Carry Amelia “Carrie” Nation


Carry Amelia “Carrie” Nation Famous memorial

Original Name Moore
Garrard County, Kentucky, USA
Death 9 Jun 1911 (aged 64)
Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas, USA
Burial Belton, Cass County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 756 View Source

Folk figure, Prohibitionist. She was a former wife of an alcoholic who took to roaming dry Kansas busting up saloons with her hatchet. A formidable woman, nearly 6 feet tall and weighing 175 pounds, she dressed in stark black and white clothing. Alone or accompanied by hymn-singing women, she would march into a saloon and proceed to sing, pray, hurl biblical-sounding vituperations, and smash the bar fixtures and stock with a hatchet. At one point, her fervor led her to invade the governor's chambers at Topeka. Jailed many times, she paid her fines from lecture-tour fees and sales of souvenir hatchets, at times earning as much as $3000 per week. She herself survived numerous physical assaults. Carry Amelia Moore was born in Garrard County, Kentucky. Her father George Moore was a prosperous plantation owner and a mother often plagued with mental instability. She was a very devout religious child growing up, a student of the bible but suffered frequent bouts of ill health. The family moved to Belton, Missouri when she was nine. She held a teaching certificate from a state normal school but her education was spotty. Here she met and wed Dr. Charles Gloyd a physician and a drunkard. They had one daughter who was sickly and he received the blame for her condition. Carry believed God punished them because of his drinking and the marriage ended in divorce. She was quickly remarried to David Nation, a combination lawyer, minister and editor some nineteen years her senior. He became pastor of the Christian Church in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Carry joined whole heartily in his Pastorate founding a Woman's Temperance Union in the town, serving as a jail evangelist and teaching the church Sunday School. Their marriage was short lived and once again a divorce interrupted her life. Her calling was clear after Kansas adopted a constitutional amendment prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol except for medicinal purposes. Saloons still flourished as dishonest police officers and town officials took payoffs. Carry claimed God told her to go to Kiowa, Kansas and break up her first saloon. Initially, she used bricks wrapped in newspaper, an iron rod strapped to her cane and then her trademark hatchet. Driven by her claim of divine ordination to promote temperance, she went forth with a vengeance. In ten years she was arrested some 30 times while many incidents did not end in arrest because the saloons were illegal and the owners would simply endure the vandalism. She published many newsletters in her fight for prohibition: 'The Smasher's Mail, the Hatchet, and the Home Defender, ' penned her autobiography, 'The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation.' Her 'hatchetation' period was brief but brought her national notoriety. She was in demand as a temperance lecturer, railing against fraternal orders, tobacco, foreign foods, corsets, skirts of improper length and an advocate of woman suffrage. Carry appeared in vaudeville at Coney Island in a production called 'hatchetation.' She moved to Oklahoma Territory and helped that state enter the nation with a dry constitution. Following an extensive European tour, Carry lived briefly in Washington D.C. In failing health, she was brought by a nephew to the Evergreen Sanitarium in Leavenworth where she lingered for five months dying at the age of 65 then buried beside her mother in Belton, Missouri. A poignant inscription is emblazoned on her marker: 'She Hath Done What She Could.' Prologue: Carry Nation's legacy is enshrined at the Kansas State Historical Society Museum in Topeka. Many items associated with her crusades are on display: clubs, hatchets, fragments from smashed saloons, her diary, photographs, portraits, issues of her newsletter (The Smasher's Mail) and library books on her life and temperance activities. Many historic markers dot the Kansas landscape: There is one in Kiowa noting the site of her first saloon smashing and in Leavenworth is a wayside tour marker which directs one on a walking tour of her escapades. The home were the family lived and she grew up in Medicine Lodge, Kansas is beautifully restored and contains many original artifacts. A landmark house in Eureka Springs where she lived is still there and appropriately referred, 'Hatchet Hall.'

Bio by: Donald Greyfield



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 756
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Carry Amelia “Carrie” Nation (25 Nov 1846–9 Jun 1911), Find a Grave Memorial ID 756, citing Belton Cemetery, Belton, Cass County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .