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Use and Need of the Life of Carrie Nation

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



In the fall of 1865, Dr. Gloyd, a young physician, called to see my father to secure the country school, saying he wished to locate in our section of the country, and wanted to take a school that winter, and then he could decide where he would like to practice his profession.

This man was a thorough student, spoke, and read, several different languages; he boarded with. I liked him, and stood in awe of him because of his superior education, never thinking that he loved me, until he astonished me one evening by kissing me. I had never had a gentleman to take such a privilege and felt shocked, threw up my hands to my face, saying several times: "I am ruined." My aunt and mother had instilled great reserve in my actions, when in company of gentlemen, so much so that I had never allowed one to sit near or hold my hand. This was not because I did not like their society, but I had been taught that to inspire respect or love from a man, you must keep him at a distance. This often made me awkward and reserved, but it did me no harm. When I learned that Dr. Gloyd loved me, I began to love him. He was an only child. His parents had but a modest living. My mother was not pleased with seeing a growing attachment between us, for there was another match she had planned for me. When she saw this she would not allow me to sit alone in the room with him, so our communication was mostly by writing letters. I never knew Shakespeare until he read it to me, and I became an ardent admirer of the greatest poet. The volume of Shakespeare on his table was our postoffice. In the morning at breakfast he would manage to call the name "Shakespeare;" then I would know there was a letter for me in its leaves. After teaching three months he went to Holden, Mo., and located; sent for his father and mother and in two years we were married.


My father and mother warned me that the doctor was addicted to drink, but I had no idea of the curse of rum. I did not fear anything, for I was in love, and doubted in him nothing. When Dr. Gloyd came up to marry me the 21st of November, 1867, I noticed with pain, that his countenance was not bright, he was changed. The day was one of the gloomiest I ever saw, a mist fell, and not a ray of sunshine. I felt a foreboding on the day I had looked forward to, as being one of the happiest. I did not find Dr. Gloyd the lover I expected. He was kind but seemed to want to be away from me; used to sit and read, when I was so hungry for his caresses and love. I have heard that this is the experience of many other young married women. They are so disappointed that their husbands change so after marriage. With my observation and experience I believe that men have it in their power to keep the love of ninety-nine women out of a hundred. Why do women lose love for their husbands? I find it is mostly due to indifference on the part of the husband. I often hear the experience of those poor abandoned sisters. I ask, Why are you in this house of sin and death? When I can get their confidence, many of them say: "I married a man; he drank, and went with other women. I got discouraged or spiteful, and went to the bad also." I find that drink causes so much enmity between the sexes. Drinking men neglect their wives. Their wives become jealous. Men often go with abandoned women under the influence of that drink that animates the animal passions and asks not for the association of love, but the gratification of lust. Men do not go to the houses of ill-fame to meet women they love but oftener those they almost hate. The drink habit destroys in men the appreciation of a home life, and when a woman leaves all others for one man, she does, and should, expect his companionship, and is not satisfied without it. Libertines, taking advantage of this, select women whose husbands are neglectful, and he wins victims by his attentions, and poor woman, as at the first, is beguiled. Marriage, while it is the blissful consummation of pure love, is the most serious of all relations, and girls and boys should early be instructed about the secrets of their own natures, the object of marriage, and the serious results of any marriage where true love is not the object. I confess myself that I was not fit to marry with the ignorance of its holy purpose. Sunday school teachers, mothers, fathers, and ministers, look into God's word and see the results of sin. God has written of this so as to force you to educate your children. Talk freely. Truth will purify everything it comes in contact with. Ignorance is not innocence, but is the promoter of crime: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."

About five days after we were married, Dr. Gloyd came in, threw himself on the bed and fell asleep. I was in the next room and saw his mother bow down over his face. She did not know I saw her. When she left, I did the same thing, and the fumes of liquor came in my face. I was terror stricken, and from that time on, I knew why he was so changed. Not one happy moment did I see; I cried most all the time. My husband seemed to understand that I knew his condition. Twice, with tears in his eyes, he remarked: "Oh! Pet, I would give my right arm to make you happy." He would be out until late every night. I never closed my eyes. His sign in front of the door on the street would creak in the wind, and I would sit by the window waiting to hear his footsteps. I never saw him stagger. He would lock himself up in the "Masonic Lodge" and allow no one to see him. People would call for him in case of sickness, but he could not be found.

My anguish was unspeakable, I was comparatively a child. I wanted some one to help me. He was a mason. I talked to a Mr. Hulitt, a brother mason, I begged of him to help me save my precious husband. I talked to a dear friend, Mrs. Clara Mize, a Christian, hoping to get some help in that direction, but all they could say, was. "Oh, what a pity, to see a man like Dr. Gloyd throw himself away!" The world was all at once changed to me, it was like a place of torture. I thought certainly, there must be a way to prevent this suicide and murder. I now know, that the impulse was born in me then to combat to the death this inhumanity to man.

I believe the masons were a great curse to Dr. Gloyd. These men would drink with him. There is no society or business that separates man and wife, or calls men from their homes at night, that produces any good results. I believe that secret societies are unscriptural, and that the Masonic Lodge has been the ruin of many a home and character.

I was so ignorant I did not know that I owed a duty to myself to avoid gloomy thoughts; did not know that a mother could entail a curse on her offspring before it was born. Oh, the curse that comes through heredity, and this liquor evil, a disease that entails more depravity on children unborn, than all else, unless it be tobacco. There is an object lesson taught in the Bible. The mother of Samson was told by an angel to "drink neither wine nor strong drink" before her child was born, and not to allow him to do so after he was born. God shows by this, that these things are injurious. Mothers often make drunkards of their own children, before they are born. My parents heard that Dr. Gloyd was drinking. My father came down to visit us, and I went home with him. My mother told me I must never go back to my husband again. I knew the time was near at hand, when I would be helpless, with a drunken husband, and no means of support. What could I do? I kept writing to "Charlie," as I called him. He came to see me once; my mother treated him as a stranger. He expressed much anxiety about my confinement in September; got a party to agree to come for him at the time; but my mother would not allow it. In six weeks after my little girl was born, my mother sent my brother with me to Holden to get my trunk and other things to bring them home. Her words to me were: "If you stay in Holden, never return home again." My husband begged me to stay with him; he said: "Pet, if you leave me, I will be a dead man in six months." I wanted to stay with him, but dared not disobey my mother and be thrown out of shelter, for I saw I could not depend on my husband. I did not know then that drinking men were drugged men, diseased men. His mother told me that when he was growing up to manhood, his father, Harry Gloyd, was Justice of the Peace in Newport, Ohio, twelve years, and that Charlie was so disgusted with the drink cases, that he would go in a room and lock himself in, to get out of their hearing; that he never touched a drop until he went in the army, the 118th regiment, Thomas L. Young being the Colonel. Dr. Gloyd was a captain. In the society of these officers he, for the first time, began to drink intoxicants. He was fighting to free others from slavery, and he became a worse slave than those he fought to free. In a little less than six months from the day my child was born, I got a telegram telling of his death. His father died a few months before he did, and mother Gloyd was left entirely alone.

Mother Gloyd was a true type of a New England housewife, and I had always lived in the south. I could not say at this time that I loved her, although I respected her very highly. But I wanted to be with the mother of the man I loved more than my own life; I wanted to supply his place if possible. My father gave me several lots; by selling one of these and Dr. Gloyd's library and instruments, I built a house of three rooms on one of the lots and rented the house we lived in, which brought us in a little income, but not sufficient to support us. I wanted to prepare myself to teach, and I attended the Normal Institute of Warrensburg. I was not able to pay my board and Mr. Archie Gilkerson and wife charged me nothing and were as kind to me as parents. God bless them! I got a certificate and was given the primary room in the Public School at Holden. Mother Gloyd kept house and took care of Charlien, my little girl, and I made the living. This continued for four years. I lost my position as teacher in that school this way: A Dr. Moore was a member of the board, he criticised me for the way I had the little ones read; for instance, in the sentence, "I saw a man," I had them use the short a instead of the long a, and so with the article a; having them read it as we would speak it naturally. He made this serious objection, and I lost my place and Dr. Moore's niece got my room as teacher. This was a severe blow to me, for I could not leave mother Gloyd and Charlien to teach in another place, and I knew of no other way of making a living except by teaching. I resolved then to get married. I made it a subject of prayer and went to the Lord explaining things about this way. I said: "My Lord, you see the situation I cannot take care of mother and Charlien. I want you to help me. If it be best for me to marry, I will do so. I have no one picked out, but I want you to select the one that you think best. I want to give you my life, and I want by marrying to glorify and serve you, as well as to take care of mother and Charlien and be a good wife." I have always been a literalist. I find out that it is the only way to interpret the Bible. When God says: "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him he shall bring it to pass," I believe that to be the way to act. My faith does not at all times grasp this or other promises, but there are times when I can appropriate them and make them mine; there are times when I can pray with faith, believing that I have the things I pray for, other times it is not so.

In about ten days from that time I made this a subject of prayer, I was walking down the street in Holden and passed a place where Mr. Nation was standing, who had come up from Warrensburg, where he was then editing the "Warrensburg Journal". He was standing in the door with his back to me, but turned and spoke. There was a peculiar thrill which passed through my heart which made me start. The next day I got a letter from him, asking me to correspond with him. I was not surprised; had been expecting something like it. I knew that this was in answer to my prayer, and David Nation was to be the husband God selected for me. He was nineteen years older than I, was very good looking, and was a well-informed, successful lawyer, also a Christian minister. My friends in Holden opposed this because of the difference in our ages and of his large family. I gave him the loving confidence of a true wife and he was often very kind to me. We were married within six weeks from the time I got the letter from him. Mother Gloyd went to live with us and continued to do so for fifteen years, until she died. My married life with Mr. Nation was not a happy one. I found out that he deceived me in so many things. I can remember the first time I found this out. I felt like something was broken that could never be mended. What a shattered thing is betrayed confidence! Oh, husband, and wives, do not lie to each other, even though you should do a vile act; confess to the truth of the matter! There will be some trouble over it, but you can never lose your love for a truthful person. I hated lying because I loved the truth. I hated dishonesty because I loved honesty. I loved, therefore I hated. I love mankind therefore I hated the enemies of mankind. I loved God and therefore hated the devil. Truth is the pearl of great price. Whoso getteth it has all earth and heaven.

I shall not in this book give to the public the details of my life as a wife of David Nation any more than possible. He and I agreed in but few things, and still we did not have the outbreaks many husbands and wives have. The most serious trouble that ever rose between us was in regard to Christianity. My whole Christian life was an offense unto him, and I found out if I yielded to his ideas and views that I would be false to every true motive. He saw that I resented this influence and it caused him to be suspicious and jealous. I think my combative nature was largely developed by living with him, for I had to fight for everything that I kept. About two years after we were married, we exchanged our mutual properties for seventeen hundred acres of land on the San Bernard River in Texas, part of which was a cotton plantation. We knew nothing of the cultivation of cotton or of plantation life. We took a car load of good furniture with us and some fine stock, hogs and cattle. In packing up to go to Texas there was a widow who assisted me. In paying her for her services, I gave her some worthless things, because I was so avaricious. I would not pay her money, but gave her the things I did not want to carry with me. I remember I left about eight bushels of potatoes in the cellar for her and the night we left they froze. I felt very much condemned the way I treated this poor woman.

We were as helpless on the plantation as little children. The cultivation of cotton was very different from anything we had been used to. A bad neighbor threw all of our plows in the Bernard River and everything seemed to go wrong. We had eight horses die in the pasture the spring after we moved there. Soon the money we took with us was gone and Mr. Nation got discouraged. He went to Brazoria, the county seat, and stayed six weeks during court, for the purpose of entering the practice of law again.

The cotton had been planted before he left. A neighbor named Martin Hanks came over and told me not to allow the cotton to go to waste, said he would lend me his plows, and advised me to get a colored man named Edmond, who was his master's overseer in slave time, to manage this crop for me. I hired five other negroes, paying them with things I had in the house, for I had not a cent of money. The result was a fine crop of cotton. Mr. Nation's daughter Lola, was then eleven years old, and Charlien was three years younger. We lived six miles from a school, and just at a time when the girls needed school most. I began to see what a disastrous move we had made. I became very dispondant and sick at heart. I was young and did not know then how to contend with disappointments on every hand. At one time I was quite sick with chills and fever. I had nothing in the house but meal, some fat bacon and sweet potatoes. There was a poor old man that we took in for charity who was with us, named Mr. Holt. I called him to my bedside and asked him to go to the patch and dig a bushel of sweet potatoes and take them to town and exchange them for a little tea, sugar, lemons and bread. He failed in this and was returning when, he met a dear, sweet woman, Mrs. Underwood, that I called my "Texas Mother." She called to Mr. Holt, and asked him how I was. He told her I was sick and out of anything to eat. She took the potatoes and sent the articles I wanted. I believe I should have died had he returned without them, for I was almost famished for food and sick besides.

I was in Columbia one day and stopped at the Old Columbia Hotel, owned by the Messrs. Park, two bachelors. Mrs. Ballenger a widow was renting it from Messrs. Park. I said to them: "If you ever need a tenant, send for me." In a few months Mrs. Ballenger's daughter died and she left. Mr. Park sent for me to come. We had a car load of good plain furniture and bedding, some handsome tableware, but no money to buy provisions.

Dear old mother Gloyd was a great help to me. She had once kept hotel herself. I did not ask credit, and this is how I got the money to begin keeping hotel: There was an Irish ditcher named Dunn whose wife did my work. She was a good cook. I borrowed of Mr. Dunn three dollars and fifty cents, and with this money began the hotel business. The house was a rattle trap, plastering off, and a regular bed-bug nest. I fumigated, pasted the walls over with cloth and newspapers, where the plastering was off, and made curtains out of old sheets. My purchases were about like this for the first day: Fifty cents worth of meat, coffee ten cents, rice ten cents and sugar twenty-five cents, potatoes five, etc. The transients at one meal would give me something to spend for the next. I assisted about the cooking and helped in the dining-room. Mother Gloyd and Lola attended to the chamber work, and little Charlien was the one who did the buying for the house. I would often wash out my tablecloths at night myself and iron them in the morning before breakfast. I would take boarders' washing, hire a woman to wash, then do the ironing myself. Columbia was a small village of not more than five hundred people. It was the terminal of a railroad called the Columbia Tap. Mr. Painter, the conductor, began boarding with us right off and in three or four days he brought a family there to board by the name of Oastram, father, mother and two boys, having come south to buy a plantation. Mrs. Oastrom handed me a ten dollar bill. I called Lola and Charlien upstairs and showed them the ten dollar bill. We were overjoyed; we danced, laughed, and cried. Charlien said: "Now we can buy a whole ham." For several months my little children and I ate nothing but broken food. I can never put on paper the struggles of this life. I would not know one day how we would get along the next.

The bitterest sorrows of my life have come from not having the love of a husband. I must here say that I have had, at times, in the society of those I love, a foretaste of what this could be. For years I never saw a loving husband that I did not envy the wife; it was a cry of my heart for love. I used to ask God why He denied me this. I can see now why it was. I know it was God's will for me to marry Mr. Nation. Had I married a man I could have loved, God could never have used me. Phrenologists who have examined my head have said: "How can you, who are such a lover of home be without one?" The very thing that I was denied caused me to have a desire to secure it to others. Payne who wrote "Home Sweet Home" never had one. There is in my life a cause of sadness and bitter sorrow that God only knows. I shall not write it here. Oh! how the heart will break almost for a loving word! I believe the great want of the world is love. Jesus came to bring love to earth.

During these severe afflictions I began to see how little there was in life. I wondered at the gaiety of people. Seemed like a pall hung over the earth. I would wonder that the birds sung, or the sun would shine. I might say that for years this was my experience. I would go to God but got very little relief; yet I never gave up. It was all the hope I could see for me. About this time my little Charlien, who had been such a help to me, began to go into a decline, until she was taken down with typhoid fever. Her case was violent and she was delirious from the first. This my only child was peculiar. She was the result of a drunken father and a distracted mother. The curse of heredity is one of the most heart-breaking results of the saloon. Poor little children are brought into the world, cursed by disposition and disease, entailed on them. How can mothers be true to their offspring with a constant dread of the nameless horrors wives are exposed to by being drunkards' wives. Men will not raise domestic animals under conditions where the mothers may bring forth weak or deformed offspring. My precious child seemed to have taken a perfect dislike to Christianity. This was a great grief to me, and I used to pray to God to save her soul at any cost; I often prayed for bodily affliction on her, if that was what would make her love and serve God. Anything for her eternal salvation.

Her right cheek was very much swollen, and on examination we found there was an eating sore inside her cheek. This kept up in spite of all remedies, and at last the whole of her right cheek fell out, leaving the teeth bare. My friends and boarders were very angry at the physician, saying she was salivated. From the first something told me this is an answer to your prayer. At this time, when her life was despaired of, I had an intense longing to save my child, who was so dear to me. I said: "Oh, God, let me keep a piece of my child." A minister said: "Don't pray for the life of your child; she will be so deformed it were better she were dead." I could not feel this way. After being at death's door for nine days, she began to recover. The wound in her face healed up to a hole about the size of a twenty-five cent piece. Her jaws closed and remained so for eight years. The sickness of my daughter and the keeping up of the hotel was such a tax on my mind, that for six months all transactions would recede from my memory. For instance, if anyone told me something, in an hour afterwards, I could not tell whether it had been hours, days or months since it was told me. I never entirely recovered from this, still being forgetful of names, dates and circumstances, unless they are particularly impressed upon my mind. When I could afford it, I took my child, then twelve years old, down to Galveston, put her under the care of Dr. Dowell for the purpose of closing the hole in her cheek. I had to leave the little one down there among strangers, for I could not afford to stay with her. A mother only will know what this means. After four operations the place was closed up in her cheek, still her mouth was closed, her teeth close together. I suffered torture all these years for fear she might strangle to death. I took her to San Antonio, Texas, to Dr. Herff, and he and his two sons removed a section of the jawbone, expecting to make an artificial joint, enabling her to use the other side of her jaw. After all this, the operation was a failure, and her jaws closed up again. We, in the meantime, moved to Richmond from Columbia. We became very successful in the hotel business and I saved money enough to send her to New York City, where her father, Dr. Gloyd, had a cousin, Dr. Messinger, who would see that she had the best relief possible. None of the surgeons there gave her any hope of opening her jaws. She went to Dr. John Wyeth to have him perform the plastic surgery; that is, he cut off a flap from under her chin, turning it over the scar on her cheek.

Although Charlien was not a Christian, she had faith in God. Once she complained of my being too strict with her, but said: "Mamma I owe it to you that I have any faith in God, even if you are severe with me." She always believed that her mother had a God. Finding no physician in New York that could open her jaws, she wrote me this: "No one but God can open my mouth, Mamma; ask him to do it." There was a Catholic woman, Miss Doregan, who boarded with me and had a store around the corner from the hotel, and I could think of no one else who had as much faith as this woman. She said she believed that God would heal my child according to prayer, so I went for seven mornings before breakfast to this saint of God. She taught me many holy truths and she explained the Scriptures to me. I learned from her a prayer that we said in concert, that was written by one of the Old Fathers, and is one of the most complete in devotion I have ever read. I will record it here: "Come Holy Ghost send down those beams, That sweetly flow in silent streams, From thy bright throne above; Oh, Come Father of the poor, Thou bounteous source of all our store; Come fire our hearts with love. Come thou of comforters the best, Come thou the soul's delicious guest, The pilgrim's sweet relief: Thou art our rest in toil and sweat, Refreshment in excessive heat And solace in our grief. Oh! sacred light shoot home the darts, Oh! pierce the center of those hearts Whose faith aspires to thee. Without thy God-head nothing can Have any worth a price in man, Nothing can harmless be." "Lord wash our sinful stains away, Water from heaven our barren clay, Our wounds and bruises heal. To thy sweet yoke our stiff necks bow, Warm with thy fire our hearts of snow, Our wandering feet repair. Oh, grant thy faithful dearest Lord, Whose only hope is thy sure word, The seven gifts of thy spirit. Grant us in life to obey thy grace, Grant us in death to see thy face And endless joys inherit, Through the same Christ our Lord." "Amen."

And now I often use this beautiful and comprehensive petition to my Dear Lord.

Charlien wrote that she had letters of introduction to a physician in Philadelphia, Dr. J. Ewing Mears, but in every letter would say: "Keep on praying." This we did. Oh, the anxiety of my mother heart! My duties as landlady kept me busy all day and part of the night. I often had to do my own cooking.

God was good to me and we were very successful financially, and managed to meet all debts and payments on the property we had purchased.

After I knew the operation had been performed in Philadelphia, I telegraphed to Charlien. The answer came from the physician: "All right," but my anxiety was intensified. I became almost wild with anxiety, and I determined to go to her. I borrowed four hundred dollars from Alex McNabb, the man she was engaged to, and in three hours I was on my way to my precious suffering one. As soon as I got on the train a sense of divine guidance came to me.

When I arrived at the hospital, I had the nurse take me to my child's room. I cannot describe the meeting. She was packing up her clothes. I said: "Why are you doing this?" Then she told me this pitiful story: "Mamma, you did not send me any money, and the Doctor and nurse seemed dissatisfied, so I took most of my clothes down to a soup house and pawned them, that the woman may give me a room and soup until I could hear from you."

This was horrible to think of. I had sent her money, but like some others, Charlien never knew the value of money. I had her on my lap and we were crying together. Just to think, in ten minutes more my child might have been gone, and I might not have found her for some time. Her mouth was opened half an inch, and as she talked, I noticed that the side of her face the jaw bone had been taken from, was moving as she chewed a piece of gum. I placed my hands on each side of her face and said: "Now chew, Well, this is just like God; he has not only opened your mouth, but has given you a new jaw bone. My darling you know that the bone from this side was taken out." "Yes", she said, "I told Dr. Mears that, but he said it could not be."

I told him I saw the bone and teeth that were taken out. So in answer to prayer, God had wrought this miracle.

I stayed there six weeks with her, She went to see the doctor three times a week. He used a pry to open her jaws, which was very painful to her but she gradually grew better. We were so happy in each other's society. I took her every place to see sights in that grand, philanthropic city. I believe Philadelphia, "Brotherly Love," has more evidence of the meaning of the name than any city I have ever seen. The "Breakfast Association" for redeemed men has no equal in its Christ-like work. When I left New York for Kansas, I bought two tickets, one from New York to Chicago and another one from there on. When I went to check my trunk I found one ticket was gone. I had only about three or four dollars, not enough to get me another ticket. This was at Fulton Ferry. I turned and walked out going toward the elevated road, looking as I went for my ticket. Was praying God to help me find it. I walked about the streets as if in a dream. Wishing to learn where I was, I crossed the street to ask a policeman. Seeing a paper at his feet I picked it up and it was my lost ticket. Joshua made the sun stand still by prayer. Elijah closed the heavens from raining on the earth and raised the dead. It is not strange that God should answer my prayer in this case.

In six weeks I returned home leaving Charlien, who went to Vermont to visit some of her father's relatives, the Gloyds. She was gone six months, came home and married and continued to live in Richmond, Texas. For a year she and her husband lived with me; also Mr. Nation's daughter, Lola, was married and living with me, and mother Gloyd, now eighty-six years old, was there. My cares now were so heavy many times that I could not attend religious worship as I wished. Sunday morning I frequently gathered my servants in the dining-room, and there we read and studied the Bible. I had great heaviness of heart, because I had no time to meditate and study the Scriptures. I saw I was only living to feed the perishing bodies of men and women. I would frequently go upstairs and prostrate myself on the floor, crying to God for deliverance from my present surroundings, telling Him over and over, "if he would free me I would do for Him what he couldn't get anyone else to do." How literally this has been fulfilled, for God held me to my vow, and what Carry A. Nation has done is what no one else has; not only in the instance of smashing saloons, but in every other work. My life beyond dispute has been marvelous and no one that will stop to consider but will know and must admit that an unseen power, one super-human, has upheld me, "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord."