north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     The Richmond Temperance and Literary Society was established around 1855 by a group of young men and women concerned about the intemperance (read consumption of alcohol) in the area. In their mission statement the founders, “being convinced of the deadly influence that intemperance is now exerting over the morality of our country and seeing the ravages that it is daily making in our midst,” wrote that the society’s object was “uncompromising hostility to intemperance and untiring zeal for the advancement of literature.” The group’s one-room building, built in 1860 near Wagram and known still as Temperance Hall, is hexagonal with sixteen-foot sides. It is topped with a wooden finial representing an overturned wine glass sitting atop a book. The ceiling inside the building was painted blue with a constellation of red stars, one representing each member of the society. If a member broke his temperance vow, his star was painted black. The star was painted white if the member died.

     The Richmond Temperance and Literary Society met for about forty years in the building. The area around Wagram became a part of the new Scotland County in 1899 and eventually Temperance Hall fell into disrepair. It was restored as a museum in 1959 and in 1967 the birthplace of John Charles McNeill, a poet, was moved to the grounds and restored. The McNeill house serves as a visitor center for Temperance Hall.

Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (1996)
James E. and Ida C. Huneycutt, A History of Richmond County (1976)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

Temperance Hall (courtesy NC ECHO)

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources