Royal Templars of Temperance: Promoting Temperance

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.

Other Temperance Groups

A number of other temperance groups existed in the U.S.  Many were not fraternal.

Royal Templars of TemperanceTemplars of Honor and Temperance

Sons of Temperance

Cadets of Temperance

American Temperance Society

Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union

Anti-Saloon League

American Temperance Union

Friends of Temperance

Knights of Father Mathew

Methodist Board of Temperance, Prohibition, and Public Morals

American Temperance Society (American Society for the Promotion of Temperance)

Church Temperance Society

United Friends 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.