Caroline Amelia Nation (November 25, 1846 – June 9, 1911), often referred to by Carrie, Carry Nation,[1] Carrie A. Nation, or Hatchet Granny, was an American who was a radical member of the temperance movement, which opposed alcohol before the advent of Prohibition. Nation is noted for attacking alcohol-serving establishments (most often taverns) with a hatchet. She married David Nation in 1874. She was previously known by either her birth name, Carrie Moore and, after her first marriage in 1867, as Carrie Gloyd.

Carrie Nation
Nation in 1903
Caroline Amelia Moore

(1846-11-25)November 25, 1846
DiedJune 9, 1911(1911-06-09) (aged 64)
Resting placeBelton Cemetery
Belton, Missouri
Other namesCarry A. Nation
EducationNormal Institute
  • Charles Gloyd
    (m. 1867; died 1869)
  • David A. Nation
    (m. 1874; div. 1901)

Nation was known as "Mother Nation" for the charity and religious work she did.[2] Like many in the temperance movement, she considered drunkenness a cause of many of society's problems. She attempted to help people in prison.[2] 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.[3] In 1901, Nation established a shelter for wives and children of alcoholics in Kansas City, Missouri. This shelter would later be described as an "early model for today's battered women's shelter".[4]

In her autobiography, The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation (1908), she also strongly opposed Freemasonry.[5] Nation was also concerned about tight clothing for women; she refused to wear a corset and urged women not to wear them because of their harmful effects on vital organs.[6] She described herself as "a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn't like",[7] and claimed a divine ordination to promote temperance by destroying bars.[8]

Early life and first marriage


Caroline Amelia Moore[a] was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, to George Moore and Mary Campbell.[11] Her father was a successful farmer, stock trader, and slaveholder[10] of Irish descent. During much of her early life, her health was poor and her family experienced financial setbacks.[12] The family moved several times in Kentucky and finally settled in Belton, Missouri, in 1854.[10]

In addition to their financial difficulties, many of Moore's family members suffered from mental illness, her mother at times having delusions.[12] There is speculation that the family did not stay in one place long because of rumors about Mary Moore's mental state. Some writers have speculated that Mary believed she was Queen Victoria because of her finery and social airs. Mary lived in an insane asylum in Nevada, Missouri, from August 1890 until her death on September 28, 1893. Mary was put in the asylum through legal action by her son, Charles, although there is suspicion that Charles instigated the lawsuit because he owed Mary money.[10]

The family moved to Texas as Missouri became involved in the Civil War in 1862. George did not fare well in Texas, and he moved his family back to Missouri.[10] 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.[10]

In 1865, Carrie met Charles Gloyd, a young physician who had fought for the Union, who was a severe alcoholic.[13] Gloyd taught school near the Moores' farm while deciding where to establish his medical practice. He eventually settled on Holden, Missouri, and asked Moore to marry him. Moore's parents objected to the union because they believed he was addicted to alcohol, but the marriage proceeded.[10] 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.[9]

Influenced by the death of her husband, Carrie Gloyd 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. Gloyd moved there with her mother-in-law and Charlien, and attended the Normal Institute in Warrensburg, Missouri, earning her teaching certificate in July 1872. Gloyd taught at a school in Holden for four years.[9] She obtained a history degree and studied the influence of Greek philosophers on American politics.[14]

Second marriage and "call from God"

Carrie Nation after her marriage to David Nation on December 30, 1874 (age 28)

In 1874, Gloyd married David A. Nation, an attorney, minister, newspaper journalist, and father, 19 years her senior.[15][16]

The family purchased a 1,700 acre (690 ha) cotton plantation on the San Bernard River in Brazoria County, Texas. As neither knew much about farming, the venture was ultimately unsuccessful.[11] They moved to Brazoria for David Nation to practice law. In about 1880, they moved to Columbia (now East Columbia) to operate the hotel owned by A. R. and Jesse W. Park.[17] Her name is on the roll of Columbia Methodist Church in West Columbia. She lived at the hotel with her daughter, Charlien Gloyd, "Mother Gloyd" (Carrie's first mother-in-law), and David's daughter, Lola. Carrie Nation's husband also operated a saddle shop just southwest of this site. The family soon moved to Richmond, Texas, to operate a hotel.[18]

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 and Carrie ran a successful hotel.[citation needed]

Texas Historical Marker for the site of Carry Nation's hotel in East Columbia, Texas

Carrie Nation 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."[7] 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 Nation 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."[8]

Responding to the revelation, Nation 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 Nation took as divine approval of her actions.[7]



Carrie Nation continued her saloon destruction campaign in Kansas, her fame spreading through her growing arrest record. After she led a raid in Wichita, Kansas, Nation's 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."[7] The couple divorced in 1901; they had no children.[19] Between 1902 and 1906, she lived in Guthrie, Oklahoma.[20]

Alone or accompanied by hymn-singing women, Nation would march into a bar and sing and pray while smashing bar fixtures and stock with a hatchet. Between 1900 and 1910, she was arrested some 30 times for "hatchetations", as she came to call them. Nation paid her jail fines from lecture-tour fees and sales of stick pins in the shape of hatchets.[21] The souvenirs were provided by a Topeka, Kansas, pharmacist. Engraved on the handle of the hatchet, the pin reads, "Death to Rum".[22]

A postcard from around 1910

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.[23] She was arrested, taken to court, and fined $500 (equivalent to $18,300 in 2023) although the judge suspended the fine under the condition that she never return to Kansas City.[24][25] She was arrested more than 32 times—one report is that she was placed in the Washington, D.C., poorhouse for three days for refusing to pay a $35 fine.[26]

Nation also conducted women's rights marches in Topeka, Kansas. She led hundreds of women that were part of the Home Defender's Army to march in opposition to saloons.[27] In Amarillo, Texas, she received a strong response, as she was sponsored by the surveyor W. D. Twichell, an active Methodist layman.[28]

Nation's anti-alcohol activities became widely known, with the slogan "All Nations Welcome But Carrie" becoming a bar-room staple.[29] She published The Smasher's Mail, a biweekly newsletter, and The Hatchet, a newspaper.

Later life and death


Later in life Nation exploited her name by appearing in vaudeville in the United States[7] and music halls in Great Britain. Nation, a proud woman more given to sermonizing than entertaining, found these venues uninspiring for her proselytizing. One of a number of pre-World War I acts that "failed to click" with foreign audiences, Nation was struck by an egg thrown by an audience member during one 1909 music hall lecture at the Canterbury Theatre of Varieties in Westminster, London. Indignantly, "The Anti-Souse Queen" ripped up her contract and returned to the United States.[30] Seeking profits elsewhere, Nation sold photographs of herself, collected lecture fees, and marketed miniature souvenir hatchets.[31] In October 1909, various press outlets reported that Nation claimed to have invented an aeroplane.[32]

Near the end of her life, Nation moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where she founded the home known as "Hatchet Hall". A spring just across the street from Hatchet Hall in Eureka Springs, the Carrie Nation Spring, is named after her.[citation needed] In poor health, she collapsed during a speech in a Eureka Springs park, after proclaiming, "I have done what I could." Nation was taken to a hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas,[15] the Evergreen Place Hospital and Sanitarium located on 25 acres at Limit Street and South Maple Avenue just outside the city limits of Leavenworth.[33] 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.[34] Nation died there on June 9, 1911. She is buried in the southeastern side of Belton 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".


Carrie Nation House in Medicine Lodge, Kansas

In 1918, a drinking fountain was erected in Nation's memory by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. It is located at Naftzger Memorial Park in Wichita, Kansas.[35] One myth is that the fountain was nearly destroyed at one time by a beer truck hitting it; Jamie Tracy, a curator of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, has not found any evidence for this ironic tale.[36] In July 2018 a life-size bronze statue of Nation was erected in front of the Eaton Hotel (at the time called the Carey Hotel[37]), the location of her raid in Wichita, Kansas.

In the satirical musical melodrama Beyond the Valley of the Dolls the band the Kelly Affair change their name to the Carrie Nations.[38] In the Kurt Vonnegut story, Welcome to the Monkey House, the fictional J. Edgar Nation's name is a mixture made up from J. Edgar Hoover and Carrie Nation. F.B.I. director Hoover "was vigorous in his moral judgments."[39] Nation's message is also present through the character Nancy McLuhan who is convinced that gin is the worst drug of all.

There is the play, Carry Nation; it ran on Broadway and starred American film actress Esther Dale. Beverly Wolff performed in the title role in Carry Nation the opera.[40] Nation was portrayed by Valerie Buhagiar in Season 9 Episode 6 of the Canadian TV series Murdoch Mysteries.[41] In "Bar Fights" (Episode 3, Season 4) of Comedy Central's Drunk History, Nation is portrayed by Vanessa Bayer.[42] A fictionalized version of Nation is portrayed in the musical Queen of the Mist, wherein she crosses paths with Annie Edson Taylor. Nation was portrayed by Julia Murney in the original Off-Broadway production.[43]

Neil Munro gives a satirical account of an encounter with Carrie Nation in his Erchie MacPherson story, "Erchie and Carrie", first published in the Glasgow Evening News of 14 December 1908.[44] In 1977 Gary Dahl, inventor of the Pet Rock, used his proceeds from that fad to renovate and open a bar in Los Gatos, California which he jokingly named "Carrie Nation's Saloon."[45][46][47] Broken Hatchet Brewing a microbrewery in Belton, MO is named in her "honor".

Carry A. Nation House in Kentucky was a home of Carrie Nation, and was a 10-room house then. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Garrard County, Kentucky, United States. It was built in 1846.[48][49] Nation's 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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The spelling of Nation's first name varies; both "Carrie" and "Carry" are considered correct. Official records say "Carrie", which Nation used for most of her life; the name "Carry" was used by her father in the family Bible. Upon beginning her campaign against liquor in the early 20th century, she adopted the name Carry A. Nation, saying it meant "Carry A Nation for Prohibition."[9] After gaining her notoriety, Carrie officially registered "Carry" as a trademark.[10]


  1. ^ 1850 United States Federal Census; this census lists the Moore family, and includes then 3-year-old Caroline. Carrie or Carry were nicknames.
  2. ^ a b "Carry A. Nation – Historic Missourians – The State Historical Society of Missouri". Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Hamilton, Neil (2017). "Nation, Carry". American Social Leaders and Activists, Second Edition.
  4. ^ Martinez, Donna (2016). "Nation, Carry". American Women Leaders and Activists, Second Edition.
  5. ^ "Carry A. Nation – Part 4 – Kansas Historical Society". Kansas Historical Foundation. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  6. ^ "Carry A. Nation". Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e McQueen, Keven (2001). "Carrie Nation: Militant Prohibitionist". Offbeat Kentuckians: Legends to Lunatics. Ill. by Kyle McQueen. Kuttawa, Kentucky: McClanahan Publishing House. ISBN 0-913383-80-5.
  8. ^ a b "Carry's Inspiration for Smashing". Kansas State Historical Society. Archived from the original on December 22, 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2007.
  9. ^ a b c "Carry A. Nation (1846–1911)". The State Historical Society of Missouri. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Johnson, Yvonne (2010). Feminist Frontiers: Women Who Shaped the Midwest. Kirksville, Missouri: Truman State University Press.
  11. ^ a b Nation, Carry. The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation. Archived from the original (TXT) on June 26, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2007.
  12. ^ a b "Carry Amelia Moore Nation". The Wild West. Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  13. ^ Grace, Fran (2001). Carry A. Nation: Retelling the Life. Indiana University Press. p. 39. ISBN 0253108330. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  14. ^ Foner, Eric. Give Us Liberty. New York: Norton. p. 850.
  15. ^ a b "Nation, Carry Moore (1846–1911)". Oklahoma Historical Society. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  16. ^ McMillen, Margot Ford; Trout, Carlynn. "Carry A. Nation (1846–1911)". Famous Missourians. State Historical Society of Missouri. Archived from the original on March 28, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  17. ^ "Carry Nation's Hotel". Texas Settlement Region. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  18. ^ "Nation, Carry Amelia Moore (1846–1911)". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  19. ^ Carrie Amelia Moore Nation (1846–1911), The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture; retrieved May 18, 2010.
  20. ^ Carrie Nation: Crusader Against Alcohol; retrieved December 3, 2014.
  21. ^ "Paying the Bills". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved January 13, 2007.
  22. ^ "Carrie A. Nation Pin, 1905". National Museum of American History. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  23. ^ "Mrs. Nation Fired in Police Court: Judge McAuley Assesses the Joint-Smasher $500 and Orders Her out of Town". The Kansas City World. April 15, 1901.
  24. ^ "Mrs. Nation Barred from Kansas City" (PDF). The New York Times. April 16, 1901. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  25. ^ "Kansas City Bars Mrs. Nation". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. April 15, 1901. p. 6. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  26. ^ "The champion", February 13, 1908 (Image 2),; accessed June 7, 2017.
  27. ^ Kazin, Michael (1995). The Populist Persuasion. New York: Cornell University Press. p. 87.
  28. ^ "Willis Day Twichell". The Handbook of Texas. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  29. ^ "Carry A. Nation: A National and International Figure". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved August 22, 2007.
  30. ^ Abel Green and Joe Laurie, Show Biz From Vaude to Video (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1951), pp. 80–81.
  31. ^ "Mrs. Nation at Atlantic City.; She Only Sold Souvenirs and Took a Bath, and People Were Disappointed", The New York Times, August 19, 1901.
  32. ^ "Carrie Nation claims". Topeka State Journal. October 2, 1909.
  33. ^ A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka/Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1918
  34. ^ Connelley 1918; the site of the hospital is now Goddard Subdivision, a residential area including a street, Goddard Circle, named for Dr. Goddard.
  35. ^ "City Parks Naftzger Memorial Park". Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  36. ^ "Carry Nation Memorial Drinking Fountain (In Transition), Wichita, Kansas". Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  37. ^ "National and State Registers of Historic Places – Kansas Historical Society". Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  38. ^ "Top 10 Fake Bands". Time. April 15, 2009. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  39. ^ Reed, Peter J. (1997). The Short Fiction of Kurt Vonnegut. Westport, London: Greenwood Press.
  40. ^ "Historical Performances: Douglas Moore's "Carry Nation" with Wolff, Faull, Smith and Fredricks – San Francisco Spring Opera, June 13, 1966 – Opera Warhorses".
  41. ^ "Murdoch Mysteries: The Local Option". IMDB. November 16, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  42. ^ "Drunk History: Bar Fights". IMDB. October 11, 2016. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  43. ^ Brantley, Ben (November 7, 2011). "Obsessed with Taking the Plunge". The New York Times.
  44. ^ Munro, Neil, "Erchie and Carrie", in Osborne, Brian D. & Armstrong, Ronald (eds.) (2002), Erchie, My Droll Friend, Birlinn Limited, Edinburgh, pp. 360 - 363, ISBN 9781841582023
  45. ^ "Salt Lake Tribune, Feb 20 1977 TedBredt on Pet Rock". The Salt Lake Tribune. February 20, 1977. p. 173. Retrieved March 11, 2023 – via
  46. ^ "Hard Sell: A History of the Pet Rock". Mental Floss. August 22, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  47. ^ "Pet rock millionaire offers a new method to getting stoned". The Miami News. Associated Press. February 7, 1977. pp. 2A. Archived from the original on March 2, 2020. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  48. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  49. ^ Patricia Bollard; Daniel Kidd & Gloria Mils (March 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Carry A. Nation House". National Park Service. Retrieved June 24, 2016. with photos

Further reading

External videos
  Booknotes interview with Fran Grace on Carry A. Nation: Retelling the Life, October 14, 2001, C-SPAN
  • The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation (1905) by Carry A. Nation
  • Carry Nation (1929) by Herbert Asbury
  • Cyclone Carry: The Story of Carry Nation (1962) by Carleton Beals
  • Vessel of Wrath: The Life and Times of Carry Nation (1966) by Robert Lewis Taylor
  • Carry A. Nation: Retelling The Life (2001) by Fran Grace