The Search for a Mining Camp Legend
George Williams III
2nd Revised Edition
This intriguing book tells the story of Rosa May, who worked as a prostitute and madam in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s in wild western mining towns of Virginia City, Carson City and Bodie. In Virginia City Rosa May was in charge of Cad Thompson's parlor house, the Brick. In Carson City she was one of Mary Ann Phillip's prettiest girls. In Bodie she ran a thriving prostitution and gambling business with Ernest Marks. Rosa May died in Bodie while nursing sick miners. Despite her efforts to save lives, she was banished to Bodie's outcast cemetery.
On a trip to the ghost town of Bodies, now a California State Park, George Williams III discovered Rosa May's outcast grave. Deeply touched by the unfairness of Rosa May's life story, Williams began a three and a half year search for the details of her life. His research took him more than 20,000 miles through the back country of California and Nevada. He tracked down old-timers who had lived in Bodie and known Rosa May. He scoured courthouse records, county, state and federal records, and forty years of newspapers. Williams eventually discovered twenty-six of Rosa May's personal letters. Theses provocative letters unlock the story of Rosa May's legendary life.
This compelling story is one you won't forget, one you'll tell your friends about.
2012 reprint of this 1978 classic, 192 pages, 5.4" x 8.4", 24 black & white photos, 1 map. Published by Tree by the River Trust.
ISBN 978-0-935174-57-1. trade paper
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