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Good Templars Lodge

The Independent Order of Good Templars (I.O.G.T.) is an International Temperance Brotherhood. Its main object is to secure personal abstinence from the use of all intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and the prohibition of the manufacture, importation and sale of intoxicating drinks. Its great aim is to secure a sober world, where peoples shall be free from the blight of intemperance, and in whose commerce no intoxicating liquors shall have a place. — William W. Turnbull, 1901

A Good Templars Lodge was organized in town and all the nice, older people in town joined it. — Pioneer Girl

noteThere were two qualifications for membership in an Good Templars Lodge: (1) belief in the existence of Almighty God; and (2) willingness to take the life-long pledge of the Order: “No member shall make, buy sell, use, furnish, or cause to be furnished to others, as a beverage, any spirituous or malt liquors, wine or cider; and every member shall discountenance the manufacture, sale and use thereof in all proper ways.” It was not an oath, but a faithful promise. In addition to the pledge, members promised to (1) render cheerful obedience to all laws, rules, and usages of the Order; (2) to keep secret the private work and business of the order; (3) to act in a brotherly way to fellow members; and (4) to do all in his power to promote the good of the Order and to advance the cause of Temperance by means of the Order.

The Good Templars Lodge in Walnut Grove was organized in April 1878, with fourteen members, including Charles and Caroline Ingalls. Meetings were held in Masters Hall, the home of Samuel O. Masters in Walnut Grove. By the end of the year, there were over fifty members and prospects were good for many more joining. All classes of people of all religions and all ages were encouraged to join, and there were many youth organizations affiliated with the Good Templars. While meetings weren’t religious in content, an open Bible was present at all times and prayers opened and closed each meeting. The Lodge held a carnival in December of that year.

In By the Shores of Silver Lake (Chapter 27, “Living in Town”), Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote that there was a saloon in town and newspapers frequently wrote about the evils of drink, but a Good Templars Lodge wasn’t organized in De Smet until 1889. It is not known if the Caroline and Charles Ingallses and/or the Wilders were members, although the De Smet Leader (May 3, 1890) reported that I.O.G.T. officers for the next quarter had been elected, and Carrie Ingalls is listed as Chaplain.


Good Templars Lodge (PG)