Monday, December 3, 2007

The Tarnished Lifestyle

In my current book, A Proper Romance, prostitutes play a major role. When my heroine first arrives in Timberton, Wyoming territory, to her horror she is mistaken as the new town prostitute. Two prostitutes also play an integral part in bringing Cal and Mattie together. I done alot of research on them and some of the stories I found were simply so entertaining, I wanted to share them with you.

My favorite story is about the infamous 'Queen of Sporting Row', or rather, the reaction to her death by both men and women. Julia Bulette arrived in Virginia City and sat it on it's heels. She used her popularity with the townsmen to have the red light district moved from the shanty filled C street to brand new cabins on D street, that the men built I am assuming. This, of course, infuriated the townswomen. Julia surrounded her cottage with roses and geraniums, much to the horror of the townswomen, because these were $10 a pot! She recieved regular deliveries from San Francisco's most exclusive furrier and diamond store. One smitten customer gifted her with a team of white horses and a brand new phaeton.

The men even made Julia a member of Virginia City Engine Company Number One, and Julia didn't care how infuriated the decent women of town got over that fact, she marched in every parade and showed up whenever the alarm sounded, much to the dismay of whatever man was currently sharing her bed.

Julia was murdered and robbed, and much to the disgust of the towns women, their men rounded up a posse and tracked down her murders. When one of them was brought back for trial, he had a really comfortable sentence, because the towns women regarded him as a hero and brought him fried chicken and homemade pies, much to the disgust of the towns men.

This story actually plays a small part in my wip. My hero, who is the town's founding father, has a finger in many of the town's businesses including, you guessed it, a saloon with 'working girls'. My heroine, who is applying for a teaching post, arrives on the same train as the new prostitute. When Mattie reaches the saloon and Cal Holton first, well, let's just say she never had a job interview quite like that one before. The saloon and the sporting girls are a big problem for them to overcome. Cal sees them as a way to make alot of money. Mattie sees it as a debasement of women.


Gillian Layne said...

Real life really is as bizarre as fiction!

Terry Stone said...

Gillian, when I first read about the women's actions, I had to check and make sure I was still on a research page! Of course, then I got tickled and started imagining things. You know how that goes.

doglady said...

I love reading your research, Terry Jo! I have learned so much about our national history that I never knew existed because of you! Keep reading!