Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Reprinted from the March 21, 2002, Tri-County News
This story was submitted by the late Elizabeth Cooper Mike, daughter of the late J. Bailey and Lyda Cooper of Kimball. Elizabeth's brother William Cooper Sr. is the only remaining of Bailey's and Lyda's children living, and he still lives in Kimball where he grew up.
While going through old boxes of pictures from my mother, I pulled out a composition notebook, unlined, that looked like it might have belonged to some school girls of long ago.
I opened the notebook and turned to the first page. It read, "Secretary's book of the Y branch of the W.C.T.U. of Kimball, Minnesota." Kimball was my hometown and the "Y" stood for young women.
On the next page was printed the three articles of the Constitution of the Young Women's Christian Temperance Union. On the third page was printed the Declaration of Principles. Then came the page with the printed pledge: "I hereby solemnly promise, God helping me, to abstain from all distilled, fermented and malt liquors as a beverage, including wine, beer and cider, and to employ all proper means to discourage the use of and traffic in the same."
The secretary's minutes cover the years from December 1900 to July 1945.
The Ys, as they called themselves, had a modest beginning, with three members and one visitor in December 1900. By the end of February they had recruited 24 new members, all signing the pledge and paying their dues.
Men could become honorary members by signing the pledge and paying dues. However, they could not hold office or become a delegate to the state convention. The Y branch met in each others' homes or in the vestry of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Their fundraising and expenditures were modest. Minutes indicated a cookbook was put together, a quilt made, vanilla powdered flavoring sold, and an oyster supper held. The supper yielded more than $14 for their treasury.
Meetings had a religious touch, as devotions and scripture were presented at every meeting. Programs included readings, solos, violin presentations, and lectures. A touch of feminism lurked in the hearts of these young Ys in Kimball. At a meeting in November 1901, after each member telling what they were thankful for, they "threw the meeting open," and held a debate. Topic: "Resolved that women should have equal rights with men in politics." Six men were on the negative side, six men on the positive side. There is no record of the comments made during the debate, but the secretary reported that the debate was lively and interesting, and when the vote was taken, the women won. Of course, there were more women than men present.
I closed the book of minutes, and remembered that my mother and grandmother were members all of their adult lives. These minutes are part of my heritage.
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How Kimball got on the map:
Kimball Area Historical Society presents "History in Motion" celebrating Kimball's 125th year. In just a couple weeks while Kimball Days Festival is in full swing, Aug. 12, 13, 14. Hope it's on your calendar. On Friday, supper in the park happens with music by Richard Eckman and Friends, and including a delicious hot beef on bun, baked beans, coleslaw, chips, cake, and beverage at a reasonable price. Saturday begins at Audrey's Coffee Nook on Main Street with homemade cinnamon rolls and beverage priced right, too. Saturday's "History in Motion" features the Great River Modular Railroad Club's live event, operating for your enjoyment at Kimball's historic City Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. And again on Sunday from 9-3. Door prizes, railroad historians, Kimball historians, and the latest commemorative souvenirs now available. Lots of Kimball history on display, too. Free of charge. Don't miss it.
Just a reminder for 2012, when the Kimball Area Historical Society is sponsoring an all School Reunion. The last one was in 1986.
If you'd like to reach us before or after Kimball Days with comments, questions, new or renewed membership, donations, or souvenirs, write, call or e-mail the Kimball Area Historical Society at Box 100, Kimball MN 55353, call (320) 398-5250, or e-mail kimball
The pleasure of Kimball Days will last a weekend
The pleasure of the memories will last a lifetime.