Temperance advocate Carry Nation became famous for using a hatchet to smash up saloons that sold alcohol in violation of Kansas law.
This week's "History Guy" video tells about Nation, who spent time in Topeka 118 years ago this week.
Nation was born as "Carrie Amelia Moore" in 1846 in Kentucky. After her family moved to the Kansas City area, she was married in 1867 to a young physician, Charles Gloyd, who had an alcohol problem. They separated in 1868, and he died in 1869.
She was married in 1874 to David Nation, a lawyer and journalist. They went to Texas to manage a cotton plantation. David Nation later became a minister and moved with his wife in 1889 to Medicine Lodge in south-central Kansas.
Meanwhile, Kansas had enacted a statewide prohibition on alcohol in 1881, though some communities didn't do a good job of enforcing it. Carrie Nation campaigned to try to make sure that ban was enforced.
The Kansas State Historical Society reports that in 1894, she led a group of women into a pharmacy, where she rolled a keg of whiskey into the street, smashed it to the ground and set the contents afire.
Nation used a brick to smash up saloons in 1900 at Kiowa County in south-central Kansas, then switched to a hatchet later that year to damage a hotel bar in Wichita.
Nation made a visit in late January 1901 to Topeka. She and her followers — known as "Home Defenders" — first went to illegal saloons and encouraged the owners to think about how alcohol affects families. They then came back the next week and smashed up multiple bars before police arrested Nation.
Overall, Nation was taken into custody 30 times, according to the historical society, which says David Nation filed for divorce on the grounds of desertion.
She eventually shifted her focus to publishing a newspaper, the "Smasher's Mail," and appearing on the lecture circuit to capitalize on the fame she had achieved.
Nation officially changed her first name in 1903 to “Carry,” saying her full name meant “Carry A Nation for Prohibition,” according to the State Historical Society of Missouri.
Nation also advocated giving women the right to vote. She died at age 64, in 1911.
Kansans voted in 1912 to give women the right to vote, and the U.S. gave women the right to vote in 1920.
The U.S. enacted a nationwide prohibition on alcohol beginning in 1920, then repealed it in 1933. Kansans voted to repeal statewide prohibition in 1948.
Nation's home in Medicine Lodge became a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
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