Carrie Nation's Whackin' Hatchet
Medicine Lodge, Kansas
Carrie Nation (also spelled "Carry") hated booze (and tobacco, and Masons too). But it wasn't until 1900, when she was 54 years old, that she invented a form of protest that she later dubbed "hatchetation." She would walk into a saloon, curse the bartender ("Donkey bed mate of Satan!" was typical) and then destroy the place. Carry stood six feet tall and weighed 175 lbs, and her weapons of choice were rocks, bricks, billiard balls, an iron bar strapped to her cane, and a hatchet. It was the hatchet that caught the fancy of the press. Carry, a master of self-promotion, quickly adopted it as her symbol. When she went out on a smashing crusade, she'd carry a bag of tiny souvenir hatchets that she'd sell to help bail her out of prison.
Carry lived in this house when she began her hatchet campaign, and it was turned into the Carry Nation Home Museum in 1950. Exhibits include her pump organ (Carry liked to sing hymns), her hat, her suitcase, a couple of her souvenir hatchets -- and a real hatchet, protected under glass. According to its display, Carry gave it to a minister-friend in Georgia and his family later sent it here. "She had other hatchets, you know," said Ann Bryan, a Museum manager. "A lot of them were taken away. But this one she managed to hold on to."