Birthplace of Carry A. Nation

Historical Marker # 1733 located about four miles away from the prohibition advocate’s birthplace on Carry Nation Road in Lancaster, Kentucky. Nation was born in Garrard County on November 25, 1846 as Carry Amelia Moore. She and her family moved from Garrard County when Carry was five, relocating to Boyle County and then to Woodford. They left Kentucky when Carry was nine years old, moving west to Missouri.

Carry Moore was unusually tall, around six feet in height, and many comment on what they say is her uncomely appearance. It was this that scholars speculate on why Carry married the first man who asked her, Dr. Charles Floyd in 1867. His alcoholism and early death is what led Carry to her campaigns against liquor, tobacco, and saloons. After seventeen months of marriage, and the birth of their daughter Charlene, Carry left her husband and moved back in with her parents. He died not long after she left.

In 1877, Carry married a Civil War veteran who was nineteen years older than she. David A. Nation was an editor, attorney, and minister, both marrying each other for convenience. As she did when she lived with her father, the Nations moved around quite bit from Texas back to Kansas. It was in Medicine Lodge, Kansas that Carry began a more focused campaigns against alcohol, eventually becoming the president of the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Although her husband assisted Carry in some of her public activities but he did not approve of her extremism in the cause. David divorced Carry in 1901 on grounds of cruelty and desertion, and it was around this time that she began using her famous hatchet to destroy what she was against.

Kansas became a prohibition state in 1880, although illegal liquor sales still occurred. Carry used a hatchet to smash saloons, lecturing, and carrying her Bible. She would often take cigarettes out of men’s mouth and throw them to ground. Among the other things she hates besides liquor and cigarettes were the Masons, foreign foods, corsets, skirts of an improper length, sex, politics, and William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Jennings Bryan. In Kansas City, she financed a home for wives of drunkards although that did not last long. In one of her assaults on a saloon, Carry smashed a Venetian mirror with brickbats, flung stones through windows, leveled a brick at a boy’s head (and thankfully missed it although barely), ripped prints from the walls, broke chairs, and threw billiard balls. Carry was arrested over thirty times during her campaigns. She eventually retired to Eureka Springs, Arkansas and died on January 3, 1911. She is buried by her mother in Belton, Missouri.

Images

Carry Nation's Attire

Carry Nation's Attire

Carry™s attire became quite well known as she began her travels and campaigns: a poke bonnet, black dress with a white bow at the neck, black stockings, blue cape, and square-toed shoes. Courtesy of Library of Congress View File Details Page

Carry Nation

Carry Nation

Carry Nation used the hatchet as her trademarked weapon to destroy saloons around the Midwest. She was often photographed holding both her hatchet and Bible. Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society View File Details Page

Carry Nation's Hatchet

Carry Nation's Hatchet

After she began using the hatchet as her tool of choice, Carry began selling pins and other such miniature hatchets as a way of raising funds for her cause and expenses such as railroad fares and hotel bills. At many of her speeches, she would advise “Oh, I tell you, ladies, you never know what joy it gives you to start out to smash a rumshop.” And if women could not secure their own hatchetz “… [P]okers will do as well.” Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Ashlee Chilton, “Birthplace of Carry A. Nation,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed June 22, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/762.

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