Father Mathew

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  • Rev. Theobold Mathew, or Father Mathew (1790-1856), was an Irish temperance reformer who founded a mission in Cork, Ireland. The Father Mathew Total Abstinence Society, almost exclusively made up of Irish, was to encourage males to abjure alcohol. He encouraged wholesome social activities, including picnics, dances and sporting events. Within 9 months, no less than 150,000 people had enrolled and took his abstinence pledge. His movement was also successful in Liverpool, Manchester and London.
  • Despite ill health, Father Mathew, known as the "apostle of temperance" lead a successful campaign across the United States. For two years he made his way across the U.S., visiting President Taylor in the White House and making a visit to Salem in Sept. of 1849.
  • Fr. Mathew died on 8 December 1856 in Cobh (then known as Queenstown), County Cork after suffering a stroke. He is buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery, Cork city which he had himself established.

Father Mathew Statue in Salem

  • The Salem chapter of Father Mathew Catholic Total Abstinence Society was organized in 1875 and purchased its headquarters, the Tucker estate, in 1896. A statue of Father Mathew was erected in 1887 Salem in his honor. In 1916, the statue was moved from Central and Charter Street to its present location, the corner of Derby and Hawthorne Boulevard (also known as Bertram Park.) There are other statues of this charismatic figure, in the cities of Dublin, Cork, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • The Society headquarters used the the former Gideon Tucker house (1818-1809; plans and carvings by McIntire) at 129 Essex St., remodeling it in 1910. In 1981/82 the Tucker house was partially restored and rehabilitated for apartments.


See Also

  • Postcard Photograph courtesy of CardCow.com
  • "Wine women and Woe: Salem in the 1880's" The Sextant; the journal of Salem State College, by Joan M. Maloney, p.16
  • "Plenty of tall tales surround Salem's most famous monuments" Salem Evening News, Mar. 6, 2002, p. A2