The Royal Templars of Temperance formed in 1870 in Buffalo, New York. It resulted from an effort to close saloons on Sundays. Its founder, Cyrus K. Porter, had long been active in the Freemasons, Odd-Fellows, and Sons of Temperance. The Royal Templars used rituals adapted from Freemasonry.
It claimed to be ‘the only strictly total abstinence order that has successfully combined its temperance principles with its beneficiary work.’1 The latter referred to that fact that it offered life and disability insurance at cost to its members. The Royal Templars of Temperance paid benefits of up to $5,000. That would equal over $127,000 today. The Templars claimed to have had ‘no deaths from intemperance.’2
The Templars expanded to 27 states as well as both Canada and Sweden. It claimed about 50,000 members. About 20,000 members were in the beneficiary or insurance department. The rest were social members.
Male and female members had equal rights in the Templars.
A number of other temperance groups existed in the U.S. Many were not fraternal.
Templars of Honor and Temperance
Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union
Methodist Board of Temperance, Prohibition, and Public Morals
American Temperance Society (American Society for the Promotion of Temperance)
American Society for the Promotion of Temperance
Constitution of the Royal Templars of Temperance. Hamilton: Royal Templars of Temperance, 1904.
Ritual of the Royal Degree. Hamilton, Ont: Royal Templars Book and Pub House, 1889.
Manual of the Select Degree. Dominion Council, Royal Templars of Temperance. Hamilton, Ont: Buchanan, 1889.
1. Stevens, A. Cyclopedia of Fraternities. NY: Treat, 1907, p. 408.
2. ______, ibid.