Monday, February 6, 2012

Carrie (Carry) Nation - Early Years

Carrie (Carry) Nation, the Battle Axe from yester-year had a prolific past and one that shouldn't be forgotten since she worked so hard to be noticed!

Born Carrie Amelia Moore, she grew to a commanding 6 feet and weighed approximately 175 pounds. Regarded as an activist, leader in the prohibition movement, Nation also fought for suffrage for women.

Nation’s first marriage was to Dr. Charles Gloyd, an educated man whom she loved. Nation’s parents protested the marriage as Gloyd was an alcoholic. Despite her parents concerns, Nation and Gloyd were married, and soon after she became pregnant with her first and only child. The worries of her parents came true as alcohol consumed her husband. She began to seek help for his addiction but was unsuccessful and as a last resort moved back with her parents. Six months after the birth of her daughter, Gloyd had died of alcoholism. (Schwarz, Frederic D. American Heritage; May/Jun2000, Vol. 51 Issue 3, p107, 2p.)

Her experience with her first husband certainly has an impact on her resolve later in the life. Carrie Nation took the name from her second husband, David Nation, a newspaper editor, minister of a Christian Church, and a lawyer. (Maxey, Al. A Bulldog for Jesus.

Her ambitions were evident in her contributions to grassroots movements surrounding the prohibition movement and various business ventures.

As the prohibition movement picked up steam in the 19-20th Carrie's voice increased. (Carrie Nation: Prohibitionist and Pioneer.Nutrition Health Review. .88 (Winter 2003) p7.)

Groups launched by Nation included the “Home Defenders Army”, amplifying the role of women at home by accenting how women defended the home. (Grace, Fran. Carry A. Nation: Retelling the Life. Indiana University Press, 2007. P. 17.)

Nation herself didn't restrict herself to matters of the household as she ran a successful hotel business which pulled her family out of poverty, but also turned friends and family against her as it was considered socially unacceptable for a woman to engage in business ventures outside of the family home. (Frances Grace Carver. With Bible in One Hand and Battle-Axe in the Other: Carry A. Nation as Religious Performer and Self-PromoterReligion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation , Vol. 9, No. 1 (Winter, 1999), pp. 36. Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture.)

Second husband David Nation eventually filed for divorce after 27 years of “mutually unfulfilling marriage”. David Nation disapproved of his wife’s aggressively violent actions (and his obvious inability to control his wife). (Frances Grace Carver, With Bible in One Hand and Battle-Axe in the Other: Carry A. Nation as Religious Performer and Self-Promoter, p. 39).

Despite her aggression it was reported Carrie became close to the slave families her father kept. She developed a respect and admiration for African Amiercan culture and religion. Despite her deep affection for the black community, she did not question the institution of slavery, nor did she believe in equality for black people. In an excerpt from her autobiography, Carry states,

“ They are a distinct race with characteristics which they need not wish to exchange. When a negro tries to imitate white folks, he is a mongrel...Never depart from your race lines and bearings, keep true to your nature, your simplicity, and happy disposition”.  
(Nation, Carry A. The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation. P. 24.)

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