Thurlow Weed Brown

Date in History: 1850’s

A native New Yorker, Thurlow Weed Brown came to Fort Atkinson in 1854, bringing with him his newspaper, The Cayuga Chief. He began publishing that paper here in 1856, making it Fort Atkinson’s very first newspaper. Brown used the paper as his primary weapon in the great battle against the evils of drink.

Credited as the “foremost champion of total abstinence” in the West, Brown devoted his talents as a speaker, journalist, and author to the temperance crusade. He even wrote a novel, Minnie Hermon or The Curse of Rum, which was a sobering, melodramatic tale about the daughter of a saloonkeeper and the trouble she has with her drunken and violent father.

Brown’s utter devotion to the temperance cause took a heavy toll on his health and he died at the young age of 47. So much for being a tea-totaler!

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 06/16/2003.

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