Amanda Way
Indiana's Hard-Core
Anti-Booze Baroness

Dawn Mitchell (The Indianapolis Star), reprinted by permission
Photo courtesy of Randolph County Historical Society

She was also the "mother of women's rights" in Indiana. In 1847, Amanda Way led the good ladies of Winchester, Indiana on a mission to rid the town of booze. Almost 80 of them, outraged by the death of a man who had lost his home and possessions to a saloon keeper, marched into drug stores and saloons. Reluctantly the druggists and saloon keepers emptied their whiskey into gutters.
      But not William Page. He stood at the door with a shotgun. Amanda Way was armed as well. The women stormed the saloon, smashed up the property, rolled the barrels and kegs into the street, cracked them open, and let the demon drink flow.
      The "whiskey riots," as it was called, occurred 50 years before radical temperance leader Carrie Nation would wield her hatchet and lead the "hatchetations" throughout Kansas.
      John Woodburn, who was 14 years old, gave witness to the riots in an April 27, 1916, Letter to the Editor, published in the Holton (Kansas) Recorder. He recalled a "whiskey-soaked bum begged in pleading tones: Miss Way, please let me have one more drink.' Way responded, 'I would rather brain you with this axe, so you could die sober."' The man proceeded to get down on his hands and knees and drink the whiskey from the gutter.
      In a later criminal trial, Way and the women were found not guilt. Page was awarded $140 in damages.
      Amanda Way, born to a Quaker family in Randolph County, was not one to let the grass grow under her feet. She was a suffragette, agent for the Underground Railroad, editor/owner of the Ladies tribune in Indianapolis, teacher, Civil War battle nurse, and Meiliodist Episcopal minister.
      True to her Quaker upbringing, Way was devoted to the temperance movement, which advocated the abstinence from alcohol and its eventual prohibition. Way was a leader [in] woman's rights and fought for the abolition of slavery and traveled the country lecturing on those topics.
      Way was one of the founding members of the first Woman's Rights Convention held in Dublin, Indiana in 1851. The lndiana Woman's Rights Association was a product of that convention. Way became known as the "mother of woman's rights" in Indiana.
     After she moved to Idaho in 1900, Way became the first Indiana-born woman to run for Congress on the Prohibition ticket.  Idaho, at that time, had given women the right to vote.  [She received 1.43% of the vote in her district, a typical result for Prohibition candidates.]
     Amanda Way died in 1914, in California, at the age of 86.