Mary Holmes of Oregon City Joins The Prohibition Movement

They Wanted No Alcohol in Oregon Territory

When I became aware that the Ken Burns series Prohibition was going to be aired, it reminded me that in my research of the William Livingston Holmes family of Oregon City, OR I had run across this letter signed by several ladies of the Oregon City area supporting the cause of Temperance.

The document refers to Oregon Territory as the location in which they reside, so this letter to the Oregon Legislature had to be written between August 14, 1848 and February 14, 1859.  This document predates the actual Prohibition Act of 1919.

Admittedly, I haven’t studied this document recently, and I’m only familiar with one signature on it, that of M. A. L. C. Holmes who was the wife of William Livingston Holmes. If you’ve read any of the previous Holmes articles you will remember that W. M. Holmes was the sheriff of Oregon Territory at one time.

Tombstone Tuesday: David and William Holmes

Find A Grave Is Making Grave Mistakes


  1. Prohibition was the act of making the distribution, consumption, and manufacturing of alcohol illegal. I would have definitely supported Mary Holmes for bringing about this prohibition. As per my views alcohol is the worst thing and people who are taking alcohol, they are ruining their life. We should raise our voice to stop this dangerous habit/thing.

    • I think the interesting thing about the whole issue as it relates to Mary Holmes was that this was pre-1859. Very early in the days of Temperance. Probably though, from time immemorial the women of the world saw the destructive power of alcohol.