The Irish who instigated the Portand Rum Riots

The then Mayor of Portland said during a visit to Ireland alcohol was the cause of the country’s poverty

Mayor Neal Dow the ‘Napoleon of Temperance’.

Mayor Neal Dow the ‘Napoleon of Temperance’.

On the evening of June 2nd, 1855 the recently re-elected Mayor of Portland, Neal Dow, found himself besieged in City Hall by a crowd of more than 3,000 protesters, largely drawn from the Irish and German communities of the city. They believed city officials were hoarding $1,600 worth of illicit alcohol in the vaults beneath the municipal offices. Rocks were thrown and tempers began to flare. The militia was called in to reinforce the local police and after the crowd attempted to gain entry to the basement of the building the mayor ordered the soldiers to open fire on them, killing 22-year-old John Robbins and wounding seven others.

The events of that night were the culmination of the ongoing battle between pro and anti-temperance factions within the city.

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