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Nation, Carry, in Nebraska City, 1902

Carry Nation's visits to Nebraska in early 1902 were among the few she made to this state. She was in Hastings in March, speaking at the Kerr Opera House and touring local saloons, where she reportedly disapproved of barroom art as well as liquor. In early April of 1902 she arrived in Nebraska City.

According to the Nebraska City Daily Tribune, on microfilm at the Nebraska State Historical Society, Mrs. Nation did not at first try to conduct a major anti-saloon campaign there. A Tribune reporter followed her on a brief tour of local saloons, observing her character and methods of impressing observers. His report, published in the April 5, 1902, edition of the paper, was only mildly critical:

"She made no demonstration anywhere, nor any attempt at violence of any kind. Her method seems to be to put awkward personal questions to individuals, and then lambast them with reproof and admonition before they recover from the shock of the assault. . . .

"Her remarks were addressed for the most part to the bartenders. She would ask them what they were selling and whether they were doing any good. Barkeepers are a mild-mannered and long-suffering race as a rule, and silence was their only safe port in this storm."

Following her visits, Mrs. Nation returned to her hostess and other friends. But she missed her intended train out of Nebraska City about noon April 5 and that afternoon resumed her anti-saloon activities in a less pacific frame of mind. After an altercation with a bartender in one "joint," she was struck and ejected from the saloon. When she later returned, she was arrested and jailed. However, Mrs. Nation was released on condition that she leave town, and that evening departed for Bigelow, Missouri.

(March 1997)



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