Female Moral Reform Society
Prairie Village, Milwaukee County
From a Milwaukee/Waukesha County Newspaper
Prairie Village is the original name of the village of Waukesha Although now located in Waukesha County, at the time of this club, Waukesha was located in Milwaukee County
WISCONSIN'S FIRST WOMAN'S CLUB
A record of Prime Historical History Just Brought to Light
Female Moral Reform Society.
A few days ago a little record book was discovered in Waukesha which throws a strong sidelight upon the pioneer history of southeastern Wisconsin. It relates to the proceedings of the first purely woman's organization in this part of the state, if not in Wisconsin, and its membership list indicates very clearly the racial features of the first settlers at Waukesha. They were of the heart of New England, as almost every name in this list testifies. Like true New Englanders, they finally allowed their society to get under the domination of their clergymen, through the wives and daughters of the latter, and then the lines were drawn more strictly in the direction of old-fashioned Puritanism, until broke and the society went to pieces.
That letter postage in those days 50 cents, afterwards reduced to 25, we find from these pages; and the childlike trust which the lady pioneers paid over their hard-earned dollars to the “parent society” of metropolitan sharks, presents a rather pathetic picture, though the outlay was probably of eventual profit, in the way of experience thereby acquired. Where “Rev. Mrs.” occurs in the record it undoubtedly means “Mrs. Rev.”, that is, the wife of the clergyman. The entire record is given below as nearly verbatim as is practical as are many of the publications of the State Historical Society. The Mrs. Laura Walton, who was prominent in the earlier meetings of the society, died at her home in Waukesha February 27, 1899, at the age of 88. It is assumed that everybody knows the original name of Waukesha to have been Prairie Village.
Following is the document in full:
FEMALE MORAL REFORM SOCIETY OF PRAIRIE VILLAGE, W.T.
Whereas, the sin of licentiousness has made fearful havoc in the world, “corrupting all flesh,” drowning souls in perdition, exposing us to the vengeance of a Holy God, whose law in this respect has been trampled transgression but by the tacit consent of the virtuous, and by the almost perfect silence of those whom He has commanded to “cry aloud and spare not.”
Whereas, it is the duty of the virtuous to use every consistent moral means to save our country from utter destruction;
We therefore form ourselves into a society for this object, to be governed by the following:
Article 1. This society shall be called the Prairie Village Female Moral Reform society, auxiliary to the Female Moral Reform society of New York, for promoting the observance of the seventh commandment.
Article 2. This society shall have for tis object the prevention of licentiousness by diffusing light. In regard to the existence and great extent of this sin; by showing its fearfully immoral and soul-destroying influence; by pointing out the numberless lures and acts practiced by the unprincipled destroyer to seduce and ruin the unsuspecting; by excluding from social intercourse with us all persons of both sexes who are known to be of licentious habits; and from time to time deem expedient.
Article 3. This society shall consist of those ladies who cordially approve of its object, sign its constitution, and pledge themselves not to admit into their society any person of either sex known to be licentious.
Article 4. The officers of the society shall be a first and second directress, a treasurer and secretary. They shall be annually chosen by the members of the society.
Article 5. The first directress shall preside at all meetings of the society, or in her absence the second directress, or in their absence a directress for the time being. The secretary shall conduct the correspondence of the society, notify its meetings and keep records of the same. The treasurer shall collect subscriptions, make payments at the direction of the society, and present written audited accounts, to accompany the annual report.
Article 6. The annual meeting shall be on the first Thursday in October. AT each annual meeting the accounts of the treasurer shall be presented, the annual report made, the officers chosen, and such other business transacted as shall be deemed expedient.
Article 7. There shall be a yearly subscription by the members of such sums as each individual may feel disposed to give for the purpose of promoting the general objects of the society to be appropriated as the society shall direct.
Article 8. The constitution may be amended at any annual meeting of the society by a vote of two-thirds of the membership present.
Barnard: Nancy L.
Biddle: Mrs. C.C.
Bissett: Diantha E.
Briggs: Louisa M.
Church: Lucy L.
Church: Mary A.
Clark: Mrs. H.E.
Clinton: Adeline G.
Clinton: Lydia H.
Cole: Mrs. Marcia R.
Crocker: Ruth L.
Curtis: Mrs. N.M.
Davis: Clarissa F.
Davis: L.A. W.
Davis: Sarah M.
Dodge: Mrs. Betsey
Donaldson: Mrs. Mary L.
Eggleston: Deborah H.
Grant: Lucinda O.
Hart: Mary E.
Higly: Emily L.
Hine: Marcia C.
Hopkins: Jane A.
Jackson: Mary Ann
Kendrick: Eliza A.
Kendrick: Emeline B.
Louusbury: Mary A.
Maning: Miss Abigail G.
Manning: Fanny S.
Manning: Lucina A.H.
Manning: Mrs. Abigail
Manning: Mrs. Harriet
Melindy: Eunice L.
Minor: Marin M.
Nanscawen: Mary C.
Nelson: Caroline M.
Olin: Sarah A.
Potter: Miss Harriet
Putney: Sarah A.
Remington: Mary M.
Rice: Helen L.
Rockwood: Mary E.
Sensiba: Sarah M.
Smith: Mrs. A.
Stewart: Miss Jennet
Stewart: Mrs. Margaret
Taylor: Mary Ann
Tichenor: Nancy M.
Turner: Mrs. Mary
Van Vleck: Maria C.
Vleck: Julia Van
Vleck: Mrs. Van
White: Caroline M.
White: Louisa G.
Williams: Harriet H.
Williams: Martha D.
Williams: Martha W.
Williams: Mrs. Martha
Woodworth: Adeline E.
Wright: Lucy Ann
In the course of the foregoing list the names of Phylinda Ranne, Electa Bigelow, Sophia M. Wright, Sarah Clark, Naomi Clark, Lucy M. Hlumne, Mrs. Chas. Thompson, and Mrs. Barstow appear, but with marks of erasure. They may have withdrawn on account of subsequent action ??? and to dancing, etc.
The Prairie Village Female Moral Reform society held its first meeting in February 1839, at Mr. Walton's for sewing. Mrs. E. Clinton brought shirting for one shirt. Mrs. Davis presented one stock.
Society met first Thursday in March at Mr. Cushman's. Mrs. Walton presented cloth for a shirt, spent the afternoon in sewing. A committee of four, viz: Mrs. Ordway, Mrs. Potter, Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Cushman were appointed to draft bylaws for the society; also appointed Mrs. Cushman recording secretary.
Society met first Thursday in April at E. Clinton's. Spent the time in knitting, sewing and reading. Passed a bylaw that our refreshments at our meetings should be plain bread or biscuit and butter or sauce but one kind. By request appointed the next meeting at Mr. Olin's.
Society met first Thursday in June at A. Clinton's. Spent the time in sewing.
Society met first Thursday in July at Mr. Ordway's. Spent the time in prayer and sewing.
Society met first Thursday in August at Mr. Nelson's.
Society met first Thursday in September at Mr. Potter's. Finished four shirts.
The annual meeting of the society was held in the south schoolhouse on the first Thursday in October. Mrs. Ordway presided at the meeting. Mrs. ???? was appointed scribe. Mrs. Cushman read the report of the society for the past year; $10 had been sent for the Advocate of Moral Reform, and twenty copies received; $4.49 had been received on subscription and $3.63 expended for the procuring of material for work. Voted that the money in the treasury, being $4.50, be sent to the parent society for new publications on the subject of moral reform.
The following persons were chosen officers for the ensuing year: Mrs. Moses Ordway, first directress; Mrs. Robert Love, second directress; Mrs. Samuel Hinman treasurer and secretary.
Society met at Mr. Rice's on the first Thursday of November. Time spent in sewing save a portion devoted to reading and prayer. Mrs. Tichenor paid 50 cents as her subscription, N.M. Tichenor, 50 cents, L.M. Hinman 50 cents, F.S. Manning 25 cents.
Society met on the first Thursday of December at Mr. Rossman's. But few present. Voted to dispense with refreshments at out meetings. Some cloth brought in for shirts. Time spent in reading the scriptures, prayer and sewing. Sold one pair socks at 54 cents.
Society met on the first Thursday of January at Rev. Mr. Nichols'. Some work done but few present.
Society met at Mr. Cushman's on the first Thursday of February. On account of the distance form one end of the town to the other, it was voted that we divide our meetings for sewing having one at each part of the town every month and that we meet quarterly together. Voted that a committee of two in each part of town be appointed to prepare the work. Voted that Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Wright be the committee for the north part, and Mrs. S. Taylor and Miss Manning be the committee for the south part.
Society met at the house of Mrs Walton on the first Thursday of march for the purpose of altering our regulations. It was resolved, upon consideration, that we dispense with work of all kinds and have quarterly meetings, when the time shall be spent in reading, conversation, and prayer.
Resolved, that the work now on hand be finished and the avails to go in to the treasury of the Moral Reform society. In view of the reproach brought upon this society by consequence of some of the members having attended balls, which is contrary to the principals of the Moral Reform society, we pledge ourselves hereafter that we will not attend balls.
Received for sale of socks....................... .50
Received for membership..........................2.75
Paid for buckskin $1.67
Paid postage for one circular .25
Leaving a balance in treasury of $1.33, $1.86 having been received for membership fees in cotton shirting and other materials which have been made into shirts and are all sold by the merchant whose account is not yet rendered. Twenty-nine copies of the Advocate have been taken by the society, and read with increasing interest; $5 have also been sent to the parent society, requesting the value to be forwarded to us in tracts and other new publications for which sum of money we have received but seven small tracts.
Society held their annual meeting in the north schoolhouse on the first Thursday of
September, 1840. Were favored with an address by Rev. Mr. Curtis. Voted to amend
this constitution by adopting the following resolution:
Resolved, that we will hereafter attend no balls or parties for sinful amusement.
Voted that each member of this society shall pay one shilling tax annually.
Voted that we in future hold one meeting quarterly.
Appointed the following ladies officers for the ensuing year; Mrs. Curtis, first directress; Mrs. Ordway, second directress, Miss F.S. Manning secretary and treasurer.
Appinted a committee of six to collect tax and solicit subscribers to our con. And Advocate of Moral Reform committee: Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Sarah Love, Misses L. Church, S.M. Davis, T.B. Watson, E.A. Kendrick.
October 6, received of the sewing society $1.62 ½ in exchange for buckskin.
December 3, met at the south schoolhouse. Time occupied in reading and prayer.
March 4, 1841, society met at the Congregational meeting house. Heard several prayers, reading of scripture and conversation. Appointed Miss H.M. Tichenor on committee in place of Miss Sarah Love. Received of Mrs. Mary Turner 25 cents as her tax for two years.
April 5, received of Mrs. Martha Williams and Misses M.W., M.D. And H.H. Williams one shilling each as their tax for 1841.
June 3, society convened in the south schoolhouse. Time spent in prayer and conversation. Appointed Mrs. Ordway and Mrs. Curtis to draft new constitution.
September 1, 1841, received for buckskin $1.625
Received for taxes 1.50
Paid postage for letter .50
Leaving in treasury $2.625
Thirty-two copies of the Advocate have been taken by this society; $4 have been sent to the parent society for tracts, for which sum we have received nothing. There is also in the treasury a bill due against Prairieville Mill company, amounting to $3.56 F. S. Manning, Sec'y
September 2, 1841, this society held their annual meeting at the Congregationalist meeting house. Were favored with an address by Rev. Mr. Manning, after which the following officers were chosen for the ensuing year: First Directress, Rev. Mrs. Curtis, second directress, Rev. Mrs. Manning; secretary and treasurer, Miss F.S. Manning; soliciting committee, Misses S.M. Senslba(sic), Mary Church, N.M. Tichenor, M.W. Williams, M.H. Watson, M.A. Taylor.
Agreed to adopt new constitution as drawn by F.S. Manning. Received of Mrs. Cushman 50 cents for Bethel mission, and for sale of shirts and socks $3.375.
September 2, 1941 received for tax $4.875. Voted that our secretary inform the parent society that we have received nothing for our former appropriations, before we send our present fund.
April 1842, paid 25 cents postage on a letter sent to the parent society.
September 1, 1842, owing to unfavorable circumstances this society has held but one quarterly meeting the past year, which was thinly attended. Twenty-two copies of the Advocate have been taken and purchased with interest.
The following is an account of the expenses and receipts during the past year:
Balance in treasury for 1841 $2.625
Sale of Shirts and Socks 3.375
For Tax 4.875
Received Mrs. Cushman for Bethel
Donation by friend .50
Paid postage on letter .25
Leaving in treasury $11.625
F.S. Manning, Sec'y
September 1, 1842, this society held their annual meeting in the Congregationalist meeting house. Were addressed by Rev. N. Kingsbury. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: Rev. Mrs. Miner, first directress; Rev. Mrs. Kingsbury, second directress, F. S. Manning secretary and treasurer, committee, Janet Stewart, N. M. Tichenor, Lorain Church, A.G. Manning, H.H. Williams, M.A. Taylor, extra committee, M. Holcomb, Jane A. Hopkins.
Voted to send $10 of our funds to the parent society to constitute Rev. Mrs. Curtis a life member of the A. F. M. R. society also $5 for the Bethel mission.
Received 30 cents of Mr. Holcomb as donation, also $5.07 as tax. Obtained eighteen names to this constitution. F.S. Manning, Sec'y
November 3, received 52 cents for tax
November 4, received 50 cents for tax
November 5, received 25 cents for tax
November 12, paid 75 cents postage on annual report and money.
December 1, met at the south schoolhouse meeting was called to order by the second directress. Time spent in reading, conversation and prayer. Received one shilling tax.
June 1, 1843, met at the south schoolhouse. Meeting called to order by second directress. Appointed Mrs. M. Olin on committee in place of Mrs. Church. Obtained two signatures to the constitution. Time occupied chiefly in prayer.
F.S. Manning, Sec'y
Account of Moneys received and expended in 1843:
Balance in treasury for 1842 $11.625
Received for tax 6.265
Donation from M. Holcomb .30
Paid for life membership of Mrs. Curtis $10.00
Paid for Bethesda(sic) Mission 5.00
Paid for postage .75
Leaving in treasury $2.44
Fourteen copies of the Advocate have been taken. We have sent $10 to the parent society to constitute Rev. Mrs. Curtis a life member of that society, also $5 tot he Bethel mission. Our quarterly meeting have been irregularly attended and the cause seem to languish. Still our hopes are in God. F.S. Manning Sec'y.
September 7, met at the Congregationalist meeting house. Called to order by the first directress. Reading and prayer by the same, after which the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: Rev. Mrs. Miner, first directress; Rev. Mrs. Curtis, second directress, Miss F.S. Manning secretary and treasurer, committee, Miss L. Church, Mrs Allen Clinton, Mrs Allen Root, Miss H.H. Williams, Mrs. A.C. Green, Miss M.A. Taylor; extra, Misses I. Stewart , I.A. Hopkins.
Resolved to amend the eight article of this society by inserting “a quarterly” after “annual”.
Resolved, that we hold an extra meeting of the society in three weeks from the sixth of the present month.
Received for tax $1.50
Paid for book for records .44
December 7, received for tax 2.625
December 7, met at South Prairieville. Received an address from Rev. Mr. Miner after which the following business was transacted: Voted to send $3 to the visiting committee. Voted to have the remainder of the mony in the treasury sent to the parent society, to be returned in religious tracts. S.M. Kingsbury, Sect'y Pro. Tem.