The Sons of Temperance was a brotherhood of men that promoted the temperance movement and mutual support. It had a highly restricted membership and in order to become a member (a 'brother'), a man had to be nominated by an existing brother. Three other brothers would then investigate his life to determine if they thought he was worthy of membership. The Sons of Temperance required a two-dollar initiation fee, an amount equal to a week's wages of an ordinary worker. In addition, the weekly membership fee was six cents. It had secret rituals, signs, passwords, hand grips and regalia.
The objectives of the Sons of Temperance were: to shield its members from the evils of intemperance; and to afford mutual assistance in times of sickness. Fellow brothers were required to visit any sick brother at least once a day, and one of the orders of business at each meeting was to identify any brothers who were ill. They also provided a sum of money at the death of a member. They intended to elevate character; to enlist workers in an earnest and noble endeavour to reclaim those who fell under the influence of strong drink; to save the young from the terrible power of the drinking habit; and to assist in every way the suppression of the drink traffic.
The personal pledge adopted at the formation of the organisation was: 'I will neither make, buy, sell nor use as a beverage, any spirituous or malt liquors, wine or cider.'