Schaffer Online Library of Drug Policy

Sign the Resolution
Contents | Feedback | Search
DRCNet Home
| Join DRCNet
DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library

Historical References

General Histories | Ancient History | 1800-1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890
1900 | 1910 | 1920 | 1930 | 1940 | 1950 | 1960 | 1970 | 1980 | 1990
Use and Need of the Life of Carrie Nation

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



The determination of that rum anarchy in Topeka, Kansas, was such that three consecutive times I was put in jail because I went into these vile dens. Dr. McFarland, pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Topeka, came down at my last trial to see what the trouble was. The police, when put on the witness stand, swore positive falsehoods and Judge Magaw, the republican police judge, appointed there by the democratic Mayor, Parker, that these two might unite their force of corruption, knew that these police were swearing falsehoods but were winking at the crime. I saw that the Doctor was getting ready to offer his protest when the time came, and it came when I was sentenced to jail for contempt of court, because I insisted on asking what kind of business these dive-keepers were carrying on, which the judge wanted to keep out of the witnesses mouths. Dr. McFarland arose and said: "I suppose you want to fine me judge. I say this is an infernal outrage," repeating it the second time. Judge Magaw said: "Yes I will fine you twenty-five dollars." "You may make it a hundred." "Well, I will make it a hundred," said Judge Magaw. I was taken to jail. Dr. McFarland was not, but walked out and said it was worth a hundred dollars to tell them what he thought of such travesty on justice. Dr. McFarland had plenty of friends who offered to pay the amount but I believe he paid it himself. Then he began some investigation of the corruption at the police station. He preached a sermon telling of this. It was published. I was in jail next door to the room in which the mayor, Parker, and the police gathered to discuss a suit for slander against Dr. McFarland, but it was only a bluff. Before this all night long there was loud talking and swearing in the room under mine as if around a card table. After Dr. McFarland's sermon I heard no more of it. There were several of these poor degraded girls in jail. I knew of actions and words that were not decent between the officers and these girls. This exposure of Dr. McFarland's was very salutary. Before that, officers would come into my room without knocking and address me in a rough manner. After this they knocked at the door and were respectful and even kind. The Reverend Doctor did a great work by that sermon which was to the point and effective.

I went to Bangor, Maine, to lecture once. Stopped at the Bangor House, run by one Chapman. Roosevelt had stopped there just two weeks before. I heard this hotel had one of those traps, called "dives." When I went into the dining-room I asked a young lady waiting on me, if she could get me a bottle of beer? She said they kept it and that she would ask the head waiter to get it for me. She spoke to him. He left the dining-room and in a few minutes the man Chapman came out of the winding way to his dive; the proprietor rushed up to me in a drunken rage. He threw me against one of the pillars, then literally knocked me out into the hall in the presence of the guests, perhaps a hundred; then he kept knocking me down every time I rose to my feet. He would not allow me to get my things. I was invited to go home with a prohibitionist, Dr. Marshall. This Chapman was a noted dive-keeper, a rummy, and ran a representative rum-soaked republican hotel. He was angry, because I dared to expose him, in his sneaking way of drugging and robbing his guests. It was marvelous what rages these law-breakers used to have when I came around at first. It is not so now. Their bands have been smashed and they are not as bold; and more marvelous that I was not seriously hurt.

Once in Nebraska City, Neb., I was knocked in the temple by a saloon-keeper. I reeled and fell and while I knew he struck me with his clenched fists as hard as he could, so it seemed to me, I did not have a bruise.

I always prayed to God to take care of me, but to lead me into these tumults to rouse the people to think and to talk.


I never saw anything that needed a rebuke, or exhortation, or warning, but that I felt it was my place to meddle with it. I have been called a "meddler". Yes I say: "It is my place to meddle with the devil's business. Jesus meddled with the law-breakers in the temple."

I will give you a few facts to prove what I mean and hope it will inspire my readers to do likewise. What injures one is the interest of all. We are personally responsible for all wrong that we neglect to make right, when it is in our power to do it. If anything injures my neighbor it injures me. If my neighbor is blessed so am I.

I used to ride out north of Medicine Lodge past the graveyard. It was situated on an elevated place, barren of trees, for trees could not well grow where it was so dry. Grave-yards are not pleasant places at best, but to see one barren of trees or flowers, just the graves, the white marble, the sunshine, rain, and prairie grass, in sight of the pleasant yards and homes of the living, I feel a sense of reproach, as if the dead were complaining of this neglect. The only ground Abraham ever bought was a piece of ground to bury his dead and it had trees on it. I wanted to see a better condition of things. I knew this neglect was because no one would make a move. I felt I was not the one, but I wrote an article for the papers, "Index and Crescent", of Medicine Lodge, and I took it to a widow, Mrs. Young, who had recently lost a husband who was very dear to her. I told her she was the one to organize a grave-yard association. That this letter would call the ladies together. After making a few changes in the language she published the letter, and the ladies met, organized, and in a few months all was changed. One will rarely find a more attractive resting place for our beloved dead than in the cemetery of Medicine Lodge. I could not have effected what Mrs. Young did, but there are more ways of doing things than one, and when people say: "I can never carry out any plans", I know they have not tact or perseverance.


A friend who lived a few miles in the country came to my house in Medicine Lodge, threw her arms around my neck and said: "Oh, Sister Nation, Matt has gone to Wichita for a bad purpose. I am almost wild; can't you help me? She is in love with Will, and he does not care for her but he has gotten her into trouble and does not intend to marry her." She told me that Will wrote her a note to go to the Goodyear Hotel. I wrote to Matt and told her if she became the murderer of her child that a fearful judgement was in store for her. I also wrote to Will and told him to marry Matt or I would expose him. Will's father got the letter, as it was directed to Medicine Lodge. His father came down to see me, weeping as if his heart would break; told me of the trouble this boy had given him; said that he was preparing to marry another girl and could not marry Matt; but that he had forwarded the letter to Will, as he had gone to Wichita. Will and Matt got their letters at the same time and were filled with terror. Both came back to Medicine Lodge and in a few months poor Matt was the mother of a little girl. Her mother, sent for me. I stayed until the little angel died. From the time Matt looked on the face of the little one she loved it with all the intensity of a true mother and grieved so when it died. In a few hours I went to the grave-yard With the little coffin. This Will or his father never spoke to me again. He married the other girl. In a few years father and son were both killed. The sister of Will, who also treated me coldly, wrote me a letter and told me to tell Matt it would have been a blessing if he had married her. That he loved her the best and that she felt quite differently towards me.


I was going down to a neighbor's one dark night. I heard voices, as if some parties were sitting by the roadside. I went into the neighbor's house and got a lantern. I came up to these parties, they were a young man of Medicine Lodge and a young lady visiting there. I told them that such actions would lead to mischief. Told the young boy to act towards a girl as he would wish his sister treated. Told the girl that ruin would be her fate and she hid her face and soon both of them ran down the alley. I knew they would think that I would expose them, so I wrote a letter to the young man and told him the injustice to himself and the girl, that would follow such actions, told him that no one would hear it from me. That it was not my desire to expose them only to warn and prevent trouble. That young man is in Medicine Lodge now and is a good friend of mine.

I often see actions, especially with the young, that I know will end in heartaches and woes. I get these parties out of hearing of others and speak to them. So often in traveling I see silly girls being led astray by men who for a vile purpose will fawn and flatter. I never let such a thing pass my eye now without a little wholesome condemnation: "Thou shall not in any wise suffer sin upon thy brother but shall rebuke him."


When I visited Chicago for the first time after the smashing a Mr. Brubaker called to see me. He was from Peoria and was hired by the Peoria Journal men to get me to edit that paper for one day. The arrangements were satisfactory to both parties. I went to Peoria. Mr. Brubaker met me, took me to a hotel run by a woman who owned one or two saloons, but had none in the hotel she kept. I had not one line of copy for the paper but I got up at four in the morning and wrote continuously that day. I know God helped me. Mr. Brubaker took the copy. I never saw any of the Journal men until after the paper was out. I went to see them, told them that only a small part of my copy that I wrote was in the paper. They said that several times they asked for my copy but Mr. Brubaker gave them his own. So he destroyed a great deal of my copy, supplying only what he wanted put in.

I spoke in the Opera House and this Mr. Brubaker was to give me fifty dollars for my lecture that night. After I had spoken I was asked to go into a noted saloon, Pete Weise's place. Mr. Brubaker said: "If you go I will not give you your fifty dollars," as the contract said I was to speak at no other place in the city. But as I had already spoken for him I did not feel bound. This man was posing as a prohibitionist but he was as loyal to the cause as Judas was to Jesus. I went to Pete Weis' place, one of the most expensive dance halls I was ever in. I spoke for the hundreds of poor, drugged and depraved men and women. There was a large picture or rather statuary of naked women among trees which I said must be smashed, Mr. Weis treated me very kindly and said: "I will have that boarded up," and so next day he did.

This Mr. Brubaker would not pay me a cent for my lecture and tried to garnishe the $100, the Journal was to pay me, and had it not been for a stroke of policy on the part of the Journal he would have taken every cent from me and left me to pay my expenses there and back. Jesus said: "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing." In a month from this time the saloon keeper sent me $50. The prostitute loved more than Simon.

I saw in Peoria the largest distillery in the world. Not one of the hands are allowed to drink what they make. What would you think of a dry goods concern that would not allow its employes to use what they make? Mr. William McKinley was entertained here by Joe Greenhut, president of the "Whiskey Trust."

I was in Peoria when the prohibitionists held a convention there and was astonished that they would put up at a saloon or a hotel that run one. I never eat or sleep in one. My conscience will not allow me. I never saw so many ragged children or dirty streets, as in Peoria.


I heard so much of the "Weltmer treatment" for disease. I sent twenty-five dollars for a "mail course" so I could see for myself. This man Weltmer had a large institution in Nevada, Mo., for humbugging the people. I always like to investigate these things myself, as I did Dowie, who I found out to be a false prophet. This Weltmer's papers were a complete treatise on witchcraft, spiritualism and hypnotism. I exposed this in every way I could. The Bible fully prepares people to expect such "lying wonders and miracles." The "Christian Science" is a witchcraft but very subtile. The most dangerous counterfeit bill is nearest like the genuine.


The last jail I was in was in Philadelphia. I went down to lecture between the acts of "The Heart of a Hero." There was a very vile saloon kept by a Mr. Donoghue. This man stationed police to arrest me if I went in his place. In going home from the theatre at night I would look in and call to the poor victims not to be drugged and robbed. This man had five or six bartenders handing out this poisonous drink to our boys, our mothers treasures. This man has amassed a fortune at this vile business and tries to pose as respectable, because he has a lot of this blood money. I was passing there on the 14th of January, 1904. I just opened the door when a two legged beer keg in the form of a policeman grabbed me and almost dragged me over the streets to the station. I was locked in and I spent the night in jail. Next morning I was discharged.

The next day when I went to the Pennsylvania railway depot to take the train a little ragged boy came to me and asked for a hatchet, the depot police shook the little fellow and hurled him away. The little boy began to cry and I said to the police: "Let that child alone! he is doing no harm to any one." He told me in a very angry tone to mind my business, and would not let the little boy take the hatchet from me. After this I was sitting on the bench waiting for my train, and a person came to me saying: "Let me see one of your hatchets." I opened my grip to show the little souvenirs, several came up to look at them. This same policeman was watching his chance to arrest me. He came up and said: "You will have to stop that." I said: "I am making no trouble, I have a right to meet people and talk to them and show my souvenirs too. You are the only one, making a disturbance here. Two policemen came up and caught me one by each arm, dragging me through the depot and down the elevator, and I was carried to the police station in a "black maria". This was done for spite and to show his authority. I spent a night in prison, and next morning I was fined ten dollars. I was my own lawyer. The magistrate before whom I was tried would not compel the officer to answer the questions I asked him.

In a few days I returned to Pittsburg and was invited by the Providence Mission to go out on the streets. Quite a crowd gathered and while I was speaking, I was arrested again by an officer who refused to tell me what I was arrested for. I was taken to the police headquarters. The kind hearted matron wanted to give me a pillow and some bedding for I had nothing but a hard board in the cell. The Chief of Police forbade the matron to give me anything to make myself comfortable. He said: "That woman is giving us a great deal of trouble and we want to get rid of her." The matron came to me when no one was looking and advised me to give a bond of thirteen dollars and get out so that I might have a bed. I did this and went to my boarding house. I secured the services of a lawyer, Mr. Buckley. I was fined ten dollars which was afterwards remitted. This republican, rum-soaked police force make it a point to arrest me on every pretext. They have told me that if I win they will lose their jobs. Eighteen months before this I had been put in jail at Pittsburg, making three times all for doing my duty in that city.