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The Story of Carry Nation - Part 2

The Conquest of Kansas - The commander of the legions that routed the rum-sellers of Topeka, as described in Part 1, celebrated her great personal triumph in jail. But she could afford to rest for a time. The crash of her hatchet was rousing the country. In many sections women appeared as rivals or emulators. And, finally, Kansas had a prohibition law that satisfied prohibitionists

THE ATTENTION of the outside world was concentrated upon Wichita and Topeka, during the early days of Carry Nation's campaign, but these cities, and the few others which she had honored with her personal solicitude, were not the only Kansas communities wherein the liquor interests suffered from the wave of destructive fury that followed the invasion of the Hotel Carey in Wichita. The entire state blazed spectacularly with prohibitionary fervor, and from Holton in the North to Arkansas City in the South, excited men and women armed themselves and marched singing and praying against the saloon. In Danville, a small village in Harper county, Mrs. Mary Sheriff, tall, lean-faced and of Irish descent, arose to dispute Carry Nation's supremacy and to belittle her exploits. Mrs. Sheriff was somewhat mollified by her appointment as chief lieutenant of the National Hatchet Brigade, but during the month and more that she flashed back and forth in Southern Kansas, leaving devastated joints in he wake, she frequently expressed resentment at the publicity which attended Carry Nation's every movement while her own considerable accomplishments were but briefly chronicled. Moreover, she insisted that not only was she the greater smasher, but that she originated the idea of wrecking saloons, and that Carry Nation had appropriated it without giving due credit.

"I am the original smasher," she declared. "I am sent from God to do this work, and not from Mrs. Nation. I will do more smashing than Mrs. Nation has done, and I will not talk so much about it. I intend to raid every saloon in Southern Kansas, and that will be enough for one woman to do."

As a matter of fact, neither originated the idea. Saloons were smashed with hatchets in the United States as early as 1856, when a band of three hundred women wrecked thirteen barrooms in Rockport, Mass.

Mrs. Sheriff wrecked a joint in Danville a few days after Carry Nation had arrived in Wichita, and then announced that she would lead a company of fifty women, to be called the Flying Squadron of Jesus, on a smashing tour of the counties which lay near the borders of Oklahoma and Indian Territory. She proposed, indeed, to invade Barber County, and even to assail Medicine Lodge itself, for joints were reputed to have reopened there soon after Carry Nation had been called to a larger field.

ONLY A HALF DOZEN followers were in her train when she left Danville, but local women re-enforced the squadron, and raids were successfully undertaken in Attica and half a dozen other hamlets. On the morning of January 30, 1901, Mrs. Sheriff marched into Anthony, a town of about 2,000 population some sixty miles southwest of Wichita, and harangued the temperance workers at a great mass meeting. Soon thereafter she sallied forth, carrying a heavy pick-ax musket-wise across her shoulder, and followed by five men and fourteen veiled women, all heavily armed with hatchets, hammers, axes, and crowbars.

Henley's drug store, which was suspected of being very lax in its prescription requirements, quickly fell before their onslaught; and after wrecking the establishment, they forced their way into a nearby saloon, where they smashed the mirror, the bar, the cash register and the refrigerator, but overlooked seven cases of whisky which the frightened proprietor had concealed in the cellar. The crusaders then beleaguered the Klondike Bar, but found the doors and windows barricaded and a bartender, named James, on guard with a huge revolver. The fortifications were soon demolished with axes and hatchets, and Mrs. Sheriff led the Flying Squadron into the saloon, where she attacked the bartender while her followers fell upon the fixtures and kegs of been and whisky. James yelled threats and fired several times into the ceiling, but his hostile demonstrations only increased Mrs. Sheriff's exasperation, and she pursued him about the large room earnestly striving to sink her pick-ax into his skull. But finally, wearying of this sport and eager to be at the work of destruction, she smote him with a beer bottle, whereupon he dropped his weapon and scuttled wildly through the doorway and down the street. The joint was then wrecked.

In Elk County, a few miles northeast of Arkansas City, appeared another indefatigable foe of rum — Mrs. Myra McHenry, a mighty smasher who was lestined to rival Carry Nation in variety Of exploit and excel her in suffering, for she endured pain and imprisonment not only for the prohibition movement but for the cause of women suffrage as well. During the next few years she was arrested forty-one times, assaulted twice by bartenders and seriously injured, rotten-egged by furious mobs in four towns, and four times was placed on trial to determine her sanity. Each time, however, she was adjudged to be in possession of all her mental faculties. Her distaste for constituted authority, and especially for judges and jailers, was quite as pronounced as that of Cairy Nation, and whatever prison she was confined in was always in an uproar, for she was an obstreperous and troublesome prisoner. Once in Arkansas City, when a judge threatened to fine her twenty-five dollars for contempt of court, she laughed loudly and said:

"Better make it fifty, my lad !"
"Fifty it is," said the judge, "and thirty days, besides."

Cartoon of Carry Nation
Contemporary Cartoon of Carry Nation

She went to jail singing and praying. And so long as she was his guest, the jailer knew neither peace nor quiet. But flesh and blood could stand just so much. On the twentieth day of her sentence, Mrs. McHenry awoke to find her cell door wide open, and the inner and outer gates likewise. She hallooed without result, and then carefully searched the building but found no living soul save three other prisoners who had been locked in a single cell. The jailer and his staff had disappeared. But the keys to the cell blocks and to the heavy front door were hanging in the private office, and Mrs. McHenry put them in her pocket and strode into the street, where she approached a policeman who was standing near the prison entrance. He attempted to dodge behind a tree, but she cornered him and said:

"Did you know the jail is wide open ? All the doors are unlocked !"
"Well," he said, "why don't you escape ?"
"Escape !" cried Mrs. McHenry. "I'm no law-breaker ! You come with me, my lad, and lock up this jail !"

He demurred, pleading the, pressure of official business, but she clutched him by the arm and dragged him into the building, where she compelled him to lock her in her cell, and commanded him to see that the outer gates and door were securely fastened. When the chagrined jailer and his keeper emerged from their hiding places they found Mrs. McHenry on her knees begging the Lord to forgive them for neglecting their duty.

"I suppose," she said, "that you men have been drinking poison in a joint !"

Even before Carry Nation's stirring adventures in Wichita had thrown all Kansas into a tumult, the liquor situation at Winfield, a town of some 12,000 population in Cowley County about forty miles south of Wichita, had been extremely dangerous; and members of the temperance organizations, and of the six evangelical churches, had displayed great animosity toward the half dozen joints which operated in open disregard of the prohibition laws. The saloons had often been threatened with violent extinction, and city and county officials had been warned that unless they enforced the law, their political lives would be cut short. But there was no actual trouble until the second week in February, when Ernest Hahn, a student at the Southern Kansas Methodist College, became infuriated at the sight of a barrel of whisky standing on the platform of the railroad station. He smashed it with an ax, and as the pungent liquor spilled into the gutter he ran into the saloon owned by John and Henry Schmidt and peremptorily ordered Charles Schmidt, their brother and principal bartender, to close the place at once. Charles Schmidt promptly hit him with a billiard cue, and the young crusader retreated, crying threats against the joint.

Hahn was very popular among his fellows, nearly all of whom were preparing for the ministry and were eager temperance advocates, and when he appeared in the class-room with a huge bump on his head, they determined to avenge his injury. That evening several windows in the Schmidt barroom were broken by stones, and next morning five hundred college students and an equal number of women assembled in the First Baptist Church to plan a raid in emulation of Carry Nation. They prayed, sang, and listened to a half dozen violent harangues, and presently set forth under the leadership of the Rev. Frank Lowther. The saloon doors were locked and barred when the mob arrived, and the muzzles of two shotguns peeping from a window shower that the brothers Schmidt were prepared to resist invasion. But the undaunted crusaders moved forward steadily, brandishing their hatchets, axes and crowbars, and when a shot was fired from the joint and Miss Emma Denney fell screaming with several buckshots in her body, they howled with rage and stormed the barroom. Another woman went down under the impact of a bullet as the doors and barricades crashed beneath the sturdy blows, and a third was struck by a beer bottle while scrambling over the threshold. The Schmidts and several other men ran out the back way when the mob swarmed into the saloon, but returned within a few minutes with re-enforcements. One of the brothers smashed a bottle on Joseph McMillan's head, and the Rev. Frank Lowther hit Charles Schmidt with an ax. Schmidt's wound was superficial, but it was sufficient to frighten the defenders, of the joint, and they fled without further resistance. Within half an hour the saloon had been wrecked and the liquor spilled into the gutter. Two hours later a jointist who had watched the mob at work hauled his stock and fixtures to the railroad station and shipped them out of town, and another closed his place and nailed heavy oaken timbers across the doors and windows. But three saloons remained open.

Winfield was comparatively quiet during the remainder of the day, although an undercurrent of tremendous excitement was apparent, and the saloon sympathizers openly threatened retaliation. That night the United Brethren Church, the congregation of which had sent Carry Nation a purse of $8.38 when she was first arrested in Wichita, was invaded by vandals who destroyed sixty panes in the stained glass windows and hacked the organ and pulpit with axes. When the pastor, Rev. Johnson Hendershot, went to survey the damage next morning, he found this anonymous note on a pile of wreckage:

We will show you how to treat the saloons, and will give you as good as you send. The next saloon in town wrecked means that some of you will be killed.

Horrified at the profanation of a house of worship, the temperance forces accepted this defiant gesture as a declaration of war, and at noon two thousand men and women assembled in a great mass meeting to devise means of carrying on the fight. After Oscar Schmidt and Thomas Rule, reputed jointists,had been discovered and thrown into the street, the gathering formally organized as the Vigilance League of Winfield, and unanimously adopted resolutions ordering the saloon-keepers to remove all bar fixtures and liquors within ten days. A special Law and Order Committee was appointed to convey the ultimatum to the owners of suspected places. Five hundred shotguns and revolvers were purchased in the stores of Winfield and Arkansas City and distributed to the prohibitionists, and heavily armed guards were posted at the churches and the Methodist College. The saloon forces also procured weapons, and throughout the night the streets were filled with bands of armed men, while posses of students searched for the man who was believed to have shot Miss Denney. There were frequent clashes between the liquor and temperance patrols, and a great deal of shooting, and the whole city was in such a ferment of fear and excitement that during the early evening three hundred women and children fled from their homes and sought sanctuary in the Baptist Church. A score of howling men attacked this edifice about midnight, but were routed after they had broken three windows. Soon thereafter several houses were set on fire, and half a dozen men were discovered throwing rat poison into private wells and cisterns. They escaped, although shots were fired at them.

NEXT MORNING, February 19, Mayor Albright issued a proclamation advising all who would keep the peace to carry weapons, and declaring that if he had the power he would place Winfield under martial law.

Soon after breakfast two small cannons were dragged about the business section of the town, and the prohibition chieftains announced that the guns would be used to protect the churches, and that if necessary they would be turned upon the joints. Business was practically suspended in Winfield on this, the third day of the trouble, and clergymen and others who had been prominent in the crusade against rum walked abroad with revolvers in their pockets and loaded shotguns over their shoulders, while the joints and other resorts were crowded with armed and bellicose drinkers. The Rev. G. T. Smith and Claude Cook, the latter a temperance worker, were beaten by gangs which set upon them near their homes, and the Rev. Mr. Hendershot received three notes warning him that lie would be shot if he ventured away from his residence. The preacher promptly stuck two revolvers in his pockets, and with a shotgun in his hands, marched up and down the main thoroughfare, accompanied by two other men similarly equipped. He was not molested.

Throughout the morning the headquarters of the Vigilance League was besieged by excited prohibitionists clamoring for immediate action, and about noon the Law and Order Committee held a special meeting and issued a new ultimatum to the saloonkeepers:

"Tomorrow at one p. m. if there is a saloon fixture to be found in town we will smash the same, and if any resistance is offered on your part we will injure the first man who attempts to stop us. We do not want any bloodshed in our community, but the saloons must go. The first man who strikes one of our members will be strung up to the nearest tree. We will stand no foolishness."

ARMED FARMERS eager to battle for the cause began pouring into Winfield in the afternoon, and by early evening it was obvious even to obtuse officeholders that drastic measures would be necessary to prevent serious rioting and bloodshed. The police and the sheriff's deputies were clearly unable to handle the situation, and the city authorities at length appealed to the state government at Topeka to send troops, but the request was refused. Mayor Albright then persuaded the crusaders to keep off the streets for a few hours, and ordered the joints to close immediately, swearing in additional policemen to enforce his command. With the saloons thus abolished the crisis soon passed, and within another twenty-four hours conditions in Winfield Were again normal. But the barrooms did not re-open.

Such smashings as these occurred throughout the state, although nowhere else was there as much violence and disorder as at Winfield. But everywhere the temperance armies were victorious, and by the latter part of February between forty and fifty saloons had been wrecked, fifty others had been closed to avoid demolition; and bar fixtures and liquor valued at about $150,000 had been destroyed. The owners of approximately one thousand of the fifteen hundred saloons in Kansas had been warned to shut their doors, and some thirty towns, mostly in the eastern half of the state, were wholly free of drinking places. In addition to employing the methods popularized by Carry Nation, the W. C. T. U. and other temperance organizations flooded Kansas with prohibition propaganda, most of which violently denounced state and county officials for their complaisant acceptance of the liquor traffic. They particularly made much capital out of the fact that Governor Stanley's son, Harry, had written an article for The Orange, student paper of Baker University, in which he criticised his father's attitude toward rum and eulogized Carry Nation. Alarmed by the force with which the political winds were blowing, state office-holders in Topeka instructed the various county attorneys to proceed at once against joints in their respective jurisdictions, and judges began granting injunctions against known operators of saloons—in Topeka, Judge Hazen alone issued eighteen such writs. And the Legislature, already stirred by Carry Nation's activities, not only abandoned the program sponsored by the liquor interests, but passed a law which the prohibitionists had been vainly endeavoring to get upon the statute books for many years. All places wherein liquor was sold were classed as common nuisances, and possession of liquor in any room conhected with business, or possession of a United States Revenue license, constituted prima facie evidence of guilt. The law further made it a penal offense for one person to give another a drink, or to be found in any place where liquor was dispensed. Kansas thus glowed in the golden light of actual prohibition, but despite these stringent regulations, many citizens apparently continued to slake their thirsts, for on the morning of February 24, 1901, the Topeka police picked up two hundred empty whisky bottles in alleys and areaways. And on the same day in Winfield half that number were found. The saloon-keeper's hell was the bootlegger's paradise.

NOT ALONE in bleeding Kansas did hysterical men and women imitate Carry Nation; within twenty-four hours after she had first appeared in Wichita raiders wrecked a saloon at Longview, Illinois, and thereafter a mild epidemic of smashing coursed through no fewer than a score of states. In Milwaukee several women broke the windows of a resort in the red light district, and wrecked a saloon at Eleventh and Lloyd Streets ; and in Dalton, Arkansas, five members of the W. C. T. U. destroyed the fixtures and stocks of two blind tigers. Mrs. Mary Green, enthusiastic over the latest news from Kansas, rushed into a saloon in Cambridge Street, Boston, shouting "I'm Carry Nation, and I'll leave no rum shops in town !" She hit a bartender with a plate from the free lunch counter, hurled a billiard ball through a mirror and chased a customer into the cellar, where he hid behind a pile of empty beer kegs until rescued by a policeman.

IN ROCHESTER, New York, an excited I woman entered Jacob Wehle's barroom in Hudson Avenue, brandished a heavy stove poker and cried, "I'm a second Carry Nation, and I mean to clean out this hell-hole !" She demolished several cases of liquor and damaged the bar. Then she threw the poker at the bartender and departed. In Secaucus, New Jersey, Mrs. Henry. Wortansky's husband refused to leave the warmth and comfort of his favorite saloon, so she went after him. She wrecked the barroom and took him home. A school teacher led one hundred members of the Carry Nation Club of Dawson, Minnesota, on a raid against saloons, and several were wrecked before the police drove the smashers away. In Oyster Bay, New York, the home of Theodore Roosevelt, a stalwart Negro rushed into a barroom and yelled that Carry Nation had ordered him to smash it. He did so, and was later found to be insane. Seven women wrecked the bar of the Hotel Harrison in LaSalle, Illinois, and at Louisville, Kentucky, Mrs. Effie Chase ran down the street screaming that God had instructed her to abolish the liquor traffic. She hit Patrolman Joe Boutelier on the jaw, and when be hugged her to his chest to prevent another blow being struck, she cried in ecstasy, "That's nice ! Do it again !" A typical Kansas fight occurred at Jacksonville, Indiana, when Mrs. James Snyder and a hundred members of the Carry Nation Club raided three saloons. They wrecked two without difficulty, but when they entered Dan Grimes' newly-equipped place, he choked Mrs. Snyder and threw her into the street. He was promptly beaten by her husband. During the struggle Mrs. Stephen Garrett was struck by a beer bottle. In Dunkirk, New York, Mrs. David Livingston, president of the local chapter of the W. C. T. U., smashed a saloon mirror, but was restrained from doing further damage. And even in New York City admirers of Carry Nation were inspired to violence. Herman Procknow, a waiter at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, who said that he wanted to aid in a small way in "Carry Nation's glorious work," broke the mirrors in Edward O'Brien's barroom in Third Avenue; while farther uptown in East 138th Street, Timothy Boss attacked McMahon's Bar and kicked in the panels of the front door. He said he was Carry Nation's brother, but be wasn't. At Anderson, Indiana, Mrs. Ozro Lewis wrecked a saloon, while another woman, finding her husband in the place, spanked him with a board and led him away by the ears. In still another Indiana town, Crawfordsville, Mrs. William Holycross, a farmer's wife, was committed to an asylum when she became mentally confused over the meaning of the Carry Nation crusade—she thought the nation was at war, and that people roamed the street with hatchets, cutting off heads.

CARRY NATION remained in the Shawnee County Jail for ten days after her return to Topeka from Peoria, Illinois, but restraint became increasingly irksome and she finally permitted her brother, J. W. Moore of Kansas City, Missouri, to renew the peace bond which was the price of her freedom. She was released late in the afternoon of March 11, 1901, but her wings had been clipped and the blade of her hatchet dulled by the law, for the conditions of her bond forbade further smashing in Topeka on pain of forfeiture. She told newspaper reporters that she would obey the injunction against wrecking saloons, but that no restrictions had been imposed upon the nature of the warfare which she might wage against tobacco and Masonry, and that she intended to devote much of her time to "stamping out these evils." And, indeed, she began her campaign before she left the jail, cornering three men in the corridors, snatching cigars from their mouths and haranguing them about the satanic character of the Masonic Lodge, without troubling to learn whether they were members of the order. Her friends greeted her warmly and held the usual prayer meeting to celebrate her liberation, but she scoffed at their advice to return to Medicine Lodge and once more take up the thread of life which she had broken to lead Kansas prohibitionists to victory.

"The Lord calls me;" she said. "I must be about His work."

She urged an immediate resumption of smashing, in which she proposed to take no active part lest her bond be forfeited, and on March 12 called a mass meeting of the Home Defenders to plan raids and to nominate the Rev. F. W. Emerson as an independent candidate for Mayor of Topeka. To her amazement only eleven women and one man responded, and she stalked from the hall in a dudgeon when but three of the former voted to endorse the candidacy of the Rev. Mr. Emerson. She repeatedly attempted to induce the ministers and leaders of temperance societies to organize smashing expeditions ; but they refused, declaring that further direct action was unnecessary because the crusade had accomplished its purpose of ridding Topeka, and practically the entire state, of joints, and that it would be impossible to catch the fleet bootleggers. She railed at them furiously, and ascribed the disfavor with which her proposals of violence were received to rank cowardice, corruption by the liquor interests, or the infernal influence of the Devil; for she was so obsessed by her hatreds and enthusiasms that she still envisioned a saloon behind the partitions of every drug store and every restaurant. She was wholly unable to comprehend the magnitude of her victory, and still less was she able to understand that during her imprisonment the excitement into which she had plunged the city had subsided; and that while her personal popularity had been but slightly impaired, the inevitable reaction against her methods had begun. Many prominent citizens who had been foremost in the ranks of the Home Defenders, and who had followed her on raiding forays with the greatest enthusiasm, now counselled peace ; they were confident that office-holders throughout the state had been so impressed by the extraordinary display of temperance fury that the new legislation, the most powerful weapon ever placed in the hands of the prohibitionists, would be strictly enforced.

BEWILDERED by the desertion of many of her erstwhile supporters, and greatly disturbed by the undercurrent of dissent and impatience which now flowed swiftly in Topeka, Carry Nation began the travels which, with interludes of imprisonment on old charges in Wichita and Topeka, took her into almost every State in the Union, and even into Canada and the British Isles, and made her one of the best-known figures of her time. But at this period she had no manager; and she scurried about the Middle West without rhyme or reason; she made no advance arrangements for her lectures, but herself published the time and place by shouting on the street corners ; she went to whatever town was mentioned to her or from which she had received letters. And always a black satchel, filled with miniature hatchets, souvenir buttons and copies of The Smashers' Mail, was slung from her shoulder. These she hawked in the streets, and with the proceeds, and what she received for her speeches, paid her expenses and fines, for she was often arrested. She was the principal attraction at the Fourth of July celebration sponsored by the Elks Lodge of Crawfordsville, Indiana, and the excitement aroused by her appearance was increased, and a panic narrowly averted, when the speakers' platform collapsed while she was belaboring the Demon Rum before an audience of some eight thousand persons. Her ankle was slightly sprained, and several other persons received minor injuries. During the afternoon Carry Nation hobbled about the town, peering into saloons and upbraiding the bartenders and their customers, and soon after dusk she gathered some twenty small boys and girls about her and marched back and forth with them along the main street. She carried a gunny-sack filled with sharp new hatchets, and she frequently halted her juvenile troops and showed them how to use the weapons. At length she stopped before the doors of a saloon, pointed dramatically to the lighted windows, and while a curious crowd quickly gathered, led the children through a brief catechism:

"Look, children ! What is that place ?"
"A Hell-hole !" they shouted, in unison.
"What else ?"
"A murder-shop !"
"What do they sell there ?" "Hell-broth and devil-soup !"
"What do they do ?"
"They murder souls !"
"What must we do to such a place ?" "Smash it !"

The crowd cheered madly, and Carry Nation arranged the children two abreast and gave each a hatchet, having first snatched a pipe from the mouth of one of the young crusaders and threatened to spank him. She prayed loudly for a moment, and then said:

"Come, children !"

She led the shouting youngsters into the saloon, where they embarked with great enthusiasm upon a saturnalia of destruction. The agile boys swarmed over the bar and sideboard like flies, smashing mirrors, bottles and decanters, while the little girls hacked and cut the woodwork. Within a few minutes the saloon had been wrecked, and Carry. Nation ushered the young smashers into the street, crying loudly :

"Jesus ! Look what the little darlings did for you !"

The children's clothing was saturated with beer and whisky, and several were staggering under the influence of the fumes of liquor. Once outside they flung away their hatchets and scattered, but Carry Nation stood calmly before the swinging doors and shouted:

"Arrest me ! Arrest me !"

The saloon-keeper refused to make a complaint, and the police did not molest her. She left Crawfordsville a few hours later, and was arrested in St. Louis next morning when she attempted to raid Oheim Brothers' saloon in Walnut Street. She was soon released, and on July 6 she appeared in Terre Haute, Indiana, where she found Mayor Steeg taking his ease in a Terre Haute saloon, and she berated him so loudly and so venemously that he abandoned his cooling glass of beer and fled to the safety of his private offices. When he had gone, the saloon-keeper gave her a bottle of whisky, which she smashed on the sidewalk with her hatchet. Later the owner of the barroom gathered up the fragments and displayed them on his bar under a glass bowl. She was back in Topeka during the latter part of July, and on the 24th was arraigned before Judge Hazen in the District Court for sentence. He imposed a fine of one hundred dollars and a prison term of thirty days, and she was lodged once more in the Shawnee County Jail. "But I had become so disgusted with jail food," she wrote, "that my stomach refused it. I told Mr. Cook (the Sheriff) to send the milkman to my cell. He came and agreed to bring me some bread and milk, ten cents' worth a day. This I lived on. At this time I was entirely out of money. I was in debt, and the dunning letters I got while in Jail were a terrible trouble to me. The ten cents I paid for my bread and milk came in almost daily for copies of my paper. I paid my milkman sometimes in stamps. . . . While in this jail I had many offers from theatrical, circus and museum managers, who tried to tempt me with all kinds of offers; one as high as $800 a week, with a palace car and a maid. I never for a moment thought of taking any of them. I knew these people only wanted me as they would a white elephant. I did not, at this time, see the stage as a missionary field."

She changed her mind when she received a letter from James E. Furlong, head of a lyceum bureau at Rochester, New York, and former manager of Adelina Patti, who proposed a tour of the Chautauqua circuits and a series of speeches in New York and other eastern cities. Through the efforts of her friends, Governor Stanley was induced to commute her jail sentence, and the Shawnee County Commissioners agreed to let her pay her fine at the rate of five dollars a month. She was released in the late afternoon of July 30, 1901.

David Nation had rejoined his wife, but they were utterly unable to reconcile their differences, and were even less happy than in Medicine Lodge. She continued to ignore his advice, and although at first he attempted to resume his former post as her secretary, she soon forbade him to open any of her mail. After a few fretful weeks, he left her once more and went to the home of his daughter in Richmond, Indiana, where on June 8, 1901, his seventy-third birthday, he announced that he would never live with her again. Early in August he returned to Medicine Lodge, and brought suit for divorce, accusing her not only of cruelty and desertion, and of exposing him to ridicule and humiliation, but of taking his featherbed and nine hundred dollars from his bank account. Carry Nation was in Columbus, Ohio, when she heard that the action had been filed, and she promptly struck back.

"Those are all lies," she said. "He didn't have nine hundred dollars, and the featherbed was always mine. But I shall fight the case because I want my share of his pension money. I thought I loved David when I married him, but he was a fleeting fancy. David isn't a bad fellow, but he is too slow for me."

Afterward she wrote in her autobiography, "We never agreed on but a few things, but I never thought we would come to a separation. He said to me, 'You will have to stop and come back to Medicine Lodge or I will get a divorce from you.' I said, 'Mr. Nation, God has given me a mission. I dare not turn back. Shall I hearken unto God, or unto man? Judge ye !' I shall always believe that he was induced to do this by the Republicans, thinking to hinder my work."

She left Columbus on August 12, but she had scarcely boarded the train than she strode into the smoking car, where she walked up and down the aisle loudly disclosing her identity, and preemptorily ordering the passengers to throw away their cigars and cigarettes, which they did without protest. Then she went into the first day coach, which was crowded, and cried:

"Plenty of room in the smoking car, ladies. I've made those hellions stop blowing poison all over the car. Come right with me, ladies !"

Half a dozen women followed her into the smoker, an almost unheard of invasion in those days, and when she had ushered them in, she said:

"Make yourselves at home, ladies, and don't let any one puff hell-fumes at you. There is whisky on this train, and I am going to find it."

In one Pullman compartment she found Michael Reardon, H. F. Allen and James Scanlan, noted mid-western horsemen, who were bound for New York to see the match race between the great trotters, Cresceus and The Abbot. They were refreshing themselves from a bottle of whisky which stood upon the washstand, and Carry Nation promptly smashed it with her hatchet. They produced another, and when- she screamed, "You infernal sots !" and would have destroyed that also. Mr. Reardon said, "This is cold tea, Madam. It's very good on a hot day like this." He poured her a glassful, but when she discovered it to be whisky she shouted that she had been poisoned, and attempted to fling it out the window. But the wind blew it back against her dress, whereupon she cried, "I am anointed with iniquity !" and hastened from car to car explaining the source of the pungent odor which heralded her coming. Later, however, she returned, and for half an hour amicably talked horse with the three men, for after all she was a true Kentuckian, and horse racing was one of the few things which she did not regard as sinful.

"I don't like your whisky," she said, "but I like good horse racing, and I wish you men luck. If I wasn't in this hatchet business, I'd go to New York for that race myself. I think Cresceus will win." The hatchet business, however, soon took her to New York.

Source: Outlook. August 21, 1929


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