Carrie Amelia Nation (November 25, 1846 – June 9, 1911)
A modest white clapboard house nestled among the trees, and like so many of the other houses in Eureka Springs. Arkansas, clinging to the side of a mountain. The simple plaque on its porch reads, “Hatchet Hall. The Carrie A. Nation Home. No. 35 Steel Street.”
Carrie A. Nation - a very famous Eurekan!
At the age of 60, Carrie retired to Eureka Springs. She stated that she loved that region of Arkansas because it reminded her of Scotland. She used her home, Hatchet Hall, as a boarding house and school, as well as a reported haven for battered women. Her final speech was in Eureka Springs on January 13, 1911. She had recently had health problems, but the speech had been going well. Suddenly she stopped and gasped out, “I have done what I could," then she fell into a coma. She was taken to Evergreen Place Hospital in Kansas, where she remained in poor condition until her death on June 9, 1911. Doctors said the cause of death was paresis.
She is buried in Belton, Missouri. Her grave was unmarked for many years until the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), of which she had been a member, erected a gravestone with her name and the quote: “Faithful to the Cause, She Hath Done What She Could.”
So what did she do?
Carrie was an American woman who was a radical member of the WCTU, which opposed alcohol before the advent of Prohibition.
She described herself as "a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn't like", and claimed a divine ordination to promote temperance by destroying bars.
Carrie resided here in Eureka Springs in this white clapboard house. Hatchet Hall is plain and unassuming, unlike so many of its more colorful and gingerbread adorned neighbors in Eureka Springs, AR.
Like a plain swallow in the middle of a flock of flamingos, its simplicity was, in fact, what made it stand out all the more. - Liz Harrell
The Temperance Movement was more than just the subject of alcohol. For the women of this movement, their real battle was against what alcohol stood for, and the ramifications it had on the lives of women.
Early life | First marriage
Nation was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, to George and Mary. Her father was a successful farmer, stock trader, and slaveholder of Irish descent. During much of her early life, her health was poor and her family experienced financial setbacks. The family moved several times in Kentucky and finally settled in Belton, Missouri in 1854.
in 1862, the family moved to Texas as Missouri became involved in the Civil War. George did not fare well in Texas, and he moved his family back to Missouri. The family returned to High Grove Farm in Cass County. When the Union Army ordered them to evacuate their farm, they moved to Kansas City. Carrie nursed wounded soldiers after a raid on Independence, Missouri. The family again returned to their farm when the Civil War ended.
In 1865 Carrie met Charles Gloyd, a young physician who had fought for the Union, who was a severe alcoholic. Gloyd taught school near the Moores' farm while deciding where to establish his medical practice. He eventually settled on Holden. Missouri, and asked Nation to marry him. Nation's parents objected to the union because they believed he was addicted to alcohol, but the marriage took place. They were married on November 21, 1867, and separated shortly before the birth of their daughter, Charlien, on September 27, 1868. Gloyd died in 1869 of alcoholism.
Influenced by the death of her husband, Nation developed a passionate activism against alcohol. With the proceeds from selling her inherited land (as well as that of her husband's estate), she built a small house in Holden. She moved there with her mother-in-law and Charlien, and attended the Normal Institute in Warrnesburge, Missouri, earning her teaching certificate in July 1872. She taught at a school in Holden for four years. She obtained a history degree and studied the influence of Greek philosophers on American politics.
God's Guidance to Particular Work | Second marriage
On December 30, 1874, Carrie married David A. Nation, an attorney, minister, newspaper journalist, and father, 19 years her senior. Carrie was 28.
The family purchased a 1,700 acre cotton plantation on the San Bernard River in Brazoria County, Texas.
As neither knew much about farming, the venture was ultimately unsuccessful. David Nation moved to Brazoria to practice law. In about 1880, Carrie moved to Columbia to operate the hotel owned by A. R. and Jesse W. Park. Her name is on the Columbia Methodist Church roll. She lived at the hotel with her daughter, Charlien Gloyd, "Mother Gloyd" (Carrie's first mother-in-law), and David's daughter, Lola. Her husband also operated a saddle shop just southwest of this site. The family soon moved to Richmond, Texas to operate a hotel.
David Nation became involved in the Jaybird–Woodpecker War. As a result, he was forced to move back north to Medicine Lodge, Kansas in 1889, where he found work preaching at a Christian church.
She began her temperance work in Medicine Lodge by starting a local branch of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and campaigning for the enforcement of Kansas' ban on the sale of liquor. Her methods escalated from simple protests to serenading saloon patrons with hymns accompanied by a hand organ, to greeting bartenders with pointed remarks such as, "Good morning, destroyer of men's souls."
Dissatisfied with the results of her efforts, Nation began to pray to God for direction. On June 5, 1900, she felt she received her answer in the form of a heavenly vision.
As she described it:
"The next morning I was awakened by a voice which seemed to me speaking in my heart, these words, "GO TO KIOWA," and my hands were lifted and thrown down and the words, "I'LL STAND BY YOU." The words, "Go to Kiowa," were spoken in a murmuring, musical tone, low and soft, but "I'll stand by you," was very clear, positive and emphatic. I was impressed with a great inspiration, the interpretation was very plain, it was this: "Take something in your hands, and throw at these places in Kiowa and smash them."
Responding to the revelation, she gathered several rocks – "smashers", she called them – and proceeded to Dobson's Saloon on June 7. Announcing "Men, I have come to save you from a drunkard's fate", she began to destroy the saloon's stock with her cache of rocks.
After she similarly destroyed two other saloons in Kiowa, a tornado hit eastern Kansas, which she took as divine approval of her actions.
The first well-known woman to become entrenched in the Prohibition movement was Carry Nation. Some may remember her as a dark soul who dressed in black and carrying a hatchet promoting a campaign of destruction called “hachetations.”
Nation continued her destructive ways in Kansas, her fame spreading through her growing arrest record. After she led a raid in Wichita, Kansas, her husband joked that she should use a hatchet next time for maximum damage. Nation replied, "That is the most sensible thing you have said since I married you." The couple divorced in 1901.
Between 1900 and 1910, she was arrested some 30 times for "hatchetations."
Alone or accompanied by hymn-singing women, she would march into a bar and sing and pray while smashing bar fixtures and liquor stock with her hatchet.
Nation paid her jail fines from lecture-tour fees and sales of souvenir hatchets. The souvenirs were provided by a Topeka, Kansas pharmacist. Engraved on the handle of the hatchet, the pin reads, "Death to Rum."
It is clear, Carrie was on a mission.
Her extreme crusade may make a little more sense in this context: she railed against the domestic violence and monetary instability that women dealt with from the effects of their husband's deep, dark, alcohol-driven life. At a time when women had very little power, very little ability to support themselves, no voting rights, and all the while trying to make the best of a situation with husbands who spent the family’s earnings on alcohol, only to come home drunk and angry, Carrie’s extreme crusade beings to reveal a woman scorned.
In April 1901, Nation went to Kansas City, Missouri, a city known for its wide opposition to the temperance movement, and smashed liquor in various bars on 12th Street in downtown Kansas City. She was arrested, hauled into court and fined $500 (about $20,000 in 2019 dollars.) The judge suspended the fine so long as Nation never returned to Kansas City.
By the end of the Hatchetation journey, Carrie was arrested over 32 times during this "hatchet" period and one report says that she was placed in the poorhouse in Washington, D.C. for three days for refusing to pay a $35 fine.
Later life and death
Nation's anti-alcohol activities became widely known. The sign, "All Nations Welcome But Carrie" became a bar-room staple for many years.
Near the end of her life, Nation moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas where she founded the home known as "Hatchet Hall". In poor health, she collapsed during a speech in a Eureka Springs park. She was taken to a hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas, the Evergreen Place Hospital and Sanitarium located on 25 acres at Limit Street and South Maple Avenue just outside the city limits of Leavenworth.
Evergreen Place Hospital was founded and operated by Dr. Charles Goddard, a professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and a distinguished authority on nervous and mental troubles, liquor and drug habits.
Nation died there on June 9, 1911. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Belton City Cemetery in Belton, Missouri. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union later erected a stone inscribed "Faithful to the Cause of Prohibition, She Hath Done What She Could" and the name "Carry A. Nation".
If Nation had lived just a few years longer, she could have seen Prohibition become the law of the land. She was not the only temperance advocate, but she was probably one of the most influential. Hatchet Hall still stands and can be seen in Eureka Springs. Nearby is a spring named after Nation.
Her home in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, the Carrie Nation House, was bought by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in the 1950s and was declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1976.
A natural flowing spring just across the street from Hatchet Hall in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is named after her.
Carrie Nation was known as 'Mother Nature' for the charity and religious work she did.
Because Nation believed drunkenness was a cause to many problems in society, she attempted to help those in prison.
In 1890, Nation founded a sewing circle in Medicine Lodge, Kansas to make clothing for the poor as well as prepare meals for them on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In 1901, Nation established a shelter for wives and their children of alcoholics in Kansas City, Missouri. This shelter would later be described as an, "early model for today's battered women's shelter".
A fountain was built in her honor in Wichita, Kansas, not far from the place of one of her first acts against alcohol. The fountain was destroyed only a few years later when the driver of a beer truck lost control and ran into it.