Hookers in History - The Story of Molly B’dam by Delilah Rae

Posted by Delilah Rae on July 18, 2018

 So those of you who’ve gotten the chance to get to know me are well aware that I am a HUGE history nerd and this blog is giving me to talk about my favorite historical figure- Molly B’dam. I love the lost stories of history and I love working in the field I work in. So I figured I would marry those loves and tell you about a famous sex worker.

So let’s talk about Hookers in History by introducing you all to Molly B’dam

Molly was born in 1853 on December 26th in Dublin, Ireland as Maggie Hall. She decided marriage and a life of servitude to a husband in Ireland wasn’t her thing. At age twenty she moved to America ready to try her luck. Sadly the luck of the Irish left her at the New York harbor and like many young Irish women of the time she was unable to find employment due to anti-Irish discrimination.

She became a barmaid in a place… well let’s just say the good church ladies of New York didn’t dine there. She quickly met a young man name Burdan who was enamored with her certain je ne se quoi. They were quickly married and promptly disowned by Burdan’s father.

Burdan’s father had the right idea about his son as he wanted nothing to do but lay around and gamble all day. Without Daddy’s money Burdan soon needed another way to pay off his gambling friends. He convinced Maggie to change her name to Molly and suggested she start sleeping with his debt collectors.

Maggie now Molly was a smart woman and soon realized she was the goose that laid the golden egg in her marriage. Rather than waiting for a smart witted giant killer to spirit her away she took off on her own and headed west. On the way to Idaho, dressed in her expensive furs and on her horse a blizzard struck up. Molly took a single woman traveling with her baby into an abandoned cabin on the trail. Wrapped in her furs the three travelers waited out the gale in relative safety and comfort. In the morning Molly set them back on the trail to Murray, Idaho.

The rest of the caravan had given them up for dead until Molly walked into town with the other woman and child on her horse. Greeting the surprised folks Molly promptly asked for the first cabin of the red light district (the madam’s cabin) and room and board for her friend.

With her Irish accent the townsman thought he heard her husband’s name as Molly B’dam. As a woman who fell from the mercy of the Catholic church in favor of making her own fortune the pseudonym may have been a blessing and a prophecy.

Her legend doesn’t stop there however! During a smallpox outbreak the good and godly citizens of the town hid in fear of catching the disease. Molly organized a town meeting, called them all cowards, and politely but efficiently demanded that the local hotel be turned over to her and her working ladies to be used as a hospital and would the healthy men of the town get off their asses and start burying the damn dead.

I doubt any of you will be surprised to find that the townsmen and women were properly cowed, shamed and behaved themselves. There’s an interesting side note of science and vaccines and germ theory in the fact that few if any of Molly’s working girls and Molly herself never contracted the smallpox disease. That, however, is another blog post for another day. It is suffice to say that Molly saved the town by implementing the common sense of quarantining the sick and properly disposing of the dead. Somehow the god fearing folk of the town hadn’t made it that far in their planning.

Molly was well known in the entire gold rush area for both her charity and her business savvy. She and her working girls routinely visited widows with gifts and food and clothing. She also visited men injured in mine accidents and would often offer up one of her cabins to families in need. She may have been excommunicated from the church but she held fast to her ideals of what it means to be a good person.

Molly’s legend did not end in her premature death. She contracted consumption or what we now know as tuberculosis. Apparently working yourself to exhaustion to help the town you live in is a bad idea. Note to self…

She has obviously not been forgotten since her tragically early death at 34. She is buried in the Murray town cemetery with a grave that reads “Sacred to life, Maggie Hall, Molly B’dam.” She is still referred to as the patron saint of Murray and the town celebrates the Molly B’dam Gold Rush Days every year.

One of my favorite Molly stories that I will leave you with today is that she once is said to have dragged a bathtub into the middle of the town street and informed the miners that if they filled it with gold dust she’d jump right in- wearing nothing but a promise and a smile.

The town of Murray currently has a population of 89 people. However part of the town, in one of the two original town buildings is the Spragpole Museum and Inn. In the museum there is a recreation of Molly’s bedroom. She’s been immortalized in song, in books and in oral legend. There is one surviving photo that is believed to belong to her but her visage is best remembered in her charity and her American grit.

I love this story because it shows the passion, kindness and savy that so many working girls still carry today. This is a lost story of history that continues to resonate with our world today. I tossed in a photo that is believed to be of Molly.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Blog about Hookers in History.

 

 

Love,

Delilah Rae

Delilah Rae

Delilah Rae

I am Currently a Sagebrush Ranch Starlet. We all have secrets and desires we want to share. Those little things we need in our lives that we haven’t quite found yet. We all want to touch, taste, feel and see all the world has to offer. Sadly, we are often limited in what we can explore in ourselves and others. Luckily all those taboos and limitations fall away when you enter my room. Secrets become shared experiences and every desire is chased after to completion.

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Delilah Rae

Author: Delilah Rae

I am Currently a Sagebrush Ranch Starlet. We all have secrets and desires we want to share. Those little things we need in our lives that we haven’t quite found yet. We all want to touch, taste, feel and see all the world has to offer. Sadly, we are often limited in what we can explore in ourselves and others. Luckily all those taboos and limitations fall away when you enter my room. Secrets become shared experiences and every desire is chased after to completion.

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