George Henry Vibbert photo

George Henry Vibbert

George Henry Vibbert was born in Cabotville, now Chicopee, Massachusetts, October 4, 1837.  He was educated in Chicopee and Springfield high schools, in Bang’s Classical Institute, and was for a short time in Tufts College.  He took the pledge from Father Mathew in 1849.  In 1858, he was licensed to preach by the Universalist Church and was ordained the next year, then giving his first temperance address soon after joining the Sons of Temperance.  He preached in Ohio until 1865 and helped to recruit soldiers and spoke during the campaigns for John Brough and Abraham Lincoln.   In 1865, he returned to Massachusetts and was pastor in Rockport, East Boston, and Somerville.
     He was one of the original committee which formed the New England Woman Suffrage Society and for several years was a member of its executive committee.  He voted for Grant in 1868, but since then has been an ardent Prohibitionist, and served for two years on the executive committee of the Massachusetts State Temperance Alliance and the Prohibition State Committee.  He was Grand Worthy Councilor and Grand Worthy Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of IOGT for several years.  In 1871, he was sent as a Prohibitionist to the Massachusetts legislature, was on the education and temperance committees, and made a speech on Prohibition which was printed by request of the members.  Warrington, the accomplished critic and clerk of the House or Representatives, said that it was the best speech made in the House for 10 years.  The friends of the bill were afraid to risk permission to introduce it, so Mr. Vibbert spoke on leave to introduce.  The legislature at once voted not only for its introduction but passed it to its first and second readings.  Wendell Phillips wrote of it:  “I know him well, and can testify to the consummate ability with which he handles the question; eloquent, impressive, fully informed as to the details of the question, a man of excellent good sense in managing the argument, he will, I am sure, be a great help in this fight for order and the highest civilization.
     By introduction of William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips he was invited to the United Kingdom Alliance, in 1871, to visit Great Britain, and he spoke there to great audiences 50 times in 47 days. 
     Since 1877, he has given his entire time to preaching and lecturing indoors and out, from two to thirteen times a week, on various phases of the temperance reform.  In 1888, he was a delegate from Massachusetts to the National Prohibition convention and was a member of the committee on resolutions.  In 1884 and 1885, for 15 months, he preached and lectured again in Great Britain.
     Mr. Vibbert has probably spoken more times for local and state WCT Unions and oftener on total abstinence and prohibition than any other man in America since 1877.  He is as busy as ever, speaking wherever he is called.

Data from An Album of Representative Prohibitionists (1895