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Carry Nation: Hatchet Lady

“Get out. The fire is coming.” It was 1889 when the small town of Richmond, Texas, caught fire. Eventually, almost one-half of the town was destroyed, including most of the business district. Did the Nation (Veranda) Hotel survive?

You may remember the name of Carry A. Nation from her days of wielding a hatchet against saloons and distilleries in the early 20 th Century. As leader of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, she made national headlines blaming the failures of society on the abuse of alcohol. In fact, she felt that God had called her to this ministry, and that her very name proclaimed that her mission was to “Carry A. Nation away from the evils of alcohol.”

But before the countrywide notoriety, Carry lived in Richmond with Charlien, her daughter from her first marriage. Her present husband was David Nation, a lawyer and correspondent for the Houston Post. Carry owned the Nation Hotel on the corner of Morton and 4 th Street in downtown Richmond.

As a little girl, Carry accepted Christ as Savior. She loved to pray, and would often spend hours alone reading her Bible. In Richmond, she started a Bible study in her hotel, and spoke about dreams and visions that she believed were from the Lord. And yes, she suffered much ridicule in the community.

But in 1887, Richmond was crippled by a horrible drought. Carry began public prayers asking God to send rain. She was even seen crawling down several streets on her knees crying for precipitation. While many people scoffed, the Lord seemingly answered her prayers with three days of continuous rain. Some said that she was just lucky, while others were amazed and believed.

Which brings us to the fire of 1889. As people ran for their lives, Carry sat in her rocker in the hotel lobby, praying that God would save her business. Incredibly, the fire stopped next door, and the hotel was spared. People were speechless, but many still saw Carry as being odd.

Later that year, David and Carry were forced to leave Richmond after he denounced the local Jaybirds political party in an article for the Houston Post. They moved the family to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, where David became a local pastor. However, Carry’s daughter Charlien Clara Annie Gloyd McNabb, was buried in Richmond's Morton Cemetery following her death in 1929.

Be encouraged today, God answers prayer. Elijah prayed for rain and it rained (1 Kings 18). Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still, and it did (Joshua 10). Elijah prayed for a dead boy to come to life, and he did (1 Kings17). Hannah prayed for a baby, and Samuel was born (1 Kings 17). And Hezekiah wanted to live longer, and God extended his life 15 years (2 Kings 20).

So, is it conceivable that God actually answered Carry’s prayers? Yes, because nothing is impossible with God.

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