Historical Marker # 1733 is located about four miles 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 County. 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 commented on what they called her uncomely appearance. Scholars speculate her height led Carry to marry the first man who asked her, Dr. Charles Floyd in 1867. His alcoholism and early death 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. The couple married for convenience. As she did when she lived with her father, the Nations moved around quite bit from Texas back to Kansas. In Medicine Lodge, Kansas, 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, he did not approve of her extremism in the cause. David divorced Carry in 1901 on grounds of cruelty and desertion. Around this time, 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 mouths and throw them to ground. Among the other things she hated 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 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.
The marker reads:
With hatchet in hand, this famous Kentuckian harassed saloon owners across U.S. Four miles from here on Carry Nation Rd. is house where she was born, 1846; lived there five years and in other Ky. towns before moving west. After Kansas banned liquor, Carry began crusade there in 1899, smashing furniture, mirrors, bottles. Home on National Register of Historic Places. Over.
Lady with the Hatchet - Carry Nation gave direction to the antiliquor movement, which led to Prohibition, 1920-33. Driven by bitterness from first marriage to an alcoholic, she had "visions" which commanded militant pursuit of temperance. Carry's methods put her in jail some 30 times. She died in 1911 and was buried in Belton, Mo. The words, "She hath done what she could," engraved on her monument.