Carry A. Nation was synonymous with the American Temperance movement at the turn of the 20th century, a long-running campaign that ultimately led to the prohibition of alcohol in the United States, as well as the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1918. Known for smashing up saloons and liquor stores with a hatchet and for raining down her strongly held convictions with the force of an orthodox preacher.
Carrie Amelia Moore was born in Garrard County, Kentucky on November 25, 1846. Many of her family members suffered from mental illness. At 22 years old, she met and married after two years, Dr. Charles Gloyd.
Later, they divorced before the birth of their daughter. Then Gloyd, less than a year later, drank himself to death. In 1877, she married Dr. David A.
Nation and moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, where she began her temperance work. She adopted the name Carry A. Nation as a play on words which she later trademarked in the state of Kansas and used as a slogan.Nation joined the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement (WCTU) in 1899 with women’s suffrage on the mind. leader Susan B. Anthony argued that America’s families and the fabric of society itself were being torn apart by men’s overindulgence in alcohol. Nation became a leader of her local branch of the WCTU, organized protests, and later became known for her intrusive comments, like her greeting for bartenders: “Good morning destroyer of men’s souls.
“Dissatisfied with the little progress made, Nation took a more drastic approach in 1900 and vandalized two saloons (in Kiowa, Kansas) with rocks. When a tornado hit eastern Kansas soon after, the only way she could explain it was a sign from God supporting her actions. By 1901, Nation had become a household name, and she was arrested approximately 30 times between 1900 and 1910 but never prosecuted because Kansas was a dry state where you couldn’t buy intoxicants, but the laws were a joke and nobody bothered to enforce them. Her husband is said to have joked that her activism might be more efficient if she used a hatchet, to which she replied, “That’s the most sensible thing you have said since I married you.” Unfortunately, David filed for divorce not long thereafter.Nation paid her jail fees with profits from her lecture tours and the sale of souvenir hatchets, photos, pins, buttons, and newsletters.
She even published her own newspaper, titled The Hatchet. In her old age, Nation retired to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where she purchased farmland and named her home “Hatchet Hall.” She kept up an active schedule until her last speaking event in January 1911, when Nation concluded: “I have done what I could,” soon after she collapsed on stage.
Carry Nation died later that year on June 9. The WCTU later built a stone monument in her memory and inscribed “Faithful to the Cause of Prohibition, She Hath Done What She Could.”