Friday, June 10, 2011

Temperance Crusader Carrie Nation Dead at 64

From my old hometown of Leavenworth, Kansas comes a report that Carrie Nation, the hatchet-wielding crusader for the prohibition of alcohol and for temperance, died last night at 8:05 P.M. at the age of 64.  She had been living at Evergreen Sanitarium at the corner of Limit and Maple Ave. in the First City since January when she suffered a nervous breakdown while giving a speech at a park in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Reportedly, the breakdown was the result of stress from a lawsuit she filed against a lecture bureau for allegedly failing to pay her for services rendered.

No family was with her when she died.  She has no children and was a divorcee at the time of her death.  The only people with her where her physician Dr. A. L. Sumalsky and a nurse.  She left no messages for her family or followers.

Carrie Nation became world famous as a result of her "Hatchetations" on saloons in Kansas which broke the state's ban on the sale of liquor.  In 1889, she started a branch of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Medicine Lodge, Kansas.  Initially her advocacy for the prohibitionist cause was benign, preaching in front of saloons, serenading saloon   patrons, and pointedly calling them sinners.  On June 7, 1899, she used rocks to bust up Dobson's Saloon in Kiowa, Kansas along with two other bars in town.  Between 1900 and last year, she attacked 30 saloons with her infamous hatchets, including an famous incident in April 1901 when she busted several bars in wet Kansas City, Missouri.  She was fined $500 for the attacks but the fees were waved if she never returned to the city.  With the hatchets she destroyed the saloon's stock of liquor, bar paraphernalia, and mirrors, often receiving attention from the law.  She also preached against the use of tobacco products.  More recently she appeared in vaudeville shows to mixed reviews.

Link: Carrie Nation's Life Chapter is at an End [The Bisbee Daily Review]
Link: Carrie Nation, Saloon's Enemy, Ends Long War [The Washington Herald]

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