Reflections: Women’s movement in 1874


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist



We are observing Women’s History Month, 2021. But in 1874, the women’s movement had a totally different purpose.

According to a story in the Cardington Independent dated March, 1874, a group of Cardington ladies traveled to Columbus to a meeting of the “Friends of Temperance” meeting and organizational advice.

Returning to Cardington the ladies met with local pastors and following prayer, they set out to visit the village’s saloons and grocery stores.

Note: I could not find a reason in the story for a visit to the grocery stores.

The marched two and two to the saloon and billiard room of E. S. Badger who met them at the door and refused entrance. Undaunted they knelt in front of the store and sang. then they formed a line to the grocery store of J W Ryan where they were kindly met and invited in where hymns were sung.

Moving to the bakery and saloon of C. H. Baltz, they were again denied admittance. They returned to the church and following more singing and praying, the ladies visited the grocery store of J W. Ryan where they were invited in and prayers were sung and prayers offered.

They moved to the restaurant of A. D. Reid and Company where they were invited in and prayers offered. Their next stop was the grocery store of A Mayers who also invited them in for prayer and song but they were denied entry at their next stop, the bakery/saloon of C. H. Baltz.

The ladies dropped to the sidewalk in a kneeling position and offered prayers. Moving to the grocery store of C. Machtley west of the railroad, the owner “threw open the doors and invited the ladies to come in.” The owner went out on the sidewalk to keep order while the ladies held their devotional exercises.

The next stop was the saloon kept by H C. Smythe where the doors were locked but the ladies held their “exercises” on the sidewalk. They moved to the saloon and billiard hall of J. M Garner who met then at the door and denied admission.

The ladies visited the saloons the next four days and on the fourth day were received with prayer and the feeling that much had been accomplished and “the good work had just begun.”

I have cut this story down as it is very long and the print is extremely small, but I noticed two things, the number of grocery stores and the number of saloons in Cardington in 1874!

Looking back

80 years ago: Dr. I E Henry, DDS, whose office was at 500 South Marion Street, Cardington, was chosen as one of three dentists to staff a mobile dental unit. They would make a survey of the dental needs of elementary school pupils and all 88 counties.

40 years ago: Don’s Feed and Seed store on West Main Street, closed. Diane Sharp, Cardington-Lincoln High School senior, was among 16 contestants vying for the title of 1981 Miss Heart of Ohio.

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By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist