The Saratogian (11 August 1917) reported: “Quaker Springs lodge, I. O. G. T., No. 203 will meet Saturday evening, and with other routine business will install officers for the ensuing quarter.”
The Good Templars is a coed fraternal organizations for temperance or total abstinence founded in the 19th century and with a structure modeled on Freemasonry, using similar ritual and regalia. The Quaker Springs had Lodge #203 along with a Juvenile Temple.
During the Progressive Era (1890–1920), hostility toward drinking alcohol became widespread, with the Prohibition Party and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union as the most influential advocate of prohibition. In New York, there is a long history of social reform movements started or flourished along New York’s canal system. (The Good Templars started in Utica, NY along the Erie Canal in 1850.) The rural part of the town of Saratoga in particular Quaker Springs (along the Champlain Canal) was not immune to these social movement. The community had an active Quaker community that formed the Quaker Springs Anti-Slavery Society in 1836, and the Old Saratoga Anti-Slavery Society in 1850. Prohibition was also strongly supported by the Methodists and Quakers, which have the only churches in that part of the town. Prohibition began on January 16, 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect.
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There are many individuals and groups like the Good Templars that help define this country, our region, and this community. It is the determination of our forefathers, in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.