June 2d Monday This morning being washing day I had to
work about house and have not sewed much
all day Miss Linscott returned this morning
(I think her to be a very pleasant girl)
Worked in the flower garden a couple hours
this afternoon Have carried my bonnet to
S Copeland to have it sewed over. Spent most
of the afternoon in the other part of the house. Very pleasant
Pleasant skies and a light breeze made for easy drying of the Monday laundry. Old Oliver reported that “it was cloudy + cool in the fore noon + fair + warm in the afternoon wind southwest + west.” He also noted that “Mr Buck went to Ohio.” Who was Mr. Buck? There were many by that name in Easton at the time.
In nearby Maine, something historic happened today, something that surely pleased Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames Jr.. Maine became the first state to enact a statewide prohibition on the sale or manufacture of alcoholic beverages. Known as the “Maine Law,” the legislation was spearheaded by Neal Dow, the mayor of Portland, and signed by John Hubbard, governor of the state. The men became known respectively as the “Napoleon of Temperance” and the “Father of Prohibition.” Neal Dow, a Temperance Whig, was particularly prominent in his life-long campaign to rid the country of drink.
The vote in Maine was a result of an aggressive effort by temperance advocates across the country to stop the sale of alcohol. No headway had been made on the national level, so activists had organized to effect change at the state and county level, an effort that resulted in some short-term success and much long-term failure. They had their work cut out for them. During the 19th century, the average American consumed at least three times more alcohol than the average American in the 21st.**
Dow’s legislation didn’t hold up. Enforcement was inadequate, bootlegging became rampant and the law was repealed in 1858. The sale of alcohol resumed. The battle in Maine had ended, but the national war over alcohol would last well into the 20th century.
* Neal Dow (1804 – 1897), the “Napoleon of Temperance”
One thought on “June 2, 1851”
Banning alcohol isn’t the answer of course but the disease of alcoholism continues to this day to exact a devastating toll.