Carry A. Nation was a hatchet-wielding crusader in the early 1900s and part of the Women's Christian Temperance Union campaign to prohibit alcohol. 1846-1911.
Born in 1846 in Kentucky, sickly Carry Amelia Moore lived with a mother who suffered from a mental illness and often thought she was Queen Victoria. The family moved to Missouri when Carry was eight. In 1867 she married Charles Gloyd, an alcoholic, who died two years later. They had a daughter, Charlein.
Portrait of Carry A. Nation holding a hatchet and Bible in 1901. Photo courtesy kansasmemory.org (KSHS)
Carry supported her daughter and her mother-in-law as a school teacher. But in 1874 she married David Nation, a man 19 years her senior. After failing at farming and running a hotel, they moved to Medicine Lodge in 1892 where David became a minister. If Carry felt the sermons too long she would tell him from her seat in the front row that it was time to stop.
It was here that Carry started a chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and worked against the drinking of alcohol through the WCTU movement. Her first raid of a drinking establishment was in 1899 in Medicine Lodge. Her fame grew as she was arrested time after time.
One theory has it that Carry began breaking things in the joints with rocks that were stored in her apron and the men would call her a "hatchet lady." Why not then actually use a hatchet? The other explanation is that her husband chided her that she should use a hatchet to wield maximum damage. She thought that was the most sensible thing he had ever said. Still, they divorced that same year (1901). He cited reasons of desertion.
She, or her followers, destroyed Kansas bars in Kiowa, Wichita, Enterprise, Medicine Lodge, Topeka, Harper, Hollenberg, Winfield, Holton, Osage City, Coffeyville, Smith Center, Solomon, Goff, Winfield, Arkansas City, Sterling, Garden City, Wellington, Perry, Paola, Leavenworth, Hutchinson, Lawrence, Herington, Silver Lake, Eureka, Millwood, Garden Plain, Chanute, Scott City, Junction City, Fort Scott, and Marshall County.
A postcard from 1901 showing Carry Nation with a group at Rochester, New York. . Photo courtesy kansasmemory.org (KSHS)
After her days of destroying "joints," she wrote a paper called The Smasher's Mail and toured the United States and Europe preaching about the evils of liquor.
In 1903 she changed her name from her given Carrie Amelia to "Carry A. Nation" and had it trademarked.
She died in 1911 and is buried beside her mother in Belton, Missouri.
Source: Kaye Kuhn's nomination and www.kshs.org/exhibits/carry/carry1.htm
POINTS OF INTEREST ABOUT CARRY A. NATION IN KANSAS
Display panel in the Carry Nation Home.
Carry Nation's hatchet marks can still be seen at the Idle Hour Bar in Anthony.