Carrie Nation

Carrie Nation
Carrie Nation was an immoderate figure in the temperance movement, decades before the United States government enacted the Volstead Act. The Volstead Act resulted in the prohibition of alcohol in the United States in 1919. Unfortunately, she died in 1911, a few years before her dream of alcohol prohibition would come to fruition.

Carrie Amelia Moore was born in Kentucky, in Garrard County in 1846. She spent most of her early life battling health issues and constantly moving with her parents, as they had suffered many financial issues. The family finally settled in Belton, Missouri. When the Civil War started, the family moved several more times before finally settling in Kansas City, Missouri. Carrie Nation helped nurse wounded soldiers after a Civil War raid on Independence, Missouri.

In 1867, Carrie married her first husband but left him shortly before their daughter was born because of his rampant alcoholism and her estranged husband died a few months later due to complications of his alcoholism. In 1872, Carrie Nation received a teaching degree from the Normal School in Warrensburg, Missouri. With that degree, she taught school for four years in Holden, Missouri. In 1874, Carrie married a man named David Nation. He was a preacher, a lawyer and a journalist.

The two of them and their children, all born of previous marriages, moved around a lot after they purchased a cotton plantation and it failed, as neither one of them knew anything about growing cotton. They moved to Texas in 1877 where her husband David began practicing law and they ran a hotel there together. Then she would buy a hotel in Richmond, Texas and would run that for the next ten years. Then in 1889, the Nations would move to Medicine Bow, Kansas, where her husband took a job as a preacher there. It was also here that Carrie would begin her charitable work, helping those in need, especially women and children. It was here that she earned the moniker, Mother Nation. It was here in Medicine Bow, Kansas that Carrie Nation opened a chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, or WCTU, for short. The WCTU was instrumental in getting Kansas to pass an alcohol prohibition law. Missouri passed a similar law but left it up to the counties in the state whether they wanted to go dry or not.

A few illegal bars in Medicine Bow, Kansas remained in operation until Carrie Nation and the WCTU stood out in front of these establishments and prayed loudly and sang hymns. Finally, all the bars in Medicine Bow, shut down. It wasn't until 1900 when she said that she received a calling from God to go to Kiowa Kansas and start shutting down bars there as well. This time however, she didn't stand outside and pray or sing. This time she went into the bars with bricks and rocks and began throwing them at the stock behind the bar. During her crusade, someone handed her a hatchet and she began to swing this in bars and smashed things with it. No one would stop her because she was six feet tall and weighed 180 pounds. Some said that she looked like a monster when she was ranting and swinging the hatchet around.

In 1901, her marriage failed and Carrie began selling little hatchets as souvenirs to make money. She had been beaten and jailed many times during her bar smashing days and unfortunately, Carrie Nation died in 1911, a few years before her dream of a dry country would come true.




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