1907-Fairbanks township now dry.