Alcoholic Stimulants (Hartford, NY)
From: The Story of Hartford, A History
Compiled by: Mrs. Isabella Brayton, Town Historian
in collaboratin with John B. Norton.
Hartford, NY 1929

Alcoholic Stimulants

Alcoholic stimulants, a seeming necessity to the early settlers, were in those days consumed in amounts that would astonish the modern "wet," who would make us think that hard drinking is something new since the days of Volstead. Mention has already been made of the distilleries in town. No doubt a public dipper hung outside the door of these, as it did in other towns. The prevalence of hard drinking and the frequency of absolute drunkenness are attested by tradition and record alike. It seems to have been especially prevalent among the day laborers, to whom it was the custom to dole out rum. An attempt was made to limit the practice. We read that a certain Colonel Williams, of this county, pledges himself in 1789 to limit the quantity to one-half a pint, "just enough to fit them for labor." This shows a mistaken attitude of high and low alike. One item that enlivened the long winter trips to and from Lansingburg was the jug of whiskey beside the road, which all in turn in the never ending line, stopped to taste as they passed. It must be said, however, that it was a real disgrace to become overly drunken. For a long time it was the custom for the well-to-do to have a store of well aged and tasty homemade wines to be served on formal occasions, for entertainment of company from a distance or when the elder called. Doubtless, however, this constant drinking, though sufficiently injurious, was not as harmful as it would be now, as the drinkers were more devoted to hard, out-ofdoor manual labor than now.

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