Andrew G. Wolfenbarger (1856-1923), a well-known Lincoln attorney, was for many years a state and national prohibition leader. The Nebraska State Journal of October 9, 1923, said of Wolfenbarger, “He was credited with being one of the main forces that put Nebraska in the dry column. He had an international reputation as a speaker and in 1904 he was chairman of the national prohibition party convention. He was the candidate of his party for judge of the Nebraska supreme court and for attorney general. . . . He was with the [Prohibition] party when the outlook was not bright and he lived to see a dry nation [under the Eighteenth Amendment].”
Wolfenbarger was born at Greenbank, Virginia, in 1856. His father was a schoolteacher and merchant and for eight years served as a county sheriff. In 1859 the family moved to Lee County, Iowa, and settled on a farm.
After teaching school in Iowa and Nebraska for about five years, young Wolfenbarger moved to David City, where he entered the field of political journalism, becoming editor and owner with E. L. Heath of the David City Republican. During his five years in David City, he also studied law. In March 1885 he moved to Lincoln and helped found the New Republic, a prohibition newspaper, and acted as managing editor until 1890. He was also admitted to the bar in 1890.
Throughout his life Wolfenbarger was an advocate of temperance and prohibition. He affiliated with the temperance-minded Independent Order of Good Templars in 1883. During his lecture tours in behalf of the Good Templars and prohibition he traveled through throughout the United States and Canada.
About 1880 Wolfenbarger joined the Prohibition Party and soon rose to prominence in its state and national affairs. He was at one time the center of the prohibition movement in Nebraska. He served for four years as secretary and field manager for the Prohibition State Committee of Nebraska and in 1887 became Nebraska’s representative on the party’s National Committee. Another well-known Nebraska temperance advocate, William E. “Pussyfoot” Johnson, credited Wolfenbarger with inspiring him to enter the temperance field.