“Vote Dry”
Carroll County Times Article for 11 October 1998
By Jay A. Graybeal

“Vote Dry” was a popular campaign slogan heard throughout Carroll during several early twentieth century elections.   Prohibition had been a hotly contested political issue and Carroll County voted to go dry in 1914.   Although Carroll was now dry, the subject was a bitterly contested issue in the November 1915 state election.  Local voters were urged to elect a slate of non-partisan “dry” candidates by T. M. Hare, superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of Maryland:

“The liquor traffic of Maryland knows that it is fighting in the last line of trenches.  Realizing that defeat is inevitable if the conflict is forced into the open, it is resorting to ingenious strategy to escape the impending doom.  Just now it is putting forth desperate efforts to hold control of the State Legislature.  It is counting on solid wet legislative delegations from Baltimore City and Baltimore county.   It expects to have a majority of the delegates from Anne Arundel and Allegany.  All it needs to do is to sneak in a few additional members from the counties where the dry sentiment is overwhelmingly in the majority and thus dictate the legislative policy of the state on this most important matter.  Carroll county has been selected as one of these counties where this scheme is to be worked.



In the preliminary skirmish which occurred on primary election day, the liquor traffic won an advantageous position through the nomination on the Democratic ticket of two men who will do its bidding.   On these two men, Jacob Frederick and Nathan G. Dorsey, the Carroll county wets the Democratic and Republican, will unite.  If the dry voters of Carroll county distribute their support among six candidates, with but four to elect, such action will contribute to a wet victory.  There is but one way for the prohibition forces of Carroll county to win, and that is to get unitedly back of the four candidates whose chances of election are best.  It is regrettable that this necessitates withholding support from men who are dry and who would make capable members of the Legislature, but any other course means the triumph of the wets



A thorough survey of the situation in the county convinces us that the strongest ticket possible is as follows:

JOHN B. BAKER, Democrat



FRANK ELY, Republican

We believe these men are worthy.   At least three of them have legislative records, and these records are to their credit.  And we certainly believe there is no reason why any voter of Carroll county who wants to see the victory of last November crystallized into permanency cannot support these men.   We like the ticket as above compose because it is absolutely non-partisan; and in the great fight against the liquor traffic the dry voter must learn to be as non-partisan as the wet voter has been through all the years.



If Dorsey and Frederick are elected Carroll County will have to immediately face another fight on the liquor question.   The liquor organization proposes to change the Carroll County Local Option law so that the district will be made the unit.  It believes that at least two districts of Carroll county will give wet majorities and from these districts systematic debauchery of the county can be easily carried out.



Every temperance voter of Carroll county should put this cause above partisanship and should go to the ballot box on November 2nd determined to swing into line with the dry army which won such a splendid victory last November and vote for men who will not only maintain the county as the unit for a local option vote, but will vote for legislation needed to perfect the present County Local Option Law and to submit state-wide prohibition to a vote of the people.

In behalf, not only of the homes of Carroll county but of the homes and childhood of the state, we make this appeal.  The liquor traffic will appeal to your partisanship.  We appeal to your patriotism.  If the scheme of the liquor traffic succeeds; it  will be through partisanship of good men.  Let no temperance voter of Carroll county lend aid and assistance to the foe now everywhere in retreat.”

Carroll’s voters rejected “wet” candiates Frederick and Dorsey and elected Ely and Wooden.  The Prohibition question would not be settled, however, until January 1919 with the ratification of the 18th Amendment which made the sale of alcoholic beverages illegal.  Although the temperance forces had won  a great political victory, they also ushered in the era of bootlegging and related crimes.


Photo caption: This   VOTE “DRY” FOR “MY SAKE” campaign button was worn by a supporter of prohibition in the early twentieth century.   Historical Society of Carroll County collection.