The Royal Templars of Temperance formed in 1870. It was in Buffalo, New York. It appears to have been based in Hamilton, Ontario. It was clearly active there.
It resulted from an effort to close saloons on Sundays. Its founder, Cyrus K. Porter, had long been active in fraternal groups. They were 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 paid benefits of up to $5,000. That would equal over $130,000 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 fraternal groups existed.
- Cyrus K. Porter in Men of New York. Matthews, 1898.
- Cyrus Kinne Porter. Buffalo Architecture.
- Constitution of the Royal Templars of Temperance. Hamilton: Royal Templars, 1904.
- Manual of the Select Degree. Dominion Council, Royal Templars of Temperance. Hamilton, Ont: Buchanan, 1889.
- Ritual of the Royal Degree. Hamilton, Ont: Royal Templars Book and Pub House, 1889.
- Maxwell, M. The Washingtonian Movement. Q J Stud Alc, 11, 410-452.
1. Stevens, A. Cyclopedia of Fraternities. NY: Treat, 1907, p. 408.
2. ______, ibid.