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Use and Need of the Life of Carrie Nation

The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation.



I told my manager James E. Furlong, to give W. C. T. U. and Prohibitionists the preference, and not to charge them as much. I tried to get into churches, but only a few would open to me. I had many inducements financially to go on the stage but I refused to do so for sometime. Like a little child I have had to sit alone, creep and walk. I paid my fines by monthly installments and in December, of 1902, I settled with the court at Topeka for the "Malicious destruction of property," when, in fact, it was the "Destruction of malicious property."

In the spring of 1902, I went to Nebraska, under the management of Mrs. M. A. S. Monegan. This woman had also made dates for J. G. Woolley and other prominent prohibition lecturers. She was a thorough prohibitionist and by conversing with her I for the first time found the remedy for the licensed saloon. This is "National Prohibition".

I held a debate in Lincoln with Bixbee, of the Journal, a rank republican, who used only ridicule and satire, for he had no argument of course. I lectured for and with the "Red Ribbon Alliance" there who were so faithfully working and praying for the abolition of the saloon. The spring election in Lincoln was for prohibition but lost by sixty votes. William Jennings Bryan lives there and if he, the man who poses as a friend of the people, had opened his mouth against the saloon he could have made this great cause more than the sixty votes. From that time forth I knew Bryan was for Bryan and what Bryan could get for Bryan.

I lectured at the parks and chautauquas in the summer and fairs in the fall, and at the end of the year of 1902, I had the sum of five thousand dollars which I used to build a mission on Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. In that vicinity were several dives and I told those poor criminals that we would soon run them out. I had my brother, Campbell Moore, to manage the erection of this brick building. The liquor men tried to buy the ground to hinder the work, but at last the building was finished. I was offered seventy-five dollars rent for the hall but refused it. Then I went to the Salvation Army barracks in Kansas City, Mo., and offered to give it to them free of rent if they would start a mission. They did not see their way clear to accept it. My brother told me of a property that would suit me better for the purpose of a "Home for Drunkards' Wives and Mothers", which I was trying to arrive at through the mission. I went to see this property, and found it to be about two acres, with a twenty room brick house and a good brick stable on it, nice drives and forest trees, and while it is in the city, it is on a high elevation and as much retired from the dust and crowd as in the country. Mr. Simpson, the owner, sent me ten dollars while I was in jail at Wichita, and he was anxious to let me have this home of his that he had improved himself. I purchased this with the money I got from the other place, paying him five thousand five hundred dollars, owing the rest. This place is situated on Reynolds and Grandview Aves. It was not possible for me to begin this enterprise myself, and in speaking to Myron A. Waterman, of the Savings Bank of Kansas City, Kansas, he suggested that the "Associated Charities" of Kansas City, Kansas, would put it to the use I intended. I liked the idea. The society became incorporated so they could receive the deed, which was a trust, for should the property be used for other than what it was given for, it will revert.

The society took possession in December, 1903, and at this writing, February, 1904, it is full, the Home of many poor and destitute, who now have a good shelter, warmth and light free. They are expected to make their own living. Mr. Simpson gave forty dollars to furnish one room. The local W. C. T. U. have furnished their room and have their two drunkards' wives in it. I here make a plea of help to enlarge this Home. As stated there are two acres of ground and one who would give money to this would fulfill the command to feed the hungry and clothe the naked; these are the orphans and the widows; every dollar will be put in the bank of Heaven.

My motive for doing this was twofold. I wanted to furnish a home for these, the innocent results of the saloon, whose sad condition is beyond words to describe. The people burden themselves with taxes to build jails, penitentiaries, alms houses, insane ayslums, and reformatories to care for the guilty results of the saloon. They pay millions to prosecute these criminals, the result of the saloon, but no one has ever thought of a building, or shelter for these women who are worse than widows, who are free from any fault in this matter, but are the greatest sufferers.

I have been asked by my friends not to call it a "Home for Drunkards' Wives and Mothers", for it would be a reflection on the inmates. Not at all. The condemnation is on the party which makes a demand for such a home, by voting for saloons. The question, Why? will arise in the minds of all who see on the arch over the entrance to this place, "Home for Drunkards' Wives and Mothers". Why? "Because of the saloon. Let us smash the saloon and not these women's homes and hearts." Miss Edith Short is the secretary and is at the home all the time, and she is the right woman in the right place.

There are many persons who would like to donate to such a place. We are waiting for funds to enlarge the place, making rooms or flats for these dear ones. A letter directed to "Drunkards' Wives Home", Kansas City, Kansas, will reach the place, for there is no other of the kind in the world. It was such a relief to me when I saw that what means I could control was used in a manner God would bless, and it was a great source of joy to me to do something for this class. I have been a drunkard's wife myself and I know the desolation of heart they have. This is a worse sorrow than to have one's husband die. A wife always feels that she might have done something to cause her husband to drink or to quit. I believe that some men have been led to drink by women, but it is a cowardly resort, or excuse, and the man who would make this as an excuse is as bad as the woman that caused him to drink, if not worse. The thief, the murderer, or any other class of criminals could just as well blame others for their own wrong doings.

{illust. caption = Mrs. Carry Nation's "Home for Drunkards' Wives and Children" One of two fine properties in Kansas purchased by Mrs. Carry Nation with the money she earned on her lecturing tours. In this way she believes she can bring comfort into the lives now darkened and saddened by the saloon curse.}

When I was at Coney Island, I was asked, what I thought of William McKinley's administration? I said: "I was glad when McKinley was elected for I had heard that he was opposed to the liquor traffic. I did not know then that he rented his wife's property in Canton, Ohio, for saloon purposes, and after his election he had been a constant disappointment to me; that he was the Brewers' president and did their biddings; that we as W. C. T. U. workers, sent petitions, thousands of them to Mr. McKinley to have him refuse to let the canteen run. That we were willing to give our boys to fight the battles of this nation, to die in a foreign land, but we were not willing that a murderer should follow them from their home shores to kill their bodies and souls." This was said at the time that he was thought to be convalescent from his death-wound. I said: "I had no tears for McKinley, neither have I any for his assassin. That no one's life was safe with such a murderer at large." This roused hisses; some left the hall and there was a murmer of confusion. One man threw a wad of paper at me, but I said: "My loyalty to the homes of America demand that I denounce such a president and his crowd." It was a common thing to be hissed. Once I spoke in Sioux City, Iowa, in the church where the martyred Haddock preached. The crowd was so large, the church was filled and emptied three times. I had cheers and hisses at the same time. At the first meeting I was talking at the top of my voice, the audience was clapping and hissing and a good evangelistic brother by my side kept pounding his fist of one hand into the palm of the other and shouting: "She is right! She is right!" That was a great meeting, and I shall never forget it, neither will anyone who was there. I spoke three times to audiences that night. I have been hissed, and after giving the people time to think, have been applauded by the same parties. "Oh, fools and slow of heart to understand," Jesus said.

Murat Halstead, who wrote the book called, "Our Martyred President or the Illustrious Life of William McKinley", wrote some positive falsehoods concerning me. This Halstead has always been a defender of anarchy or the licensed saloon.

William McKinley was no martyr. He was murdered by a man who was the result of a saloon and could not tell why he murdered the President.

I could tell of many amusing incidents, indeed. I could fill a book of interesting anecdotes. Once when I was among the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence, in the summer of 1902, a characteristic woman with a very low dress, with a very long train, the whole a mixture of paint, powder, lace, flashy jewelry and corset stays, with as much exposure of person as she dare, came to me in an affected manner, handed me a roll saying: "I am a temperance lecturer, here is one of my bills." I replied: "If you are such, you had better make a practical application of temperance and cover up yourself." The change of her countenance was instantaneous and she with a queer almost startled look said: "You go to He--l."

Once in Elmira, N. Y. the streets were so crowded that we had to leave the Salvation Army Hall. I climbed in a farmer's two horse wagon. He came out of a saloon and gathered up the reins and laid the whip to his horses, which were caught so as to let me out.

Mr. Furlong, my manager, had a keen sense of the ridiculous and would let me alone when I started out. He said he knew I could take care of myself. Often when I would rise to speak to the thousands in the parks, there would be yells and groans, and a manager at Youngstown, Ohio, said to Mr. Furlong: "She will not get a chance to speak." Mr. Furlong said: "You watch how she will handle them." I would always quiet them for at least a time. Once they were determined not to let me talk. I at last went to one side of the stage and began talking very explanatory to some parties in front. The rest wanted to hear, so they were quiet. Then I gave them the hot-shots of truth. I always invited interruptions by questions. I had no set speech and these questions would bring out what the crowd wanted to hear. I like especially the questions from those who oppose me. I have bad men to shake their fists at me saying: "You are an anarchist and ought to be in the lunatic asylum." One agent of a brewer in Hartford, Conn., kept on disturbing the meeting; at last he said: "Why did Christ make wine?" I said: "the wine that He made did not rot. His was the unfermented juice of the grape. God made healthy fruit and grain. The devil rots them and makes alcohol, which rots the brain, rots the body and rots the soul, and that is what is the matter with you."

When I first began my lectures I was not taken seriously by the people. They did not see the great principle back of the work. My manager said: "We must make all the dates this year, for next year it will not be so easy." I said: "You will find it easier, for I will be more popular." He shook his head, but sure enough it was easier. We could not fill the dates, and now the calls are more and more all over the country.

In the winter and spring of 1903, I was in California. I was employed by the theatrical manager of the "Chutes." Beer was sold at this resort. Some W. C. T. U. were very much horrified that I would go to such a place. Mrs. Hester T. Griffith, the president of the Federation of Unions in Los Angeles, came to see me. She had been a staunch friend of mine from the first and she went with me to the "Chutes" and introduced me. This she did time and again saying: "If she had the opportunity to speak at the "Chutes" she would do as Carry Nation does." This woman was a blessing to me. She helped me to see that the stage was a mission field. I was severely criticised by the newspapers, and especially by some of the ministers. One from Rockford, Ill., a Rev. Dr. Van Horn wrote a very slanderous article which I heard of through my friends there. I was arrested in Los Angeles for some advertising my manager did which was contrary to a city ordinance.

In Los Angeles I saw what was called the "Cribs", one of the most disgraceful conditions. No one stayed there during the day; they were there just for the night only. These poor degraded girls would pay two dollars a night to the owners. I said to the women: "These city officials are at the bottom of this. Let us go to the Chief of Police," whose name was Elton. He would not talk to me at first. He said: "If we close these places, these degraded girls will be over the town, when in fact the girls only stayed there at night. I have seen so much of the corruption of the officials that when conditions are bad in any place I know it to be their fault.

We went as a band of missionaries to these dens of vice. At first an officer would go before us and have the girls pull their blinds down to prevent us from seeing or speaking to them. We found hundreds of them who could not speak the English language, they had been brought over by procurers for the purpose of swelling the ranks of this vice. Mrs. Charlton Edholm who wrote "Traffic in Girls", was there helping to rid the city of this disgrace. Her book should be in the hands of every girl in the world. This grand woman has devoted her life work to the rescue of girls. She is in Oakland, California, where she has a "Rescue Home". Any one can get the book by writing her. I also met Mrs. Sobieski, wife of Col. John Sobieski. Sister Sobieski is one who never tires in the work for God. She is a terror to evil doers. God bless these women for their zeal. I found some of the most aggressive christian W. C. T. U. women I have ever seen in Los Angeles, California. I am glad to say that in less than a year from the time I was there the "Cribs" were closed.

I was arrested in San Francisco and spent most of the night in jail, was put in for destroying a bottle of whiskey on this wise: A certain saloon-keeper had just finished a very fine "criminal factory" and he wanted to advertise it. He sent me word by my manager to call and smash this place up. He had a fine mirror he paid one hundred and fifty dollars for that he wanted me to smash. I knew that all he wanted was an advertisement, but I went, not saying what I would do. He had reporters and the house was crowded. I got up on a table to make a speech, which, I did in this fashion: "This man has opened a place to drug and rob poor victims. There are no clothes, no food, no books here, nothing but what degrades men and women. Some one handed me a large empty bottle. I said: "No I want a bottle that has some of that fiery poison in it." I was given a quart bottle of whiskey. I held it up and said: "None but God knows the sorrows in this bottle, the headaches, the heartaches, the desolation, but there is no blessing or happiness connected with it. I will do with this what ought to be done with all its kind." So I threw it as quickly as I could behind the bar on the floor. It fell in with some others and made a great smash. I said: "The man wished me to make a hole in that large mirror so that curiosity would draw others into this snare to catch our boys." I gave the best rebuke for the occasion I could, then I went to my hotel, retired, and about twelve o'clock an officer came to my door. I dressed and went with him to the station. I stayed there until nearly three in the morning. While there I saw one continual stream of poor, drunken wretches, men and women, brought in. My manager came and took me out on bail. Next morning I appeared in court, was my own lawyer. The case was put off two days, then I was discharged. The saloon keeper withdrew the charge. This was done, to advertise this man but the way that I advertise has never done the whiskey business any good.

There is a great art in advertising. Jacob was the first one I read of in the Bible who was aware of this art and science, when he placed the rods before the cattle. The eye is the window by which the inner man, who does not think, is mostly taught. There is no business in America so much advertised as the whiskey and tobacco business. Both are destructive in their influence on the morals and the health of the people. We would be better off without these articles. The interest of these manufactories are built up in proportion as they can catch the unwary who see these signs that are suggestive. One of the most notorious signs is "Wilson's Whiskey That's All". Yes that is ALL it takes to ruin your homes. That is all it takes to break a mother's heart. That is all that is needed to build houses of prostitution and that is ALL that it requires to break up every impulse of justice and love and happiness. That is ALL that it takes to fill hell. How my heart is stirred when I see this: "Remember me, Oh, my God!"

Whiskey or tobacco never introduce their products by reason or arguments, they never appeal to thought, but suggestion or temptation, and as oft as the eye is lifted, as one walks up the streets of our cities there are hundreds of advertisements to meet the gaze; most every one has a false basis. For instance there is a sign: "Old Crow Whiskey." This is slandering the crow, for there is not a crow or vulture that will use a drop of this slop. There is: "Chew Bull-dog Twist," and "Bull Durham Tobacco." There is not a dog or bull that uses tobacco. There is the, "Royal Bengal Tiger Cigarettes." This is taking advantage of these animals because they can not defend themselves. There is the: "Robert Burns and Tom Moore cigars." There was not a cigar in England when Burns or Tom Moore lived. I have seen a life-size picture of Abraham Lincoln advertising cigars, when Lincoln was a teetotaler from cigars or any intoxicating drink. He promised his mother that he would never use them and kept his promise to his death. This is slandering the dead. I never remember seeing the "Grant Cigar". He died with tobacco cancer. It is said that Mr. McKinley would have recovered but his blood was bad from nicotine.