I recently found a very interesting newspaper article regarding my great great grandfather Dillon Franklin Hatch.
According to the above news article he had been elected as an officer in the Independent Order of Good Templars (IOGT) as a W. O. G. He was only 18 when he became a member.
There are several different types of lodges and organizations I have vaguely heard about over the years in my genealogical endeavors. This one I was unfamiliar with. So I thought I would enlighten myself, and then share.
The IOGT was an abstinence/temperance society. These types of societies had started forming in the early 19th century, in some form or another, due to the large prevalence of societal problems related to drinking that existed at the time. Alcoholism and excessive drinking was having a very noticeable affect on the lives of families and society in general, so organizations were created by concerned citizens to try and curb the problem. (These same issues were also concerns of the suffrage movement, other than the right to vote of course.)
This particular order started in a village near Utica, New York in 1850 and was considered “a radical movement, ahead of its times”1 because they included women in their organization “proclaiming that all were brothers and sisters in one united family.”1
IOGT was also considered one of the more successful organizations because their relapse rate was much lower than that of others. There are several reasons given for its success. One was that it came about at the right time period. Many people were realizing that to help society become better as a whole it was important to control ones relationship with alcohol. Fraternal societies were also in vogue at the time, and because the IOGT was inclusive of women, even giving them places in leadership, it better met the needs of society as a whole. And lastly “it combined temperance and fraternalism” using ritual and degrees that helped educate and train members so that they could better help others who needed support in their abstinence endeavors.
This organization is still in existence today. In the 1970s they made changes to become more relevant to the times. Titles were changed, accoutrements became simplified, or were eliminated altogether. The name was changed from Order to Organization, little things like that. The rituals are also no longer secret.
It is doubtful that Dillon become a member because he had issues with drink, he was pretty young. He was probably just interested in the ideas of temperance and wished to help further the cause? In 1870 this article is found in the newspaper:
Olive Hatch was elected W. V. T. at a regular meeting of Evergreen Isle Lodge No. 128, I.O. of G. T. on Friday evening, May 6th .
This was Dillon’s mother Olive Robinson Hatch. She was elected Worthy Vice Templar of this particular lodge. So maybe her membership influenced her son’s interest in temperance.
4. group shot pulled from: https://marketlavingtonmuseum.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/the-independent-order-of-good-templars/
5. Olive Hatch article, Grand Isle; News/Opinion, St. Albans Messenger; Date: 05-13-1870; Page: 3; St. Albans, Vermont