Friday, March 18, 2016




Raleigh, Oxford and Rocky Mount




     This was the headline in the Raleigh Times on 24 July 1907. It referred to the expected arrival of the fierce prohibitionist, Carrie Nation. “’Good Morning Carrie’ will be the tune next Monday, when the invincible Carrie Nation, with her dangerous battle-axe, swoops down rough-shod upon this awfully intemperate town of Raleigh.”

Taken from Kansapedia at

            Carrie had spent several weeks in western North Carolina and now she was headed east. The Times went on: “Carrie is coming in all her war-paint, and upon her arrival, will proceed to tell the jug-toters just what she thinks of them. It is rumored that certain red-nosed residents of this community have arranged for an extended fishing trip for next week, hence will be deprived of the illustrious visitor’s counsel.”
            In Raleigh, the temperance advocate was scheduled to speak twice at Pullen Park and to give street-corner lectures, not only about the evils of alcohol, but also the wickedness of tobacco and corsets.
was the headline in the News and Observer  on 30 July 1907 after Carrie’s arrival. The second line continued:  “Visited Pool Room and Dispensary—Spoke Twice at Park, Doing Her Revised “Smashing” Stunt to Saloons, Dispensaries, Tobac[c]o Factories.”
            When the train from Greensboro had pulled in and the stout, elderly woman with gray hair stepped down, the small crowd on the platform immediately recognized her. Promptly she began to speak about the 'good news.' Large amounts of tobacco had been destroyed in Orange County in a violent storm. “Rev. Mr. Carver had about forty thousand hills of tobacco…,” she read from a morning newspaper. “When the storm was over the tobacco stalks were left standing … .”
            “I consider the destruction of that tobacco as an answer to my prayers,” said Mrs. Nation. “North Carolina is cursed with a regular cancer in the American Tobacco Company. By the way, they are building a memorial church now to the old man Duke. I say they ought to put a memorial window in that church made of Bull Durham Tobacco and Duke’s Mixture.”
            Carrie Nation was especially well known for her habit of attacking taverns and saloons with a hatchet although she no longer did that. One way she raised money, however, was through the sale of miniature hatchets which she had ready on the platform in Raleigh
            As she waited for a street car or hack, she went on to say, “I am opposed to gay and expensive dressing, and I am opposed to balls—or hugging schools, I call them. I warn all boys against marrying ball room girls. I tell them if the girls practice hugging strange men before marriage they are likely to have the same taste afterwards.”

Interior view of a saloon wrecked by Carry Nation and her followers, Enterprise, Kansas.Taken from Kansas Memory at
Carrie Nation on the Evils of Dispensaries
            In 1897, North Carolina had passed a law permitting the establishment of county dispensaries for the sale of alcohol. These dispensaries were a target of Carrie’s wrath. When asked if she was going to visit the local dispensary, she replied, “Yes, I am going there. … It’s a regular hell-hole. And these goody-goody church people put it here—so good that the devil loves them. They tell me that you have a church man, a Sunday school teacher managing the dispensary.” [This was a young man named Snelling.]
            Promising to visit the dispensary at three o’clock that afternoon, she went on to preach against distilleries: “The distiller is the worst murderer in the land.”
At The Park
            She had no set speech, but her theme was: “Carry A. Nation for the Home; Carry A. Nation for Woman.” She touched on sobriety, temperance, purity, virtue, true manhood and womanhood, and railed against the saloon, the dispensary, the pool room, the gambling den, and the places of impurity.
            Suddenly she exclaimed, “Look here, there is a man smoking.” Pointing her finger at him, she said sharply:  “Don’t you know better than to smoke in this audience, sir? They get into such a habit of smoking that they loose [sic] all their manhood and self respect.” Returning to the subject of the dispensary she described it as “a hellhole where rotten slop is dealt out to poison and damn men’s lives and souls and destroy the virtue and womanhood of woman.”
Nude Pictures On Display
            To a News and Observer reporter she told the story of her visit to Lewis’ pool room, giving it a verbal slap. There she saw on the wall a picture of women 'perfectly nude.'  Describing the results of viewing such profanity, she said, “They would bare woman of love, they would bare her of virtue, they would bare her of home, they would bare her of sons, they would bare her of clothing. O, this is a time of making women bare!”

Carrie Nation Hatchet Pin for sale on Ebay

Taxation Without Representation
            Carrie Nation even touched on the subject of women’s right to vote—which they didn’t yet have!  She noted that women who owned property were forced to pay taxes to support courts for the purpose of punishing crime caused by selling liquor which she [the woman] could not vote to stop. “This is taxation,” she declared, “without representation, and is unconstitutional.” She declared that women can’t vote because saloon men know that women would vote them out of business.
            Near the end of her speech, she told of going into the office of the Bull Durham tobacco factory in Durham. She asked ‘a man’ why nude women were pictured in cigarette advertisements, and wondered, if they were going to use pictures of nude women anyway, why he didn’t use pictures of his own wife and daughter. She was promptly ordered out of the office.
Carrie in Oxford in Granville County
            The Oxford Public Ledger reported briefly on August 2: The well advertised Carrie Nation, who is now taking in the North Carolina town ripping things up the back, struck Oxford Wednesday and lectured in the Courthouse at night to quite a good audience. She made her usual talk on whiskey, tobacco, cigarettes, and the dispensary. She jumped on the Oxford dispensary and said our nice granolithic sidewalks put down by dispensary money would not stand. Paid her respects to the tobacco trust, Teddy Roosevelt, Republican and Democratic parties, and was anxious to sell her little hatchet. The receipts were about $30.
And in Rocky Mount in Nash and Edgecombe Counties
            The Wilmington Morning Star noted on 6 Aug 1907—Rocky Mount, N. C., August 3: Mrs. Carrie A. Nation, who has been here for two days, left today for Lynchburg, Va., where she will continue her efforts for prohibition. While here she delivered lectures at the opera house, at Oakland Park and in every saloon in town. Her lectures were attended by very good crowds and aroused considerable interest, but not much enthusiasm.
North Carolina — First in Prohibition
            Prohibition had long appealed to many people in North Carolina. As early as 1852, a petition for prohibition was presented to the General Assembly and in 1881 a referendum was held on the subject, but neither passed and saloons and taverns continued to thrive. The Anti-Saloon League was organized in 1902 with J. W. Bailey, a Warren County senator as its chairman. Many towns were able to stop the sale of alcohol within their limits through special acts of the Assembly.
In 1907, the Anti-Saloon League began a strong push for prohibition. Perhaps that was why Carrie Nation was here. The Watts Act was passed in 1908 forbidding the manufacture or sale of alcohol. North Carolina was the first state in the union to have such a law. It was not until January 1919 that the Eighteenth Amendment was passed making Prohibition the law of the land.

[NCPedia at; Raleigh Times (Raleigh, NC) 24 Jul 1907; News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 30 July 1907; Oxford Public Ledger (Oxford, NC) 2 Aug 1907; Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, NC) 6 Aug 1907]

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