Wednesday April 23, 2014

Temperance and “prohibition movements song book

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Roy Lanaway, who works with the City of Yorkton, bought the song book at a garage sale some years ago. He was interested in it since he has a Temperance Certificate signed by his grandmother in the 1890's. She was born in Toronto, moved with her husband to her father's homestead in Lorlie (southwest of Melville)in 1910 and was active in the movement locally. This song book was published in 1892 in the US and is typical of books and pamphlets created to support the temperance movement.

Canadian Temperance and Prohibitionist groups relied very much on American publications in the propagation of their cause to close down the bars and liquor stores, since the movements had started earlier in the United States.

Here are excerpts from a few songs out of the book:

1. Down in the Licensed Saloon

Where is my wandering boy tonight!

Down in the Licensed Saloon.

Learning new vices all the night long

Listening to the harlots' foul song

Down in the licensed saloon.

2. Don't Let the Women vote

Those Temp'rance men do all they can,

To keep their cause afloat;

I have no fear of what they may do,

So long as the women don't vote.

Don't let the women vote!

Don't let the women vote!

3. The Temperance Ball

The boys and young men of the nation,

Are drifting away into sin;

Saloons lure them on by temptation,

To places they never have been.

Then fathers and mothers, come aid us

Before your own children shall fall;

And though the saloon men upbraid us,

We'll roll on the Temperance Ball.

(Note: In the first verse, "the harlots' foul song" did not happen in early Western Canadian bars as these did not have pianos, hired singers and women were not allowed to enter. No doubt, at times the odd customer did impromptu entertaining!)

In the coming several weeks, we will continue the saga of Prohibition in Saskatchewan.

Contact Terri Lefebvre Prince, Heritage Researcher,
City of Yorkton Archives,
Box 400, 37 Third Avenue North
Yorkton, Sask. S3N 2W3



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