Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996 Page: 131
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
The effectiveness of the Sons of Temperance does not seem to have been
diminished by either the death of Crabtree or by another "scene of bloodshed," within the
walls of their own meeting hall on the second floor of the Methodist church, some three
years later. John C. Griffey, a young Columbus attorney, had been suspended from the
division for a violation of their constitution. Upon the expiration of his suspension, another
member, David H. Rhine, recommended that Griffey be expelled because he had continued
his aberrant behavior. On the fourth anniversary of the establishment of the division,
Friday, July 30, 1853, Griffey confronted Rhine in the meeting hall, called him an
"impertinent puppy, " and struck him twice with his cane, knocking him down. After Rhine
seized the cane and struck Griffey across the forehead with it, another man stepped in and
wrested the cane away from Rhine. With Rhine's attention thus diverted, Griffey rushed
him with a Bowie knife, inflicting two deep wounds. Rhine was laid on a cot, where he
lingered throughout the weekend. He died on Monday, August 2. Griffey fled the scene,
and, so far as is known, was never again seen in Columbus. The murder of one of their
members by another over intra-division politics did little to dissuade the division from its
committment to its goals and methods. On August 20, less than a month after the murder,
they met to elect delegates to the upcoming state temperance convention in Austin. The
election was deferred until October 27. On that day, seven men, Charles William Tait, Basil
Gaither Ijams, Lyman W. Alexander, Don Fernando Payne, James J. Loomis, John C.
Kolbe, and George Gatewood, the last two of whom were ministers, were elected to go to
On August 5, 1854, little more than five years after it was established, the
Columbus division of the Sons of Temperance voted itself out of existence, and resolved
to transfer all its assets and liabilities to a new temperance organization, the Lone Star Circle
of the Order of Social Circles No. 2 of Texas, which had been formed in Columbus. In
addition to the meeting hall on the second floor of the Methodist Church, the Social Circle
received a bakery across the street from the courthouse that had been owned by, and
presumably operated by, the Sons of Temperance since 1851. In the intervening years,
another fraternal lodge, the Free and Accepted Masons, had established a chapter in
Columbus. That chapter, known as the Caledonia Lodge #68, first purchased property in
Columbus on September 21, 1853.30
29 Texas Monument, June 30, 1852, August 17, 1853, August 31, 1853, November 9, 1853; Colorado
County District Court Records, Criminal Cause File No. 132: State of Texas v. John C. Griffey; Minute Book
C, pp. 998, 1282.
30 Colorado County Deed Records, Book G, p. 518, Book H, p. 633, Book K, pp. 302, 332. The
records of the Caledonia Lodge #68 are closed to the public; therefore the date of their organization cannot be
confirmed. However, in 1951, they published a small booklet in commemoration of their one-hundredth
anniversary. They date their chapter's history from February 4, 1850, when, they report, permission to organize
it was given by the Grand Lodge of Texas. Apparently, Augustus Jones was the prime mover behind the creation
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996, periodical, September 1996; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151398/m1/19/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.