Septemebr 2017 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Josephine Airey - from Wikipedia 
Josephine "Chicago Joe" Airey (1844 October 25, 1899), was an Irish-born American prostitute, madam, and proprietor of brothels, dance halls, a variety theatre, and saloons in Helena, Montana. She eventually became the most influential landowner in Helena. She was known as "Chicago Joe" Hensley following her marriage to James T. Hensley.


Josephine was born Mary Welch in Ireland in 1844. When she emigrated to New York City in 1858, she changed her name to Josephine Airey. She held a menial job, but this soon bored her, so she moved to Chicago where she took up prostitution. In 1867, she quit Chicago and moved out west to the newly established gold mining town of Helena, Montana. There she opened a hurdy-gurdy house, which quickly became a success due to its appeal to the local miners. She left behind two sisters in Chicago who she supported throughout her career.

"Chicago Joe"

She soon expanded her business; a fire in 1874 provided her with the opportunity of buying up property from those who could not afford to rebuild which made her the richest landowner on Wood Street. She was the owner of the "Grand", a large brothel on the corner of State and Joliet streets. In 1878, 

Josephine Airey
she married James T. Hensley, and together they built a stone, fire-proof dance hall as well as the "Red Light Saloon". She began to be known by the nickname of "Chicago Joe" Hensley. Josephine began to rent her numerous properties to other businesses, making her the most influential landowner in Helena. Her wealth and influence enabled her to donate to charities and political campaigns. Josephine and her husband later built a large vaudeville-style variety theatre called "The Coliseum", which proved greatly successful, due to its rich furnishings and the beautiful girls Josephine hired to perform. Josephine was famed for her lavish style of dress, lifestyle and parties she and her husband regularly gave.

Although prostitution was legal at this time in the United States there was still much controversy surrounding Josephine's business practices. An article in 1884 claimed that Josephine had tricked girls into leaving Chicago to come work for her brothels. The idea was that she told them they would be working in a hotel, but never specified what their job would be exactly. This allegation was false, but Chicago Joe was known for paying the fare from Chicago to Helena, which essentially meant she was importing employees.

In January 1883, she placed a notice in Helena's newspaper, the Daily Independent, ordering local saloon owners and gambling houses not to serve her husband liquor, allow him to gamble or loan him money on pain of prosecution. Later that same year, on 24 December 1883 she advertised that she was holding a Grand Masquerade Ball at the "Red Light Saloon" and issued invitations to all the citizens of Helena.

Then in 1885 legislators in Montana passed a law that made the "hurdy gurdy" house illegal. These dance halls got their name from the stringed instrument often found in them. Josephine's attorney was able to keep her out of legal troubles, but she was forced to reorganize her business and be less prominent in the town. After a few years, she re-opened the Coliseum and converted part of the building into a brothel. "The Coliseum" began to lose its popularity in 1890, as Helena became more respectable. In the Panic of 1893, Josephine lost all her property apart from the "Red Light Saloon". Soon she and her husband were forced to live in the small rooms above the saloon.


At the height of her success Chicago Joe owned the Red Light Saloon, The Grand Bordello, The Coliseum Variety Theater, and various other businesses in the town. At one point she was the largest landowner in the entire Red Light district. These buildings she owned were not shacks, but large event centers that could host parties as well as serve their intended purposes. For example, the Coliseum cost Josephine over $30,000 to build in the 1880s. The panic of 1893 claimed all of her holdings but the Red Light Saloon and she lived the last few years of her life in a room above it.


Josephine's business model began to rub off on her employees and in 1875 Mrs. Lou Couselle started her own brothel in Bozeman, Montana. Much like her former boss she used mortgages to make money and at the time of her death she had an estate worth over $20,000. Again much like Josephine, Mrs. Lou used the profits of prostitution to expand her business empire. Mollie "Crazy Belle Crafton" was another woman who followed the path blazed by Josephine. Mollie built the Castle Bordello, which cost over $12,000 in the early 1880s. Josephine's success clearly had a profound effect on the minds of other women in the area at this time.


Josephine died of pneumonia on October 25, 1899. The citizens of Helena gave her a magnificent funeral with many speeches praising her accomplishments. In the final years of her life she lived under meager conditions. The glory of her early days had been dried up in the panic of 1893. Her death saddened the community and made front-page news. Her generosity was noted and she was buried in the cemetery at a Catholic church.

Susan Anderson from Wikapedia 
Susan Anderson (January 31, 1870 April 16, 1960) was an American physician and one of the first women to practice medicine in Colorado.


Anderson was born in 1870 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and later moved to Kansas. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she lived with her father, younger brother, and grandmother. After she graduated from high school in 1891, her family moved to Cripple Creek, Colorado after gold had been discovered there. Although she originally wanted to work as a telegraph operator, she was encouraged by her father to attend medical school at the University of Michigan.

Anderson became a licensed physician after graduating from medical school in 1897. She returned to Cripple Creek before moving around Colorado in attempt to practice in Denver, Greeley and Eaton, but found it difficult to find work. She was briefly engaged but was left at the altar by her fiancé in 1900. In 1904, she was appointed Coroner of Grand County, Colorado, during which time she investigated many of the deaths involved in the construction of the Moffat Tunnel railroad.

After contracting tuberculosis in 1907, Anderson relocated to Fraser, Colorado, where residents affectionately nicknamed her "Doc Susie"; for 49 years, she was the only physician in Fraser. She tended to a range of patients and medical conditions including childbirth, skiing injuries, and particularly pneumonia during the 1918 flu pandemic. Although most of her work involved making house calls to 

Susan Anderson
patients, Anderson never owned a horse or car, and she was usually paid in food or firewood rather than money.

During the 1950s, Anderson was the focus of several newspaper and magazine stories. Actress Ethel Barrymore offered to make a film about Anderson's life, but the latter declined. Anderson retired in 1956 and was admitted to Denver General Hospital with poor health in 1958, where she stayed until her death; she died in 1960, aged 90, and was buried in Cripple Creek.

Anderson was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 1997.

Julia Bulette from Wikapedia 
Julia Bulette (1832 January 19/20, 1867), was an English-born American prostitute and madam in Virginia City, Nevada. After her violent death, she has been described as a beautiful, educated and independent prostitute who never worked in or owned a brothel of her own in Virginia City, NV. Various films and books took inspiration of her real or purported biography. She was said to be the first unmarried white woman to arrive in the mining boomtown following the Comstock Lode silver strike in 1859, but that is highly unlikely; she probably arrived in 1863. Bulette was a popular figure with the miners, and the local firefighters made her an honorary member of Virginia Engine Company Number 1. She was murdered by the accused John Millain, a French drifter and jewel thief, in 1867. He was convicted of her murder but the case was very circumstantial. The townspeople honored her with a lavish funeral and a speedy hanging of her assailant.


Julia Bulette, whose real name was Jule, was born in 1832 in Mississippi of French ancestry. In about 1852 or 1853, she moved to California where she lived in various places until her arrival in 1859 in Virginia City, Nevada, a mining boomtown since the Comstock Lode silver strike that same year. As she was the only woman in the area, she became greatly sought after by the miners. She quickly took up prostitution, Jule, or Julia as she became known, was described as having been a beautiful, tall, and slim brunette with dark yes, she was refined in manner with a humorous, witty personality.

"Jule" Bulette lived and worked out of a small rented cottage near the corner of D and Union streets in 

Julia Bulette
Virginia City's entertainment district. An independent operator, she competed with the fancy brothels, streetwalkers, and hurdy-gurdy girls for meager earnings. Contemporary newspaper accounts of her gruesome murder captured popular imagination. With few details of her life, twentieth-century chroniclers elevated the courtesan to the status of folk heroine, ascribing to her the questionable attributes of wealth, beauty, and social standing. In reality, Bulette was ill and in debt at the time of her death. The brutal attack that ended her life pointed to the violence that surrounded the less fortunate members of Victorian-era society.

She was also a good friend to the miners, who adored her. One described her as having "caressed Sun Mountain with a gentle touch of splendor". Julia stood by her miners in times of trouble and misfortune, once turning her Palace into a hospital after several hundred men became ill from drinking contaminated water. She nursed the men herself. Once when an attack by Indians appeared imminent, Julia chose to remain behind with the miners instead of seeking shelter in Carson City. Julia also raised funds for the Union cause during the American Civil War.

Julia's greatest triumph occurred when the firefighters made her an honorary member of Virginia Engine Number 1. On 4 July 1861, the firemen elected her the Queen of the Independence Day Parade, and she rode Engine Company Number One's fire truck through the town wearing a fireman's hat and carrying a brass fire trumpet filled with fresh roses, the firemen marching behind.

She donated large sums for new equipment and often personally lent a hand at working the water pump.


On the morning of January 20, 1867, Julia's partially nude body was found by her maid in her bedroom. She had been strangled and bludgeoned to death.

Virginia City went into mourning for her, with the mines, mills and saloons being closed down as a mark of respect. On the day of her funeral, January 21, thousands formed a procession of honor behind her black-plumed, glass-walled hearse; first the firemen, who were followed by the Nevada militia who played funeral dirges. Julia was buried in the Flower Hill Cemetery.

A little over a year later, Julia's murderer was caught and hanged for the crime. He was a French drifter whose name was John Millain; and on April 24, 1868 he went to the gallows, swearing he was not guilty of having killed Julia, but had been only an accomplice in the theft of her meager belongings. Millain's hanging was witnessed by author Mark Twain.


Julia's legend continued after her death. The Virginia and Truckee Railroad honored her memory by naming one of its richly furnished club coaches after her. Her portrait hung in many Virginia City saloons, and author Rex Beach immortalized her as Cherry Malotte in his novel, The Spoilers. Oscar Lewis in his book Silver Kings reported that Julia Bulette was written about more than any other woman of the Comstock Lode.

Only about two authentic portraits exist of Julia; one is a photograph which shows her standing beside an Engine Number 1 fireman's hat. A third photograph, previously identified as Julia Bulette, was most likely that of her maid, who was also named Julia.

In October 1959, an episode of the television series Bonanza titled "The Julia Bulette Story" featured the character of Julia, and showed Little Joe falling in love with her to the chagrin of his father. She was played by actress Jane Greer.

Lottie Deno from Wikapedia 

Carlotta J. Thompkins, also known as Lottie Deno (April 21, 1844 February 9, 1934), was a famous gambler in the US state of Texas during the nineteenth century known for her poker skills as well as her courage.

She was born in Kentucky and traveled a great deal in her early adulthood before coming to Texas. Much of her earlier life and even her real name at birth are a matter of debate among historians, but her fame as a poker-player in the Southwest is not. According to author Johnny Hughes, "In the late 1800s Texas' most famous poker player was Lottie Deno (shortened form of 'dinero' - Spanish for money)."

Early life

Carlotta J. Thompkins (her presumed real name) was born on April 21, 1844 in Warsaw, Kentucky. Her family was reportedly quite wealthy and her father, a racehorse breeder and prominent gambler, is said to have traveled extensively with Lottie, teaching her the secrets of winning at cards at some of the finest casinos. After her father's death in the Civil War, Lottie's mother sent her to Detroit to find a husband. She was accompanied by Mary Poindexter, her loyal slave and nanny. After running out of money in Detroit, Thompkins fell into a life of gambling, traveling the Mississippi River. Poindexter, reportedly seven-feet tall and formidable, acted as Thompkins' protector during their travels.

Gambling days in Texas

Lottie arrived in San Antonio in 1865. She became a house gambler at the University Club working for the Thurmond family from Georgia. It was during this time that she met and fell in love with Frank Thurmond, a fellow gambler.

After being accused of murder, Frank fled San Antonio and Lottie followed. The pair traveled for many years throughout the frontier areas of Texas, including Fort Concho, Jacksboro, San Angelo, Denison, Fort Worth, and Fort Griffin. Their travels occurred during a local economic boom on the Texas frontier as demand for bison hides spiked in the mid and late 1870s. Cowboys and traders flush with cash during the period became targets for gamblers in frontier communities. It was at Fort Griffin, where Lottie lingered for some time, that her notoriety and legend became most established. Fort Griffin, which was a frontier outpost west of Fort Worth near the Texas Panhandle, was known for its saloons and the rough element it attracted. Gaining fame as a gambler Lottie became associated with various old west personalities, including Doc Holliday.

During her travels she gained numerous nicknames. In San Antonio she was known as the "Angel of San Antonio." At Fort Concho she became known as "Mystic Maud." At Fort Griffin she was called "Queen of the Pasteboards" and "Lottie Deno." It was this last moniker by which she became best known. Her escapades during this period became part of the folklore of the American Wild West.

Later life

Lottie and Frank moved to Kingston, New Mexico, in 1877, where they ran a gambling room in the Victorio Hotel. Lottie later became the owner of the Broadway Restaurant in Silver City.

In 1880, Lottie and Frank were married in Silver City. In 1882 they moved to Deming, New Mexico, where they settled permanently and gave up their gambling life. They became upstanding citizens in the community, with Frank eventually becoming vice president of Deming National Bank and Lottie helping to found St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Lottie died on February 9, 1934 and was buried in Deming as Charlotte Thurmond.


Miss Kitty Russell, a character from the long-running American radio and television show Gunsmoke is based on Lottie Deno.

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