Little Bits of History

Carrie Nation

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 7, 2014
Carrie Nation

Carrie Nation

June 7, 1899: Carrie Nation enters Dobson’s Saloon and announces, “Men, I have come to save you from a drunkard’s fate.” Carrie Amelia Moore was born on November 25, 1846 in Garrard County, Kentucky. The family owned slaves and suffered many setbacks during her childhood. Carrie had little education and because of family difficulties, including many family members dealing with mental illness, the child sought refuge in the slave quarters. They moved several times during the US Civil War and ended up in Kansas City. Carrie worked nursing wounded soldier after a raid on Independence, Missouri.

In 1865, Carrie met a young doctor who had fought for the Union. She married Dr. Charles Gloyd who, by all accounts was a severe alcoholic. They married on November 21, 1867, just days before her 21st birthday and she left him shortly before their daughter was born on September 27, 1868. Gloyd died less than a year later from the effects of alcoholism. This is the time when Carrie developed her passionate dislike of all thing liquor. She sold the land she had received from her father and with that money and proceeds from her husband’s estate, she moved her daughter and mother-in-law to Holden, Missouri. Carrie attended the Normal Institute in Warrensburg, Missouri and earned a teaching certificate. She taught for four years in Holden.

In 1874, she married David Nation – a lawyer, minister, and journalist. Already a father, he was 19 years older than Carrie. They purchased a farm and since neither of them knew anything about farming, it was unsuccessful. They eventually moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas where Carrie ran a successful hotel while her husband found work as a preacher. She began her temperance work there and prayed for guidance to help curb drinking. She claimed a heavenly vision on June 5, 1899 and two days later, the nearly six foot tall, 175 pounds woman entered the saloon armed with many rocks (which she called smashers) and began breaking the casks of alcohol.

Her smashing in saloons soon turned to hatchet jobs. She would either come alone or with hymn-singing women for company as she wreaked havoc in saloons across the state. She divorced her husband in 1901 and carried on with her temperance work. In the first decade of the 1900s, she was arrested about 30 times. She paid her jail fine from lecture-tour fees and sales of souvenir hatchets. She continued to destroy bars and found her calling in the US which did not translate to overseas success. She became ill while giving a speech and was taken to Evergreen Place Hospital and Sanitarium in Leavenworth, Kansas. She died there on June 9, 1911. Both her mother and daughter had been confined to mental institutions earlier but her cause of death has not been linked to the family tendency toward mental illness.

Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once. It is an insult to creation not to experience it fully. Temperance is wickedness. – Stephen Fry

Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and total abstinence from the things that are foul. – Frances E. Willard

I neither drink nor smoke, because my schoolmaster impressed upon me three cardinal virtues; cleanliness in person, cleanliness in mind; temperance. – John Burns

Regardless of what one’s attitude towards prohibition may be, temperance is something against which, at a time of war, no reasonable protest can be made. – William Lyon Mackenzie King

Also on this day: A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama – In 1914 the Panama Canal was found to work.
It’s My Body – In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut was decided.
Treaty of Tordesillas – In 1494, this treaty was signed, parceling out the New World.
Lee, but not Robert E. – In 1776, the Lee Resolution was presented to the Second Continental Congress.

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One Response

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  1. vanbraman said, on June 8, 2014 at 2:15 am

    I would think of Carrie Nation whenever I would drive through Medicine Lodge. I went to High School 70 miles west of Medicine Lodge.


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