Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Friday, June 23, 2017

Temperance Pledge- 1861

I found the certificate above in a digital archive for the Newberry Library in Chicago.  Signed in 1861 by 7 year old Ella Bosworth, it is significant for its value in understanding the temperance movement of the era.  But notice who signed this pledge certificate.  Elisha D. Smith, founder of the Menasha Wooden Ware, Menasha benefactor, and teetotaler.  As we've written here before about his donation of Smith Park to the city, he stipulated that there be a strict ban on "alcohol, circuses, gambling, sports, and dangerous machinery" at the park. What became of little Ella remains a mystery to me for now; I wonder if she fulfilled the Band of Hope Pledge for the remainder of her days, abstaining from intoxicating liquor, the use of tobacco, and all profanity.


  1. Great example of how our values have gone to hell over time. Instead of children taking the pledge, they are sent to After School Satan clubs and encouraged change their gender. God help us!

    Besides Smith, other early Menasha businessmen who where temperance workers were: P. V. Lawson, Dr. G. W. Dodge, A. J. Webster and T. T. Moulton.

    Neenah's first temperance organization was the Independent Order of Good Templars and was started in 1857. Neenah Menasha Conservator Nov. 5, 1857.

  2. I think in the 1950s there were >30 taverns and bars lining Main St and throughout Menasha. They opened at 7:00 AM to serve those papermill workers coming off the 11:00 - 7:00 shift and sponsered bowling teams and softball teams. Some of them must have been Menasha Woodenware teams. Not too much temperance in the community ... but it survived.
    Jim Krahenbuhl