The Kansas Crusade

February 9, 1901


Mrs. Carrie Nation and her associates trash the biggest saloon in Topeka, which leads to its proprietor’s arrest.


Topeka Kan., Feb. 6—Mrs. Carrie Nation and three followers yesterday wrought damage to the extent of $1500 in the “Senate,” the finest equipped “joint” in Topeka. She did more, for she gained the first police protection given her since she started out on her saloon smashing career at Wichita a month ago. The police followed up her raid of yesterday and arrested the proprietor of the Senate and two men who were guarding the place. Mrs. Nation was arrested, but promptly released. Mrs. Nation and her wreckers, each armed with a hatchet, sallied forth at daybreak. They forced their way past a negro who guarded the door of the Senate, and in less than ten minutes had strewn the floor with broken mirrors, bottles, slot machines and splintered bar fixtures The negro fired a shot of waning into the ceiling, but it had no effect. Presently a policeman stalked leisurely into the room and said: “Well, Sister Nation, I guess we’ll have to arrest you again.” Mrs. Nation had just smashed the last bottle and was ready to go. “All right,” she responded cheerily, “you came just when I wanted you to.” She turned back as she reach the door and inquired, “Everything cleaned up, ladies?” The police judge was glad to release her when appeared for trial and administered a rebuke to that official. Mrs. Nation soon walked down Kansas avenue, free again. Michael Wagner supposed to be the owner of the Senate, made the best of his opportunity and promptly secured a quantity of liquor to supply the thirst of the crowd that poured into his place to view the wreckage. During the afternoon two deputies from Sheriff Cook’s office raided the place and arrested Wagner, Shep Lytle and two guards and took charge of liquors. Later Chief of Police Stahl, in an interview with a reporter, said, “I do not care if Mrs. Nation smashes every joint in Topeka. I sympathize with her. I hope she will close up the saloons of the city. As an officer of the law, though, it is my duty to arrest her every time she creates a disturbance or destroys property. If we had the right kind of state officers it would not be necessary for Mrs. Nation to do what she is doing.” After Mrs. Nation and her followers had departed from the wrecked Senate and the place had been reopened for business by the proprietor the crowd in the saloon soon became so large that it required four bartenders to wait on them. Among those present were advocates of temperance who wished to see the work of the crusaders. The crowd around the bar demanded souvenirs, and the barternders gathered up bits of glass from the broken mirror, giving away a small piece with every glass of beer. A man stationed himself at the front door and cried: “Souvenirs with each and every glass of beer/” Those who did not drink begged for souvenirs. Small pieces of glass sold for five cents. Mrs. Nation was again arrested last night on a warrant sworn out in the city by Kelly and Lytle, who owned the Senate saloon. She is charged with malicious destruction or property. Her bond was placed at $100, and she was released till Saturday at which time her trial will take place. John C. Nicholson, a lawyer from Newton, is here with a bill he has prepared to legalize joint smashing. He claims that a legislator has promised to introduce the bill for the consideration of the legislature. Mr. Nicholson says that Mrs. Nation violates no law when she smashes property that is being used for unlawful purposes. Yesterday Mrs. Nation dictated an appeal “to the children of the high schools of the United States,” in which she urged children everywhere to smash saloon windows with rocks.
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Upper Left Quadrant

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Nathan Lyell


“The Kansas Crusade,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed January 18, 2022,