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SIMEON B. CHASE, CHANCELLOR, INDEPENDENT ORDER of GOOD TEMPLARS

This cover has been in research for over 2 years, for research of S.B. Chase was relatively unrewarding, but once I found his first name and the Independent Order of Good Templars, information started to fall into place. The registered letter has a ms. ‘1220' and red crayon crossed lines is addressed to Hon. S.B. Chase M.A., Chancellor, Halstead, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. The 2 Queensland stamps, a brown-grey ‘THREE PENCE’ and a purple on blue paper ‘Four Corners’ 2½d stamps are indistinctly canceled, but there is below a fine unframed NORMANTON/ OC 4/ 00/ QUEENSLAND cancel. In addition there is a 2-line handstamp of REGISTERED/ NORMANTON, a ‘13137' and a ms. blue crayon ‘Registered’ (Figure 1).

Figure 1

The reverse had 2 postmarks, a transit REGISTERED/ BRISBANE with an OC 18 00 dated cancel and a transit SAN FRANCISCO. CAL/ NOV/ 16/ 1900/ REG. DIV. (Figure 2).

Figure 2

The first mention of Hon. S.B. Chase was in The New York Times Archives dated August 25, 1887 with the Heading ‘The Old Parties Assailed by the Pennsylvania Prohibition Convention. The Republican Leaders Especially Denounced, Harrisburg, Aug. 24': The first half-hour of the meeting was spent in ‘devotional exercises’ in which 6 hymns were sung, followed by prayers delivered by 5 reverend gentlemen, and then the 450 delegates were called to order by the Hon. S.B. Chase of Easton, Penna. who had been chosen as temporary Chairman. He thanked the convention for the honor conferred, referred to the evil of the license system, and to the discrimination exercised by the railroads against the Prohibition delegates, for he paid $2.10 more for his ticket to Harrisburg than the Republican delegated!

An additional finding was the 1897 Graduation program for the Good Templar Course in Switzerland. This was a Program for the graduation Exercises of the Class of 1897, in the Good Templar course of Study, International Supreme Lodge, held at Tonhalle, Zurich, Switzerland, June 16, 1897 with the Hon. S.B. Chase, A.M. (Master of Arts) P.R.W.G.T. ( Past Right Worthy Good Templar) Chancellor from Hallstead, Susquehanna, Penna. presiding. The names of the faculty and students were given and although the majority of students were American, there was a representation from England, Scotland, France, Italy and 2 from Australia, one from Brisbane and an A. Welsh from Normantown, Queensland!

In 1899, there was a meeting in Hallstead, Penna of the Good Citizens League where a decision was made to change the name to “The Citizens League of Susquehanna” and there was a decision that individuals pais $100 annually for 5 years to insure the stability of the organization. The Hon. S.B. Chase was one of four people who granted temporary circulation of books for the Citizens Library.

A minor deluge of information flowed when I searched for both ‘Prohibition’ and the ‘Order of Good Templars’. Simeon B. Chase of Pennsylvania was the second Chairman of the Prohibition National Committee from 1872-1876, following John Russell of Michigan who chaired the committee at its inception in 1867. The New York Times Archive of September 28, 1872 stated that Simeon B. Chase ran for the Democratic Party as Governor of Pennsylvania in September 1872, but the result is unknown to me. He ran in the U.S. Congressional Election on 8 November 1892 in the 28th District and came fourth of eight participants with 31,143 votes, as a member of the Prohibition Peoples Party, whereas the first 3 candidates won a total of ca.1.5 million votes!

His undated biography of 2 pages with a total of 4 columns was a disappointment for significant facts were missing, no dates of birth and death. I learnt that Simeon B. Chase fought demon drink boldly and effectively, his energies consecrated to this noble work through nearly half a century. He was a native of the quiet little village of Gibson, Susquehanna county; in both the maternal and paternal lines, he came of good New England stock; his father Amasa Chase and grand-father Rev. Daniel Chase came from Hardwick, Vermont in 1816, and Daniel was of the sixth generation in direct line from Aquila Chase who was born in England in 1618, and who settled in New Hampshire, in 1639; Simeon’s mother Sarah Guile was of the sixth generation in line from John Guile who was born in England in 1616, and who came to America in 1636. His wife Fanny D. B. Chase was for many years one of the leading spirits in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Three sons of this worthy union are still living, N. Du Bois, an attorney at law in Easton, Penn, Emmet C. and George A., officers of a leading insurance company in Baltimore, Maryland.

From his mother he imbibed at an early age strong and definite ideas on temperance, and at age of nine years he pledged himself against the use of intoxicants; By the age of 14 he was employed as a teacher in the schools near his home; he took a course at Hamilton College where he graduated with honors in 1851; soon after he began the study of law at Montrose in the county and also established the Montrose Democrat with a Chase cousin, an effective beginning towards his political life. His future political life, but one thing is clear that his unflinching attachment to temperance principles stood in the way of gubernatorial aspirations, and on 2 occasions he was the Prohibition candidate for Supreme Judge of the State. He did act as Speaker in the State of Pennsylvania when the incumbent was ill, and he later practiced law at Eaton, Pennsylvania. He was a very successful writer of books and pamphlets for the Temperance cause, and his influence stretched from the U.S.A. to Great Britain and Ireland, South Africa, and Australasia, the latter being confirmed by the present envelope addressed from Queensland.

 
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