W.C.T.U.

April 27th, 2009

WATSONTOWN WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION

The Watsontown Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was an organization of Christian women banded together for the protection of the home, the abolition of the liquor traffic and the triumph of Christ’s Golden Rule in custom and in law. It was organized December 12, 1884 by Miss Grace Weiser, Evangelist, in the Presbyterian Church. From a mere handful of women, with Mrs. Dr. Joseph Hunter as first president; then Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer; followed by the untiring Mrs. Dr. J.R. (Rebecca) Housel, the membership grew and became very influential. It was the desire of the organization that all women, expecially the young women, wear the White Ribbon of abstinence of alcohol. The national organization began the crusade against alcohol in 1874, in part, because of the lack of women’s civil rights. At that time, women could not vote and in most states women were not able to control their own property or have custody of their children in case of divorce. There were no legal protections for women and children, prosecutions for rape were rare, and the state-regulated “age of consent” was as low as seven. By 1894, under “home protection” the WCTU was endorsing women’s sufferage. The WCTU has proposed, supported, and helped establish: protection of women and children at home and work; women’s right to vote; shelters for abused women and children; the eight-hour work day; equal pay for equal work; founding of kindergartens; assistance in founding of the PTA; federal aid for education; stiffer penalties for sexual crimes against girls and women; uniform marriage and divorce laws; dress reform; women police officers; and much, much more.

Presidents
Mrs. Martha A. Hunter188519181951
Mrs. Martha A. Hunter188619191952
Mrs. Martha A. Hunter188719201953
Mrs. Martha A. Hunter188819211954
Mrs. Martha A. Hunter188919221955
Mrs. Martha A. Hunter189019231956
Mrs. Martha A. Hunter189119241957
Mrs. Martha A. Hunter189219251958
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer1893Mrs. Mary Wagner19261959
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer189419271960
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer189519281961
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer189619291962
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer189719301963
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer189819311964
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer189919321965
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer190019331966
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer190119341967
Mrs. Elizabeth Follmer190219351968
Mrs. Rebecca Housel190319361969
Mrs. Rebecca Housel190419371970
Mrs. Rebecca Housel190519381971
Mrs. Rebecca Housel190619391972
Mrs. Rebecca Housel190719401973
190819411974
190919421975
191019431976
191119441977
191219451978
191319461979
191419471980
191519481981
191619491982
191719501983

Last Modified: 04.27.09

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