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Carry A. Nation

"A woman is stripped of everything by them [saloons]. Her husband is torn from her; she is robbed of her sons, her home, her food, and her virtue. Truly does the saloon make a woman bare of all things!"

Carry A. Nation, temperance reformer, author, lecturer, and bar room smasher, was born to George Moore, a prosperous plantation owner, and Mary Campbell on November 25, 1846, in Gerrard County, Kentucky. Not a strong child, she spent much of her time reading the Bible.

Carry loved and married a young physician, Dr. Charles Gloyd on November 21, 1867, in Belton, Missouri. Their only daughter, Charlien, was "afflicted" and Carry believed the illness was due to Gloyd's drinking. Carry left Gloyd because of his drinking and failure to make a living. He died six months later.

An unsuccessful school teacher, Carry decided her best chance for making a living would be to marry again. She wed David Nation (lawyer, minister, and editor) nineteen years her senior, in 1877. The family moved to Texas. In spite of disappointing ventures, Carry had some success as a hotel keeper.

Scripture and her calling became clear to Carry after she dedicated herself to God. She began lecturing against the vices of tobacco and liquor.

The family came to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, in 1890 when David became pastor of the Christian Church. Carry helped organize the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and served as jail evangelist, taught Sunday School, and attended to the poor and needy.

David and Carry, "agreed on few things" and they were divorced in 1901. David died in 1903 and is buried in the Highland Cemetery, Medicine Lodge, Kansas.

The voters of Kansas in 1880, adopted a constitutional amendment prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages, except for medicinal purposes. Kansas saloon keepers violated that law; Carry asked God to use her to save Kansas. She smashed her first saloon June 1, 1900, when a voice told her to "go to Kiowa."

Carry was urged by people from other counties to "save their towns from saloons." She promptly obliged, using stones and bricks wrapped in newspaper (later an iron rod strapped to her cane) before taking up the hatchet. The sale of pewter hatchet pins paid Carry's numerous jail fines. The crusader traveled abroad preaching prohibition.

The crusader's progress was watched across the nation with interest and growing sympathy. Even Carry's enemies were compelled to acknowledge her extraordinary methods had produced definite and concrete results. In less than six months she did more to enforce prohibition laws than had been accomplished by churches and temperance organizations.

Alone and penniless, Carry died on June 9, 1911, at Leavenworth, Kansas, and she is buried beside her mother at Belton, Missouri. Her tombstone inscription, as she requested reads "She Hath Done What She Could."


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