“The Sandyville Loyal Temperance Legion”

Carroll County Times article for 23 January 1994

By Jay Graybeal

The Historical Society of Carroll County recently acquired a fascinating notebook kept from 1916-1918 by a young Patapsco woman, Catherine Rebecca Greene. Miss Greene recorded numerous prohibition, patriotic, women’s suffrage and religious songs which help to document her activities as a member of the Sandyville Loyal Temperance Legion (S. L. T. L.). The Legion was organized to campaign for prohibition in Carroll County; their motto was, “My head, my heart, and this right hand for God, and for home and native land.

Although temperance societies had existed in Carroll County in the 1840s, the movement did not achieve broad public support until the early twentieth century. Carroll Countians tackled the issue, known as “Local Option,” in the 1914 election. The question placed before the voters was, “Shall This County Become Anti-Saloon Territory?” The measure passed in nearly every election district with a vote of 4, 233 “Drys” against 3,017 “Wets.” Only the voters of the Manchester District voted wet. No doubt these men were descendants of earlier residents who, in 1837, expressed their view on the formation of Carroll County by hauling a cannon to the top of “Catholic” Hill and firing it in the direction of Westminster.

Local Option was again on the ballot in 1916 and it was during this election that Miss Greene began her notebook on the Sandyville organization. To become a member, she took the Legion’s Pledge: “Trusting in God’s help, I solemnly promise to abstain from the use of Alcoholic drinks including wine, beer and cider; from the use of tobacco in any form and from profanity.” She also learned “A Temperance Prayer.” “Our Father, forgive our indifference to the ravages of strong drink. May we not seek to compromise with it, but to abolish it from our land. Help us in this to see the right and without fear to do our part in the worldwide movement against the curse of drink.”

Recorded in Miss Greene’s notebook are the organization’s “Yells” performed at meetings, parades and political rallies:

“Pro, hi, bi, ti, on tie on to Prohibition.
I can’t vote,
neither can Ma.
If the County goes wet,
blame it on Pa.

Who are we,
can you tell?
We are the Sandyville L. T. L.
Are we in it?
Yes we are.
Sandyville Legioners,
Rah, Rah, Rah.

Saloons must go.
Maryland, Maryland,
She says so.

Prohibition once,
Prohibition twice
Statewide Prohibition
Isn’t that nice?
1917 My! My! My!
1918 Dry! Dry! Dry!
You all want her dry
That’s the reason why.

Beer and whisky,
They’re a curse.
We drink water,
Safety first.”

A typical S. L. T. L. meeting had the members singing on three occasions and Miss Greene recorded a number of songs in her notebook including, “The New Battle Cry of Freedom,” “When the U. S. Does Go Dry,” “Pulverize the Grog Shops,” “Dry Clean Maryland Where You Are,” “We Want a Temperance U. S. A.,” “Prohibition’s Coming,” “De Brewer’s Big Auto,” and the “L. T. L. Marching Song.” The Temperance Movement was closely linked with the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the Legioners sang “Give the Vote to the Mothers.” Sung the the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” this song called for the mother’s vote to be hurled against the enemies of childhood.
Miss Greene and others worked very hard throughout the county and Local Option passed again, however, the 1216 majority of votes achieved in 1914 shrunk to only 680. Most of the gains by wets were in the Taneytown, Berrett and New Windsor Election Districts.

Following the 1916 victory, the S. L. T. L. remained active and worked toward statewide and national prohibition. The 1917 officers were: Sterling Caple, President; Miss Kathryn, 1st Vice-President; George Stoner, 2nd Vice-President; Harry Greene, Treasurer; Holmes Lockard, Secretary; Lester Caple, Assistant Secretary; Leslie G. Heagy and Ruth Caple, Sandymount Librarians and Ruth B. Caple and Kenneth Devilbiss, Pleasant Grove Librarians.

America’s entry into World War I in April 1917, focused attention on war work and the S. L. T. L. added patriotic songs to its repertoire. Miss Greene recorded popular songs of the day including, “We’re Coming,” “In France Land,” “We’ll March Across the Rhine,” “It’s a Long Long Way to Tipperary,” “Over There,” “Pack Up Your Troubles,” “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” “There’s a Long Long Trail,” “Joan of Arc,” “Army Bean Tune,” “K-K-K-Katy,” “Li’l Liza Jane,” “Good Morning Mr. Zip-Zip Zip,” “A Perfect Day,” “Long Boy,” “Good-Bye Broadway, Hello France,” “Liberty Bell,” “Where Do We Go From Here?,” “The Last Long Mile,” “Somewhere a Voice is Calling,” “The Sunshine of your Smile,” “Keep Your Head Down, Fritzie Boy,” “When Yankee Doodle Learns to Parley-vous Francais,” and “The Caissons Go Rolling Along.”

The Prohibition Movement achieved its national goal with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment on January 29, 1919. With their work accomplished, the Temperance Legions passed into history.

Sidebar Caption: Special Exhibition
Carroll County and the Great War for Civilization, 1917-1919
Historical Society of Carroll County
Shriver-Weybright Auditorium
210 East Main Street, Westminster
Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sundays, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Exhibition continues through March 31st
Photo Caption: “Local Option” campaign buttons worn by local “Wets” and “Drys” during the 1914 and 1916 Elections. Carroll County voters chose to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages in both elections. These buttons are currently on display as part of the Historical Society’s special exhibition “Carroll County and the Great War for Civilization, 1917-1919.” Historical Society of Carroll County collection.