(1846 - 1911) was one of the most spectacular
and slightly weird Temperance advocate
s ever. She is famous for actually using a hatchet
Carry Amelia Nation, at one time married to an alcoholic, was angered by an 1890 US Supreme Court decision that allowed liquor to be imported into Kansas, which weakened the strong prohibition laws in that state. She decided to take personal action to save Kansas from the dangers of alcohol.
Imagine Carry, an intimidating figure at nearly 6 feet tall, weighing in at 175 pounds and always dressed in black-and-white clothing. Imagine her marching into a bar, accompanied by a group of hymn-singing women. If that isn't enough to make you put down your drink, imagine her pulling out a hatchet and starting to smash the bar fixtures and stock. Doing this repeatedly made her a national celebrity who eventually drew crowds of thousands to her pro-Temperance lectures.
Carry Nation was jailed several times and usually paid her (frequent) fines from her lecture tour fees and from the sale of souvenir miniature hatchets. As if that isn't surreal enough, she later appeared in vaudeville shows and in a musical called "Hatchetation", which was an adaptation of "Ten Nights in a Bar-room".
"The Hatchet Lady" also rallied against such contemporary evils as fraternal orders, tobacco, foreign food and skirts of improper length.
National prohibition laws were enacted in 1919, 9 years after her death. Even after the Prohibition ended in 1933, Carry's home state of Kansas remained dry until 1948. She would have been proud!