Carol Goddard memories

2022 June portrait, WYO Writers

To tell this true story, first we need to know the characters. Carol Case Goddard was the daughter of Herbert and Mary Ellen Case. Carol was one of the movers and shakers as well as a benefactor in creating the Pioneer Museum in Hot Springs, S.D. Her two brothers were Leland, founder of Westerners International, and Francis Case, who became a U.S. Senator from South Dakota. Case Auditorium in Hot Springs is named for him. Their younger sister was Joyce Case Wilson, who married Clifford Wilson, a lawyer in Hot Springs.

This is an excerpt from a tape of Carol Goddard speaking to the Fall River County Historical Society in 1970.

The Early Days of Carol Goddard

My father was a Methodist minister for over 50 years. When I was a little girl before I was to start the first grade, he was designated and appointed to come to Sturgis, S.D., to the Black Hills Mission. We arrived in the fall of 1909.

One of my other great recollections is when Carry A. Nation came to town. It was the custom in those days when someone was going to speak at the church, they would stay at the home of the minister’s family. You have heard of her and her little hatchet, in saloons breaking the bar and the glasses and knocking the bottle around. She was very opposed to liquor. My father, before she had arrived, had gone out and visited with all the bartenders around town. They knew Carry A. Nation was coming. The bartenders all agreed that they would greet her and come to the church services. So, my father went down to the saloons with her because she was to meet the bartenders. My brother, Leland, and I were young kids — I think I was in the second grade — and we went along. We stood outside but we could see through at what was going on. When she entered the saloon, these bartenders and the cowboys and the soldiers from Fort Meade, just picked her right up off the floor. Some of them kissed her on both cheeks, and they threw their arms around her and welcomed her so. She was literally taken off her feet. They told her they would be coming to her services and would be closing the bars. And they did too. They were loud in the “Amens!”

Since she was our guest, Mother and Dad gave her their bedroom. We had to shift all around, so she had the best. But there wasn’t any room for me, so she said she’d like to have me sleep with her. I can see myself yet, propped up on the high-backed wooden bed there and in front was a dresser with this large mirror, one that swings. I could see her face and myself as I sat there. She pulled off her bonnet and put it on the dresser. She took her hatchet out of a little slit in her skirt and laid it on the dresser. I know I was just shaking. She got out some thread as she had to do some mending. She had a kind of strap or something that held this hatchet inside the pocket, and it was coming loose. So, she had to adjust it. As a little kid I remember her biting the thread off. Mother had told me to NEVER bite the thread off as you would ruin your teeth. And here was Carry A. Nation biting this black thread as she did her mending. I didn’t get decapitated or anything but I really was kind of frightened. I am sure the folks never realized that I would be a little bit afraid of her, but I was. It was an interesting experience, believe me. 

Sanders is a national award winning columnist who can be reached through

More Like This, Tap A Topic