Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Comstock Courtesan (Part 1)

Only recognized "official" photo of Julia Bulette
Courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society

Chapter 1. —- The Comstock Courtesan from "More Stories of the Forgotten" by J'aime Rubio. 
In the historic ghost town of Virginia City, Nevada, just about everyone you talk to knows the name Julia Bulette. Unfortunately, most people only know the legend and lore surrounding her story and haven’t truly dug deep enough to know all the details surrounding her life and death. I have been intrigued by the story of Julia Bulette ever since reading about her alleged murderer’s hanging in an article published in an old Chicago newspaper archive. Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain and undeniably the father of classic American literature, penned the very emotional account of his experience in Virginia City witnessing the public hanging of her convicted murderer, John Millian. It was his words that sparked an interest in learning more about her death, and inevitably, her life, too.  

Over the years there have been many authors and journalists who have tried to weave a fantastic yarn full of folklore surrounding Julia’s life and her death. With so many writers choosing to immortalize Julia with over the top lore, her true story has been lost in the mix. Over the course of many years I have sought answers to various questions regarding Julia’s true background as far as her name, her family roots and her hometown, besides digging into the story of her murder. After studious research, I believe I have put the pieces together, all the while debunking a lot of the fabricated information that unfortunately has been passed on as fact. This chapter will not only expose the over embellished stories told (or literally made up) about Julia, as well as state to you, the reader, the real facts that are known about Julia. I will also share with you the details surrounding her gruesome death, all followed by cited sources so that you can form an educated opinion regarding what you choose to believe.

Lack of Cited Sources!

One thing that I always say is “cite your sources!”  If you read a book, an interview, or even a blog about Julia’s story (or any other person in our past for that matter), if the writer does not cite their sources within the text, or list them at the bottom of the text then that is a red flag that there is usually some sort of  fabrication or false history being shared. If the factual documentation exists, why suppress it from the public? Why not share it with your readers so they can verify your findings for themselves? In this effort to find the truth about Julia Bulette’s life and death, I have found that many times previous authors did not cite their sources, leaving us left only to take their word for it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go for that! With that being said, I have gone to extra lengths with this chapter just to prove what I am sharing with you is factual and also to debunk and expose the false stories that have been fabricated about Julia’s life as previously told by other authors and historians who claim to know the real story of Julia Bulette. I will also dig even deeper to try to explain to you what I suspect are the origins behind some of these falsely told stories. I not only researched this story thoroughly, but I brought in several other genealogists and historians to do their own research on the subject, to have them double check or “fact check” my findings to make sure I left no stone unturned. All of my source citations will be in the back of the book, in the bibliography for reference purposes.

I encourage you to always research, research, research!! A real historical writer who has nothing to hide will gladly provide you with the tools for you to verify their findings for your own peace of mind so that you can come to your own conclusions yourself.

Debunking False History

First and foremost, the details regarding Julia’s early life prior to her arriving in Virginia City has never been proven or verified. There have been various authors over the years who claimed to have revealed her true identity and past history, but after diligently researching said claims I have debunked them entirely. 

So what claims are not backed up by real historical fact? Let me show you. For example, in the book, “Family Jules: The Life and Times of Julia C. Bulette,” author C.C. Haile claims that Julia was actually named Julia Goulette, from Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, and that she was a Quadroon (1/4 African-American).  The author never cites the documents or sources she used to come to her conclusions, but instead uses very vague references to her “extensive research” and weaves this story that Julia’s father’s family was from France and that her Creole background came from a black mistress with whom Julia’s paternal grandfather had children. This Creole mistress (who is unnamed) is allegedly the African-American whose bloodline she tries to tie to Julia.

The problem with this story is that there are no documents to prove such a story exists, nor does the connection to this specific family. For one, the people she names in her first few chapters cannot be tied to Julia Bulette in any way, shape or form whatsoever. Even the girl, Julia Goulette whom the author tries to say is our Julia, could not possibly be the same Julia from Virginia City for several reasons.  First, this Julia Goulette was listed in the 1850 Census for Morehouse Parish as a Mulatto, not a Quadroon. Her mother (who is not listed) was black, and her father, Louis Goulette, the same side of the family the author claimed carried black heritage, was actually listed as being Caucasian, as was his brother. So, just because this young girl had a similar sounding name and was born around the same time period as our Julia, that alone is not enough to tie to Julia Bulette. Unfortunately, this did not stop her from continuing to push this story.

I would also like to point out that there are no records to back up the early French “family history” of the Goulette, Boulette, Pulet, or Bulette family as told in that book.  In France, their census records didn’t have actual listed names for many years, just statistics, so there was no way the author could have discovered all that information with names, dates and births connecting Julia to that family as she claimed.

There’s more. When we get deeper into the theorized backstory, I found even more errors, or you could say contradictions. For one, the author claimed that Julia left Morehouse Parish with her half-uncle Jules Bullett (again another spelling variation of the surname; we will get to him a little later in this chapter), to live in New Orleans in 1848. It was there that he supposedly set her up in a house to be a prostitute. But how could that be when this particular Julia Goulette was still living with her father in Morehouse Parish in August of 1850, as listed in the census? The information just doesn’t add up.

More so, the author then claims that Julia left New Orleans to Chagres, Panama with her alleged cousin Paul Pulet aboard the vessel “Falcon” in March of 1850, crossing the Isthmus of Panama and then boarding the vessel “Northerner” where she allegedly arrived in in the port of San Francisco, May of 1850.  Again, there are too many errors here. 

First off, there is a record of a J. Billett boarding the “Falcon” but not with anyone else, and there is no record of this person being male or female. Secondly, there is no record of Julia arriving on the Northerner. In fact, the Northerner didn’t arrive to San Francisco until August of 1850, and she wasn’t listed on the passenger list, nor was she listed on any of the other lists I searched during that entire year. I found a record of a P. Poulet (notice the different spelling) traveling on the Falcon from New Orleans to Chagres two weeks after J. Billett, but again, he or she was alone and there are no records that prove either of these two people were related or even knew one another.

In my research to get to the bottom of this story, I asked three other genealogists to research Julia’s alleged backstory and to see if they came up with the same information as I did. I wanted to make sure that I really, thoroughly checked every possible lead. In all of the research I did, I have never found any concrete evidence that supports the “history” as told in Ms. Haile’s book.

As fun as it may seem to believe an embellished and entertaining story, there are no facts to back it up.  When it came to tying the Bulette name to Julia Goulette, the author went on to claim her half-uncle, Jules was the one who basically took her under his wing and put her on the path she ended up living later on in life, prostitution. The author also claims that Julia took the name Jules as a nickname after her uncle. But who was this person Jules?

The book “Family Jules” states that Jules Bulette arrived in the U.S. from Le Havre, France in 1837, on board the vessel Rubicon. Unfortunately, again, there are discrepancies we cannot ignore.  Genealogists Karen Ashworth, Amanda Trainor of “Digging up Roots,” and my friend and colleague, Shannon Bradley Byers, also known as the “Paranormal Genealogist,” all offered their help to confirm or debunk certain so-called facts or events as stated in the book. All three of them could not find any factual evidence to support any one of the events they were privately asked to research.

Case in point, Shannon was the first to discover the passenger list records for the Rubicon, which shows that a person named “Jules, Bullett” (Surname listed as Jules) was on board the vessel but was listed as a family member of P. Francois. She also found The National Archives abstract which also lists him as B. Jules, traveling with the family of P. Francois. Again, there is no proof that this person Bullett Jules or B. Jules was related to the Goulette family of Morehouse Parish, or our Julia Bulette.

The more we dug the more it became apparent that the story being pushed was not one of historical fact but instead historical fiction. As authors we are not supposed to weave a fantastic tale of an adventurous journey about a real person in history unless we have documented facts backed up by real sources to confirm these stories. Otherwise, it is only conjecture and nothing more. In the case of Julia Bulette, there just isn’t enough concrete information to state as a matter of fact how or when she arrived at the west coast, or what her early background was besides what the newspapers said at the time of her death (which we will get to later on).

I reached out to the author of “Family Jules” with numerous questions with the hope to get some sort of answers. Ms. Haile offered her explanation to me by email. Although her answers were very vague, she admitted that the book was never meant to be taken as a scholarly text and that she published her book to be for entertainment purposes. After looking into her background, I found on her own Amazon “Author’s Page” her biography literally says that “her focus of late is centered in tales of the Wild West - some true, some embellished, and some just figments of an unharnessed imagination.”

Let me make this very clear, Ms. Haile’s book is entertaining if you take it as a work of historical fiction, but it is in no way an historical or biographical book on the true life of Julia Bulette. If you enjoy romanticized novels much like Yellow Bird’s, ”Joaquin Murrieta”, then you would enjoy her book, but again, I advise you to take it all with a grain of salt.

The real bone I have to pick is with other writers, historians and reenactors who have been spreading this false history about Julia online, despite the fact that they have been called on it and asked to cite their sources. These so-called experts still choose to push this revisionist history without citing any sources, besides using Ms. Haile’s book as their “gospel” on Julia’s life.  That is wrong on so many levels, not only ethically, but is a complete disrespect to Julia Bulette’s real legacy because they are ignoring the facts in order to prop up a fantasy. This wouldn’t be the first time though. In fact, this has been happening far too often and for far too long, especially in Julia’s case.

After proving that Julia did not take the Falcon or the Northerner on her journey to California, and that she was not this Mulatto girl from Morehouse Parish, that leaves us with the questions, where did she come from? Who was the real Julia Bulette? And how did Julia get to the west coast? The answer, as disappointing as it may be is that there is no definitive answer. There just isn’t enough primary source documentation that proves Julia’s background beyond a shadow of a doubt. We cannot just search a historical record or index, pick a random name up out of a book and say, “that is the person I am looking for.”  

So where did all the false information come from? To get to the origins of some of Julia’s fabricated past, we will have to go back even further than Ms. Haile’s book. Back to earlier retellings of Julia Bulette’s story by earlier authors who decided to sensationalize this woman’s life so much, that the true history behind Julia Bulette’s life was lost to history, at least for a while. Thanks to other truth seekers like myself, over the years there have been a few other authors and journalists who have delved into the facts and tried their best to set the record straight, too. They will be mentioned within this book, as am a huge believer of giving credit where credit is due.  I will also be placing blame on the other authors, writers and historians who have chosen to take the low road and continued spreading these fabrications over the years, which in turn has forever changed the world’s opinion or belief of just who Julia Bulette actually was.

The Fabricators of History

Earlier authors such as Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg, along with others like Duncan Emrich, Oscar Lewis, Zeke Daniels (who was actually Effie Mona Mack) and George Lyman were the originators of sensationalizing or romanticizing Julia’s story and her background. They used what they could find in the newspapers at the time of her death and then over embellished, sensationalized and downright fabricated the rest of her story to the point it has been become legendary.

First, assumptions were made by Lucius Beebe that she might have been Creole, and later other authors (and even self-proclaimed historians) changed her ancestry from Creole to Mulatto without any form of cited sources or documentation. Then came more fabrications. From the over-the-top statements by both Duncan Emrich and Beebe that Julia lived in her “palace” and hosted dinner parties with fine French wines and the best delicacies for some of the town’s high society making her house the “cultural center,” to the grossest fabrication, that she rode around in a lacquered brougham carriage, that I might add, had a crest of four aces, crowned by a lion couchant which had been imported across the Isthmus of Panama, covered in her fantastic furs and jewels, the story just kept getting bigger and bigger!

Other stories have her nursing the sick and donating her money and time to help the community, as well as her well known generosity towards the fire department.  Nowhere is there any evidence of any of these conclusions these authors wrote in their books, yet they had no problem freely printing lies to push as fact. No, Julia was not Mulatto, or Creole, and there has never been any sort of documentation to suggest this besides an author’s wild ideas.

As one of the few writers to successfully debunk the whole mixed-race or Creole theory, Susan James put it, “So little was known about her life that her attributes could be greatly enhanced without fear of contradiction…writers speculated about Julia’s ancestry. The fact that she might have lived in Louisiana was all they needed to transform the fair-skinned Englishwoman into an enticing New Orleans Creole. Exotic beauty was not among Julia’s assets, but it didn’t hurt to stretch the truth a bit.” 

As far as Julia having hosted fancy dinners at her home, that is also a farce.  Her cottage consisted of just two small rooms with no in-door bathroom or kitchen. In fact, Julia depended on a neighbor, Gertrude to provide her with food, because she had no way of cooking it at her house. She did not live lavishly with fine furs, diamonds and extravagant carriages. She had some nice clothes and some jewelry, she also had a few decent pieces of furniture, but that was it. Her estate appraised for $517.00, and at auction it sold for $875.41. Her debts exceeded her assets, which totaled $790.00, plus $291.00 in legal fees. Facts don’t lie, and the facts show that Julia was a poor prostitute living just one step above squalor, and one who died in debt.

Yes, she was known for her association with the fire department, and the newspaper did mention her generosity of helping out at times during a fire, but the story that she nursed the sick, or that she stuck with the menfolk when there was a threat of an Indian raid, did not take place because those events took place long before the Comstock had gained notoriety, and long before Julia had moved to Virginia City, and that has been proven by other writers over the years as well.

What bothers me to no end is the fact that so much of the sensationalism written about Julia has been quoted over and over in one book after another, virtually sealing her legend in stone. The book, “The Old West: The Miners” which was one of a series of Time-Life books circulated in 1976, carried on the tradition of pushing fabrication over fact in its brief write up on Julia’s life. Stating adamantly that she was “so bewitching that she could command prices as high as $1,000.00 a night for her company. She served fine wines and a delightful French cuisine, and almost daily adorned her house with fresh flowers rushed from the Coast by the Wells, Fargo and Company express.” The lies don’t stop there. “When hundreds of miners became ill from drinking polluted water Julia turned her house into a hospital and herself into a nurse.”   

The fact of the matter here is that none of these things ever happened and there is not one piece of documentation to prove that they did. My dear friend and historian, Kent Spottswood once told me, “It’s not a matter of making up a theory and saying prove me wrong.”  We are supposed to record and preserve history as told by documented facts, not what we wish the history to be. In the case of Julia Bulette, that seems to be the case, that a majority of writers and historians have chosen to over embellish or downright create a legend since her death, and they expect us to believe their “theories” as fact.

Thankfully, because of other truth-seekers like myself, there have been a few journalists, authors and historians over the years who have uncovered the facts surrounding Julia’s life to the best of their abilities, such as former Nevada State Archivist and author, Guy Rocha. Another such truth seeker, Susan James, wrote a fantastic piece, “Queen of Tarts,” in Nevada Magazine (October 1984). I tracked down a copy of the publication on eBay for my own personal records during my research for this chapter and was so impressed to see that she came to the same conclusions that I did.

Not only does James debunk most of the information I have mentioned earlier in this chapter, she also covers the infamous “imposter” photo that I also cover within this chapter. Another pair of writers who did their best to debunk a lot of the false information spread about Julia, are Vardis Fisher & Opal Holmes in their book, “Gold Rushes & Mining Camps of the Early American West,” in which they set out to completely debunk Duncan Emrich and Lucius Beebe’s highly sensationalized retelling of the story.

Going back to the subject of the “imposter” photo, according to my research it seems that this photo first appeared at the Bucket of Blood Saloon back when the McBride’s owned it. Where or when they acquired the photograph is unknown, but it has been stated that the McBride’s hung it in their business to attract tourists Over the years self-proclaimed historians have used this photo as a means to concoct their “Mulatto” theory, claiming that this photo is proof that Julia Bulette was of mixed race. This story has been spread far and wide, ending up in books and even on Find-a-grave.  But that photo is not Julia. 

"Imposter" photo (NOT Julia!)
Courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society

I contacted the Nevada State Archives about the photo in question, and they referred me to the Nevada Historical Society. After speaking with one of their curators, Sheryln Hayes-Zorn, she confirmed with me that the photo in question is not Julia Bulette. In fact, she also went on to mention that the photo, which shows a woman with darker skin and frizzy bangs, can be dated to the 1880’s, given the fashion and hairstyle. Julia Bulette was murdered in 1867, so the dating of the photo alone is proof enough that is not our Julia. Sheryln did confirm that the well-known carte-de-visite of Julia Bulette standing in the Sutterley Brothers portrait studio next to a fireman’s hat in the dark dress is the only recognized photograph of Julia Bulette.

In my quest to fix this terrible mess that has been spread for too long, I reached out to the contributor on Find-a-grave who manages Julia’s memorial and had posted the false photo. Like others, she too had spoken to an old timer who claimed to have “knowledge” about Julia. In the end he went with the false stories that had been started by the McBride’s so many decades ago. Despite my best efforts to convince the contributor that she had posted the wrong photograph, and even after sharing with her the confirmation of my findings that I received from the Nevada Historical Society, she still refused to remove the photo. I then had to go around her and wrote Find-a-grave personally, sending them proof, and thankfully they removed the false photo.

It doesn’t end there. I also wrote several bloggers, writers and even a local Nevada Chautauquan who claims to be an expert on Julia’s life. First, I asked them where they got their information from and if they would mind sharing their sources. Some never responded to my email, and the Chautauquan gave a very vague description of her sources, which in the end turned out the only research she had done was reading C.C. Haile’s book, (the one I proved earlier is not actually historically accurate). After seeing that she didn’t really do her research thoroughly, I tried to convince her that the information she had been sharing on tours or online was not accurate, and after offering to share with her the factual history that I have uncovered, all I received back was a very haughty response and a complete unwillingness to accept facts over her own feelings.

I reached out to another blogger who interviewed this “expert” and I explained to her that we owe the dead nothing but the truth, and it is our responsibility to get the history right, and that the information she was sharing on her site was erroneous. And her response? Basically, that she believed the woman she had interviewed, and she didn’t have any doubts about the authenticity of her research despite not having any cited sources back up her claims.It was disappointing to see so many people unwilling to accept that they had incorrect information that needed to be fixed. Sometimes in our life, we may have wrong information about a certain person, place or thing, and unknowingly we tell that wrong information. But, if after finding the correct information, we do not swallow our pride and fix these mistakes, how are we any different than history revisionists?

In the end, I learned that these people really do not care about telling or sharing Julia’s true story, they just pretend to care.  The sad fact is that most people today who claim to care about our history really have little interest in whether they tell it correctly or not. It ends up being all about the notoriety they receive about the subject they are sharing, instead of about sharing the facts.

So, now that I have cleared up all the fakelore that surrounds Julia’s early years, now I can finally share with you the rest of her story! ----TO READ THE CONCLUSION OF THIS CHAPTER, PLEASE PICK UP A COPY OF "More Stories of the Forgotten" on Amazon today! 

 (COPYRIGHT 2019, ISBN-13:  978-1979454049, J'aime Rubio,

Thank you to the Nevada Historical Society for photo permissions.

Mark Twain’s letter to the Chicago Republican, May 2, 1868 (Published 5/31/1868); From the Journals of Alfred Doten, 1849-1903, a letter to the Plymouth Rock, 7/22/1867; “The Life and Confession of John Millian” by Charles De Long, 1868; “A History of the Exempt Virginia Fireman’s Association Cemetery”, by Steve Frady (1980-87); “Mercantile Guide & Directory for Virginia City, Gold Hill, Silver City, and American City,” compiled by Charles Collins, 1864-1865; 1850 United States Census, Morehouse Parish, Louisiana; National Archives; New Orleans Passenger Lists & Manifests; California Bound, The Daily Picayune, 3/16/1850; Maritime Heritage Project, Ship Passengers: 1846-1849; Papers Concerning the Estate of Julia Bulette, Storey County Courthouse, 1867-1868; Virginia City Trespass: 5/24/1867; Virginia Daily Union: 1/21/1867; Gold Hill News: 1/21/1867, 1/22/1867, 5/24/1867, 5/25/1867, 5/31/1867, 6/26/1867, 1/7/1868, 2/27/1868; Daily Alta California: 5/28/1867, 5/30/1867,4/28/1868; Twain Project, Fred Gooltz; Information cited regarding Guy Louis Rocha, former Nevada State Archivist’s research in “The Mythical West: An Encyclopedia of Legend, Lore and Popular Culture” by Richard Slatta; “Queen of Tarts,” by Susan James in Nevada Magazine, Sept/Oct 1984, No, 5 (pages 51-53); Nevada State Library Archives; Nevada Historical Society, courtesy of Sheryln Hayes-Zorn; “Gold Diggers & Silver Mines, Prostitution and Social Life on the Comstock Lode,” by Marion S. Goldman; “Gold Rush & Mining Camps of the Early American West,” by Vardis Fischer & Opal Holmes; “Legend of Julia Bulette and the Red Light Ladies of Nevada,” by Douglas McDonald, 1980; “Bawdy House Girls: A Look at the Brothels of the Old West,” by Alton Pryor; “Uncovering Nevada’s Past: A Primary Source History of the Silver State,” by John Bevis Reid & Ronald Michael James; “A Hike to the Location of Julia Bulette’s Gravesite, East of Virginia City, Nevada,” by Neil Mishalov.

Disclaimer: The additional sources cited below  for Chapter One are for reference purposes ONLY! These publications listed below are examples of historical revisionism and/or over-embellishments of Julia Bulette’s story:  

Family Jules: The Life and Times of Julia C. Bulette,” by C.C. Haile; The Old West: The Miners, Time-Life, 1976; “Legends of the Comstock Lode,” by Lucius Beebe & Charles Clegg; “Julia Bulette: The Comstock’s First Cyprian,” by Lucius Beebe & edited by Charles Clegg and Duncan Emrich; “Life and Death of Julia Bulette: Queen of the Red Lights,” by Zeke Daniels (Effie Mona Mack); “Silver Kings,” Oscar Lewis; “The Saga of the Comstock Lode: Boom Days in Virginia City,” by George Lymon, 1934; “Immoral Queens of the Red Light District,”- by Marla Kiley, True West Magazine, 7/1997; “Julia Bulette, There’s More To Her Story,” by Karen Dustman, Clairitage Press Blog.

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Curse of The Harrisville Farmhouse - Ghost Adventures Lies Again!

For those of you who know me and read my work, you know I am not a fan of Ghost Adventures' methods in which they promote historic locations. Don't get me wrong, they go to some amazing places, but I just do not agree with their work itself. Let's be honest, Zak Bagans and his team have made a fortune by visiting historic locations said to be "haunted" and they either over embellish the history there or completely make up stories to fit their agenda perpetuating the place to be in fact haunted. Not every historic location has some evil events that transpired there. Not every place has some horrific tragedy tied to it either.

I am a firm believer that when you do something, you do it right. Therefore, when I took on the task of sharing the true history of the Old Brook Farm or Old Arnold Estate in Burrillville (Harrisville), Rhode Island, I did extensive research to make sure I was telling the facts, not fiction. Like many of you, I had watched "The Conjuring," and was taken aback when I saw that the filmmakers were trying to claim the story was based on true events. I knew better. Hollywood is notorious for stretching the truth to make a movie more entertaining, but in this case, they didn't just stretch the truth, they threw the truth out the window and "conjured" up their own fantasy instead.

After the movie came out, everyone jumped on the bandwagon writing articles about the history of the property, 99% of which were all erroneously reported. Only a few decent writers, such as Kent Spottswood, Shannon Bradley Byers and myself came out with our own thoroughly researched investigation on the property's history as well as Bathsheba Sherman's true story, which deflated all the claims that the Perron and the Warren family have tried to claim for the past 40 odd years in regards to the history of the home.

The 2019 Halloween Special that aired on Halloween night on the Travel Channel would prove to be just like all the other other Ghost Adventures episodes, full of incorrect information and flat out lies, not to mention really bad acting. The sad part of it all is that Ghost Adventures had every capability and opportunity to research and share the true facts about the estate to stand apart from other programs and paranormal investigators, to prove once and for all on a national platform that the folklore doesn't fit the facts. But then it wouldn't be as interesting to the world now would it? So they didn't share the truth, but instead they went along with all the others pushing the same false history.

Ghost Adventures wasn't the only television program pushing the B.S. story line about the house that night either. The program that aired just before that episode was "Most Terrifying Places" where of course, the #1 spot on their list was the Harrisville Farmhouse in Rhode Island. In that program two people were interviewed,  Dan Rivera and of course, Tony Spera (Ed and Lorraine Warren's son-in-law) who should really know better!

What I find almost comical is that in both television programs, "Ghost Adventures Halloween Special: The Curse of the Harrisville Farmhouse" and "Most Terrifying Places," they all use the same regurgitated story, over and over. If they had done a quick search on Google it isn't difficult to find my blog which I published over 5 years ago, stating factual documentation that completely debunks all these stories. Not to mention, my book where I have gone even more in-depth on Bathsheba's story as well as debunking the other deaths that have been erroneously tied to the property.  Personally, I am getting tired of these paranormal shows continuing to jump on this "Conjuring" bandwagon and perpetuating false stories that have no basis in fact.

With the Ghost Adventures episode they open up their show with a list of people who allegedly died on the property. Let me make this very clear, there is a record that Sally Eddy died with her two children from Typhus at the home, and I am sure other relatives in the Arnold family had natural deaths that did occur at the home.

But there were no murders, suicides, drownings, none! That makes a huge difference.

For the record, Susan Arnold did not kill herself on the property at all. This is a lie.

Susan Arnold lived in another house in town, she did not live at the Arnold Estate on Round Top Road. Did she kill herself? Yes, but again, not at the property.

Did John Arnold kill himself there?

No. He died at his house near Tarkiln which is a good 15 minute drive from the farmhouse. Did he kill himself? Yes, but again, it was not on this property.

Was Prudence Arnold murdered by William Knowlton at the property as told by Lorraine Warren?

No. Prudence was killed at a house in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, again, not the Arnold Estate.

What about Jarvis Smith?

He did die on the property but on the outskirts of the Arnold's land, after being exposed to the elements while extremely drunk. His death was considered to be from natural causes, not foul play or suicide.

And lastly, poor Bathsheba Sherman, who just cannot get a break!

Did Bathsheba Sherman work on the Arnold property?


Did Bathsheba live on the property?


Was she ever accused of or rumored to have killed an child or infant during her lifetime?


Was she ever accused of or rumored to have been a witch, or descended of witches?


Did she kill herself?


Did someone make up a completely false narrative surrounding Bathsheba Sherman to create some sort of scary ghost story to attach to the old Arnold Estate?

Yes. But the question remains, whose wild imagination concocted this terrible and slanderous story?

Although I believe Lorraine Warren used her "celebrity" status back in the 1970's and 1980's to bring attention to this story, I am still unsure if she actually made this story up on her own, or with the help of others.  No matter who started this horrific story, I have to place some blame on Andrea Perron for continuing to allow Bathsheba's name to be continuously slandered over and over. She could have stepped up to the plate and corrected people, but she didn't. The odd thing though is when I mentioned on my original blog "The Real Bathsheba Sherman: True History Vs. Conjured Fiction" back in 2014, of all the terrible things Andrea had written about Bathsheba in her book, "House of Darkness, House of Light, " she emailed me and backpedaled, blaming Lorraine Warren for causing all the slander against Bathsheba.

An excerpt of her email she sent me via my website on Tuesday, July 5, 2016:

"The Conjuring" and the Warren files did a huge disservice to Bathsheba's memory and I had no control over how she was represented and vilified in the film but I will always defend her because I do not believe she was guilty of what she has been accused of by Lorraine Warren...and I never did. "House of Darkness House of Light" is a chronicle of the events which occurred during the decade my family spent in the house and it includes the tales we were told by the locals at the time, including the town historian. I would be happy to address the discrepancies in the story with you personally at any time, as I respect the effort you have made to clarity the actual history -- fact vs. fiction -- but what happened in that house to our family is a fact which cannot be denied...."-- (email web form submission to
From: Andrea Perron

Comparing the email in 2016 to her stance today, you would never know that Andrea would want to defend Bathsheba by the looks of her interview on Ghost Adventures, because she continued to push the same old stories once again, and I saw it with my own eyes. Andrea wasn't the only one on my radar that night. Bill Brock, another self-proclaimed paranormal investigator, was interviewed by Zak and he along with the new owners gave their "experiences" since having stayed at the house.

Let's make this clear. As soon as this house hit the market the people who ultimately purchased the home were like flies on manure trying to get at it. It is obvious that they were not interested in the historical value of the property nor were they interested in it being a good home for their family. Did you notice the furnishings in the home? It doesn't even look like it is being currently lived in. It looks like it was staged with old furniture, decor and even old dolls and a Ouija board.

I attempted to reach out to the new owners back when they first "moved" into the home last summer, and I told them straight out that I had hoped they were really interested in preserving the true history of the home, not exploiting it. I also very generously gave them a copy of my chapter in my book, "Stories of the Forgotten: Infamous, Famous & Unremembered,"  which went in-depth into the history of the home as well as my debunking of the Bathsheba Sherman folklore, so that if they hadn't been privy to the facts before, they couldn't say that they didn't know about it now. I was hoping they would accept the truth about the home and want to correct the false stories, so that the true history of the home could be preserved and shared.

I had truly hoped for my correspondence to be well received. I did mention that I would continue to do my part to expose the truth even if others continued to push the false history of the home. As a historical journalist that is what I do. I have something that most people seem to be lacking; integrity.

Well, Mr. Bill Brock, the one I mentioned earlier, got a hold of the letter I sent the owners and he wrote the expletive ("FUCK OFF!") on my letter, took a photo of it and sent it to me on Facebook, immediately blocking me afterwards so I couldn't respond to him.  It was quite surprising to say the least since I don't know the guy to begin with, and it just seemed odd to me that he'd go out of his way to find me on social media to send me that. The only thing I figure is that maybe he felt I was throwing a wrench in his little effort to make some money off of the property's false history, and since I am shining a spotlight on the truth, I stood in his way? What else could it be? Why get mad at someone for sending you the truth about the property?

So, I guess once the owners found out what Mr. Brock did, in order to perform some sort of damage control, the owner wrote to me and apologized for his friends' actions. Not sure how sincere that was, but I was happy to accept his apology. Again, I won't hold it against the owner for what Mr. Brock did, but I am disappointed that the Heinzen's actions moving forward proved what I suspected that they'd do from the very beginning; exploit the home's history by jumping on the "Conjuring" bandwagon with Andrea Perron and the other paranormal investigators who were chomping at the bit to film there. Actions speak louder than words.

Going back to the show, they interviewed a police officer from Harrisville/Burrillville, who insinuated that the former owners (Norma Sutcliffe) had made many 911 calls for "mysterious illnesses" which was utterly ridiculous, not to mention a violation of his ethics as a officer of the law who is supposed to serve and protect, which also means protect their citizens personal information. For one, the former owners did not make many 911 calls, and the few that were made were for serious health matters which had nothing to do with ghosts or curses. The police officer should be ashamed of himself for perpetuating such nonsense. I have since contacted the Burrillville Police Department about the matter and I suggested that the officer owes Norma Sutcliffe a public apology, and that he needs to stick to his day job, not moonlighting on paranormal shows.

The program was a train-wreck in my opinion, with talk of demons moving hangers in the closet, to jumping to conclusions about alternate dimensions and other nonsense. Look, I believe in a spirit realm and I have even experienced real paranormal events in my lifetime, but people who actually experience things on a regular basis just don't get scared that easy. I know from experience. The show seemed like some sort of comedy gone wrong.  I felt like I was watching children playing with flashlights in the dark scaring each other because of noises and shadows that the other was hearing or seeing. It was really difficult to keep watching.

In the end, thousands of gullible people who worship Zak Bagans and his team were satisfied with his television performance, while all the rest of us shook our heads at the whole thing. What upset me the most was the fact that no one at any point in time wanted to take the moment in front of a national audience and say "wait a minute, the stories about the Arnold's, the story about Bathsheba, all of that was wrong. It's false. Let's get that straightened out for the record." But that was not done.

Whether the Perron family had any sort of paranormal experiences when they lived in the home is not for me to argue either way. This has always been about my defending the real history of the home and debunking the folklore surrounding it.  One thing is clear, there was never any sort of rumors about Bathsheba Sherman or any sort of dark stories about the Arnold's until the the 1970's. If you don't believe me, do some research for yourself.

So in ending, all the "history" that Zak tried to claim about the home is all untrue. The Arnold family was not cursed. The farmhouse is not cursed. Bathsheba Sherman didn't have any ties to that house either, no matter what Andrea Perron tries to claim. I wish people would wise up and see the truth about this story. There is an innocent old woman laying in her grave, a grave that has been vandalized over and over by ignorant people who believe all the false ghost stories, people who blindly believed she was an evil witch who murdered babies. This poor woman has been slandered in death so viciously and she has had no one to speak for her for all these years, until now. And for as long as there is air in my lungs I promise you that I will be defending Bathsheba Sherman and her real life, and I will do all I can to expose those who continue to push the false narrative that has been spread like a disease.

You see, I believe we owe the dead nothing but the truth, so making big bucks to be a sell-out like Ghost Adventures does, just doesn't interest me. Instead, I would rather set the record straight even if I don't make a dime from my research, because I actually care about sharing the truth with the world.

For more information on the story of old Arnold Estate and Bathsheba Sherman please check out my blog where you can read the chapter from my book "Stories of the Forgotten: Infamous, Famous & Unremembered,"  for FREE here:  BATHSHEBA SHERMAN'S VINDICATION 

(Copyright - 2019 - J'aime Rubio,

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Account of Jennie Bowman -- Louisville, Kentucky History

"Walking through Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, you might stumble upon the grave of Jennie Bowman.  The modest monument that sits at her burial plot reads: “Public Recognition of the Heroism of Jennie Bowman, 1863-1887, Faithful To Her Trust Even To Her Death.”  You wouldn’t know by looking at that grave what a horrible ordeal this young lady had been through just before death, but now you will, because I am going to tell you her story so that she will no longer be one of the forgotten.

“The grave of Jennie Bowman will not be a nameless or forgotten one. It will be a humble but proud and sacred shrine, where may shall kindle the holy fires of love and duty. God’s angels watch it with sleepless vigil, and when the glad morning comes that wakes the dead, she, with all who have lived and died for duty and for right, will march into the city that hath no danger, no pain, no tears.” --- Rev. Waltz  

Those words were spoken at Jennie’s funeral on May 10, 1887, at the First English Lutheran Church on Broadway. Crowds of citizens from the city gathered to pay their respects as well as friends and family who were in attendance. Her employer, A.Y. Johnson & his family, who paid for the lot where she was buried, were also there grieving the loss of their beloved housekeeper. 

So, what sort of disastrous event took the life of this young lady? Just before noon on Thursday, April 22, 1887, Jennie Bowman was attacked during an attempted robbery while in the house of her employer at 1522 Brook Street. She was beaten so badly that she lay in a semi-conscious state, lingering between life and death, and suffering in agony for nearly two weeks before ultimately passing away.

Mr. Johnson’s children discovered the ghastly sight upstairs in the sitting room upon arriving home that day with their mother. Jennie, while in and out of consciousness, was able to provide a description of what happened that day, and what her assailant(s) looked like. She claimed that while she was washing glasses, she had heard a noise at the side door, so she went to see what it was. Upon opening the door, she was confronted by a large, black man with a mustache who asked to speak to Mrs. Johnson.

After Jennie explained that she was not home, he pushed his way into the home and locked the door behind him. It was then that he started demanding to know where all the valuables were in the house. After she told him there weren’t any valuables, he grabbed her by the arm with the intent to hit her. She used her other arm to swing the glass at him, breaking the glass on his head.  She tried to get away from him but he attacked her. Grabbing a large poker from the fireplace, he proceeded to hit her in the head with it. At that point, she was in and out of consciousness but remembered him dragging her up the stairs to the sitting room.

When she was somewhat awake again he began his interrogation about the valuables in the house once more. She told him again that there wasn’t any, and he again started to hit her. She said that she tried to get up and fight him, and they both ended up wrestling on the floor as she tried her best to fight off her attacker. Again, he managed to crack her in the head again, this time multiple times with the poker. He then gagged her with a wet towel (presumably the towel had been using to dry the dishes with) so she could not scream.

 She was incapacitated, but could see that he was ransacking the room. He went to the wardrobe and removed a coat and vest and proceeded to start putting it on when the voices of Mr. Johnson’s children coming home surprised him. They were outside in the back yard, and were on their way into the house. He dropped the coat and vest and ran out of the room. Jennie assumed he ran out the front door and escaped. From the very beginning she had mentioned the robber, but during bouts of hysteria and delusions she mentioned not just one, but two men were there. The police began a man hunt for the suspect or suspects that could have committed such an heinous act on a young woman. Soon all the police were on high alert.

           After hearing about the horrible attack on Jennie Bowman, Mary Brannin, a local in Louisville, approached Officer Strohman and told him that she had suspected that a laborer that she had spoken to about having some work done on her house might be the suspect. She claimed that when she went to Albert Turner’s residence to inquire about his services that he came to the door with a big gash on his head and a cut hand. He looked like he had been in a terrible fight and remembering hearing about Jennie’s attack and how she had managed to inflict an injury on his head, she was concerned this might be their man.

           Officer Strohman tracked Turner down to his home on the east side of Century Street between Green and Walnut around 6 p.m. According to Strohman, he found Turner in bed with a young man. Turner had wounds on his face and hands, and found in his room were handkerchiefs and stockings that belonged to A.Y. Johnson. He was immediately arrested and taken down to the jailhouse. They soon after arrested the other suspect, William Patterson.

           Albert Turner, 26, was a known hoodlum in the area. He had previous arrests for beating women and was a suspect in the robbing and beating of a lottery agent for $300.00 just four years prior (1883), but authorities didn’t have enough evidence to convict him of it. All in all, he didn’t have the rap sheet that his counterpart Patterson did.

           Patterson, a known criminal with quite the record, had spent two years in the penitentiary on a larceny charge, in which he pleaded guilty, for stealing a gold watch back in 1876. Then ten months after being incarcerated, he managed to escape. After he was captured and finished his original sentence, he was caught again in 1879 for stealing cattle, which he pleaded guilty to again. He served a year for that conviction, only to be arrested again in 1883 for burglary and larceny, which he served more time. On January 8, 1887 he was released from prison and only few months later he was taken in on suspicion that he was involved in the attack on Jennie Bowman.

          During their separate interrogations by the police, each had their own stories to tell. Patterson said he didn’t know Jennie Bowman, was not involved in any way and refused to speak about the crime further. Turner squealed like a pig the first chance he had, and of course he pointed the finger at Patterson, at least for the more gruesome parts. According to Turner’s confession, he claimed that he was passing the Johnson residence when he saw another “negro” sitting on a carriage mount in front of the house. The man, who Turner claims was a stranger to him, slapped him on his back and asked if he wanted to “make some money.” The man, who later identified himself to Turner as “Bill Patterson” told him that the occupants of the home were gone, that he had watched them leave the house, so he was planning on breaking in and robbing the household. 

          Turner claimed that he didn’t want to be involved, but after Patterson’s insistence he gave in. Again, remember, this is Turner’s claim. It doesn’t mean it’s 100% accurate. As his story went on, he claimed that upon entering the house, Patterson went upstairs and he remained on the bottom level where he was confronted by a woman. Turner claimed she struck him in the face with a glass that broke in half over his head. He cut his hand trying to get it out of her grasp and she bit his thumb down to the bone. While in this life or death struggle, Turner grabbed a poker from the fireplace and cracked her over the head with it three times, rendering her unconscious.

         “Patterson heard the struggle downstairs. He saw the woman, and we both picked her up from the floor, he at the feet, I at the head, and we carried her upstairs. We placed her on the bed. Patterson said ‘What are you going to do with her?’ I replied, ‘ Lock her up so we can rob the house.’ Patterson replied, ‘No, let’s do her up.’ He then picked up a poker from the fireplace about a foot longer and several pounds heavier than the one I had used, and struck her a fearful blow on the top of her head. The body writhed and blood flowed from her mouth and nostrils. Patterson then jumped on the bed and kicked the woman seven times: three times in the stomach, and two on the side, and two on the head, one of which broke her jawbone.”

          Turner went on to claim that Patterson had intended to rape Jennie, but that he “prevented” him from doing so. Again, it is hard to believe everything Turner says, but it is also hard to ignore that some parts of his story matches Jennie’s statement. So, we know Turner had attacked Jennie. Just who struck her with that fatal blow would be impossible to determine at this point. Jennie claimed at first she remembered the one man, but during bouts of consciousness she was able to recall other things, including the fact there were two men in the house that day.

          When Turner was in the presence of Chief Whallen, around the time that a large mob of people were assembling outside of the jail, he begged Chief Whallen for his protection from the angry mob. Thousands of people assembled outside, and at one point it looked as if the jail would be overrun by a mob out to lynch Turner.The Chief had all of his police force on duty for 48 hours (non-stop) and even sought out the help of the Louisville Light Infantry, which was an independent militia, to keep order in town. By 10 p.m. 200 men marched on the jail carrying poles, at that time 50 people were arrested and by morning 300 had been charged with disorderly conduct.

          Because of the threat of a lynch mob getting their hands on Turner before he could be tried and convicted in a court of law, the Chief decided to remove his prisoner to another location. At the same time, the other suspect, William Patterson was being held in the jail for suspicion of the same crime. Based on Turner’s confession, it was assumed that he aided in the crime. At that point, both inmates would have to be moved out of Louisville, separately without seeing the other. 

          Authorities banded together and climbed into the wagon with Turner in tow, bound for the train station. I don’t know about you but this scenario reminded me of a scene from the movie 3:10 to Yuma, and I could not help but imagine the tension of that moment was probably so thick, and the fear of what could go wrong was probably overwhelming, but the police went out anyway determined to get their prisoner on the train to Frankfort. While they rolled their way across town, a guard posted in the intersection at 6th Street covered them with a Gatling gun to see that they made it out of town without issue.  Another wagon, with Patterson in it, soon followed bound for the train.

           While on the train, at the stop in La Grange, Patterson asked to use the bathroom. As one of the officers was escorting him there, he made an attempt to escape out the coach door. Apparently since Patterson had been in prison before he didn’t plan on going back. His little attempt for freedom was short lived though, and the officer managed to subdue him and get him to the jail in Frankfort in one piece. During their attempt to see if Turner could positively single out Patterson as his accomplice, additional black citizens of the community in Frankfort, where the suspects were being held, were brought in. This was done because Patterson claimed he had nothing to do with the attack and didn’t even know Turner.

            “The Frankfort colored men who were taken into the jail to confuse Turner, if possible, in his identification of Patterson, were heard to express their belief in the guilt of Patterson, and asserted that both criminals deserved death.”

            After creating a line-up with several other black males, Turner was then brought out to identify his accomplice. As he walked past two of the men, he stopped at the third and placed his hand on Patterson’s shoulder and said: “This is the man I met on the carriage stone, and the one who struck the woman last and wanted to outrage her.”

            It became very obvious that Patterson became unnerved and immediately yelled out: “I am innocent, as God is my judge, and I have got to die, and I know it. If that poor young lady was here, she would tell you that she never saw me.” “No,” replied Turner, “She was insensible when you carried her upstairs and tried to kill her.”  “Albert, you know I am innocent,” Patterson exclaimed. "You are trying to make me die to cover up your crime. I had nothing to do with it. You are lying on me and trying to put my neck in the gallows. You and I both will be tried for our lives, and you know I am innocent.”

             At that point Turner told Chief Whallen to examine Patterson’s body and in doing so they would find blood from Jennie under his clothes. After stripping him down, they indeed found dried blood on him just as Turner claimed.  This was when Patterson said he would murder Turner right then and there for throwing his life away, and that was when he sprang up and reached to put his hands around Turner’s neck, strangling him. It took nearly six officers to break up the two men and take them back to their separate cells.

           According to the newspapers of the time, Patterson had more than the arrest record I mentioned earlier. In fact, he had attempted to murder a policeman more than once, and back in 1880 while on trial he jumped from the dock in the City Courtroom and tried to stab a station keeper in Sinkhorn. On another occasion, he vandalized a restaurant.  As an officer was attempting to arrest him, Patterson tried to swing a meat knife at him and he had to be clubbed until he was subdued.

            All this time Jennie was wasting away in bed at the Johnson’s home, with family and friends keeping vigil at her bedside for nearly two weeks, hoping and praying that she would recover from these horrific injuries, but that was not to be the case. On May 9, 1887, Jennie passed away. Immediately, the Coroner made plans to examine her body to determine which injuries caused her death.

            Coroner Miller, assisted by physicians Dr. Berry, Robert and Hoskins, all determined that the right side of Jennie’s brain, near the base of her skull had a large blood clot, 4 ounces in weight. The inflammation of the brain was throughout the entire skull. They made the conclusion that had Jennie recovered physically from her injuries, her brain damage was so severe that she would have had to be kept in an asylum for the rest of her life.

            Meanwhile in jail, Turner and Patterson were getting mixed reactions from citizens. Besides the thousands of people who wanted to lynch them in Louisville, there were sympathetic people who came out of the woodwork. The newspaper stated “In the minds of many, Turner was not a criminal, but a hero. The brute himself gloried in his importance and boasted of the attention shown him, and order the details of his funeral, conscious that it will attract thousands and give him a delightful celebrity.” 

            As sickening as it sounds, yes, even murderers get groupies who somehow sympathize with them. Women were showing up at the jail to visit Turner, and even gave him money. While he banked on his newfound fame, he even sold photos of himself to those who requested it.  All the while, Jennie’s passing, the concern about getting her justice, or even the plan of giving her a proper burial was just an afterthought in the minds of many. It was so bad that the Louisville Courier-Journal tried to shame the public for showing more care and concern about Jennie’s murderers than Jennie herself, the actual victim in all of this.

            It appeared that once Jennie had passed on, the interest in her personal story diminished, while the fever pitch for the trial of Turner and Patterson was just getting started. The Committee members in charge of overseeing a collection fund to help Jennie receive the honor she deserved was spearheaded by Allen McDonald, W.N. Haldeman, Col. John B. Castleman and Judge R.H. Thompson who all devoted themselves to have her proper memorial erected. All together only a little more than $750 was raised for Jennie’s memorial fund, in order to have her  buried and a decent monument placed at her gravesite. The dedication of Jennie’s monument was held on October 6, 1887. 

             During both trials, Albert Turner always remained adamant that Patterson was his accomplice, while Patterson always claimed his innocence in the crime. One of Patterson’s former cell mates, Robert Crow, claimed that Patterson had confessed his guilt to him as well as other crimes he had allegedly committed, including murdering and attempting to murder other women over the years. At one point Crow’s statements were put into question when  rumors swirled that Patterson’s wife had paid Crow to secure Patterson’s conviction so she could be rid of him. It was also rumored that Crow and Patterson’s wife had an arrangement that they would be together once Patterson was out of the picture. Still, there was no proof of those rumors. Crow claimed he didn’t have any interest in Patterson’s wife, and that he was happily married.

           Whether Crow was telling the truth or making up more to the story, another witness statement that was beyond reproach or doubt was that of Minister Dr. Evans, who witnessed Patterson running out of an alley that day. He claimed that Patterson was bloody and injured and that he saw him running from an alley in the direction that lead to the Johnson’s residence on the day and approximate time of the murder. It didn’t take much for the jury panel in both trials to decide the fate of both men. Albert Turner was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to be hanged until dead, with the sentence to be carried out on July 1, 1887. On the day of his execution, Turner allegedly claimed that Patterson was innocent of the murder, however he didn’t say that he wasn’t there at the scene of the crime. Still, that was not enough to overturn Patterson’s conviction.

Patterson, although found guilty, managed to secure himself with a second trial, to which he was again found guilty. He had only stalled his execution a little over a year. He was hanged on June 22, 1888. At the time of his execution, the noose had not been adjusted properly so when he fell, the knot slipped under his jawbone. Since the fall did not break his neck instantly, he dangled there for over 25 minutes before he was declared legally dead. According to those who watched the hanging, from the time the rope dropped at 6:12 p.m. to 6:22 he was struggling and gasping. By 6:44 he was cut down from the rope and his body removed.

Remembering Jennie Bowman

Going back to the beginning, we must look back on just who Jennie Bowman was, and the life she had tried so hard to live. At the unveiling of her memorial, Judge R. H. Thompson gave a moving speech about Jennie and said this: 

“Jennie Bowman was born in this city, of German parents, poor in purse, yet rich and independent in the sturdy spirit of industry and thrift which always and everywhere distinguishes the German race. It was her good fortune, while still almost a child, to find employment in an excellent family….from the trusted servant she became the affectionate friend, and so it was, that on a bright and sunny day, in the very midst of this great city, with all the streams and currents of its busy life eddying around her, she was left alone in charge of the house which had been so long her home…..She died a martyr to her fidelity, and the universal sign of sympathy and appreciation which welled up from the hearts of the people of this city has found expression in this monument, which today we dedicate to her memory.

 Placed here, in this forest of marble columns, costly memorials of departed worth, tokens of sweet affections, buried hopes, neither speech, nor language is heard among them, but which still speak with so much pathos of man’s weakness and decay---this simple stone gives utterance to a song of life, in it recognizes the great truth that ‘whosoever will lose his life for others’ sake, the same shall save it’…. Jennie Bowman was a heroine long before she faced the brutes that murdered her. Day by day, upon the altar of duty, she had laid the sacrifice of self, and when the hour of trial came her spirit flashed out in resplendent glory before the astonished eyes of men, not as a low worm of dust, but in that adamantine  character whose diamond face reflects in glorious beauty the great white light that shines in Him whose life is the light of the world.

 The historian who shall record the names of those whose life or death have shed their luster upon Kentucky, will dwell with loving pen upon those archives which relate to the story of her women….The name of Jennie Bowman will grace the page of history that records the deeds of those heroic women, and the laurel wreaths which crown them will lose no luster on her brow.”--- (Speech by Judge Thompson, October 6, 1888)


            When I first started researching about the life and death of Jennie Bowman, it seemed so overwhelming. Her story filled hundreds of pages of newspapers at the time and the endless amount of reading and retaining information was a lot to take in all at once. I wanted so badly to share her story with the world and to make sure that her story was told with as much care and precision as a surgeon would use in the operating room. To me, Jennie Bowman wasn’t just a story, but a real person. It is my desire that by sharing her account with my readers, it will allow them to step back in time with me to witness her life, and death, as much as anyone possibly can. Whether you believe who killed her, it is now up for you to decide. The point was to tell the story accurately to get her story told, period.

             Nowadays a lot of stories are shared online, in books, and on television, but how much of what we are reading, seeing or hearing is factually accurate? That is a good question. This is why I stress the importance of thorough research down to your most basic primary (and secondary) sources as being not just important but essential in getting to the facts of a story. Do not rely on others to do the research for you. Do not be lazy. You will find that by going the extra mile you just might discover something even the so-called experts didn’t. Why? Because a lot of these “experts” don’t bother to do their own research either. I know that there have been ghost tours in Louisville in the past, and the story of Jennie Bowman has been shared. Whether their version is accurate or not is not for me to say, but I certainly hope they are doing their homework instead of spreading more misinformation around as so many other paranormal tours seem to do these days. I do not delve into the paranormal lore of people, places or things unless I absolutely have to, as I prefer facts over folklore, so that is about as much as I am going to go with this story. 

              So, if you do head down to Cave Hill Cemetery, and you decide to pay Jennie Bowman a visit, please always remember to be respectful of her final resting place. Remember she was a real person with a heart of gold and strength of character, so much so, she fought her attacker as best as she could to defend her employer’s home, and in the end she paid the ultimate price. Also, remember those final words spoken the day of her funeral as they are the best way I could think of ending her story.

 “The grave of Jennie Bowman will not be a nameless or forgotten one. It will be a humble but proud and sacred shrine, where may shall kindle the holy fires of love and duty. God’s angels watch it with sleepless vigil, and when the glad morning comes that wakes the dead, she, with all who have lived and died for duty and for right, will march into the city that hath no danger, no pain, no tears.”—— "

Photo Credits (Rob Mitchell)

(Copyright 2019- from the book "More Stories of the Forgotten"  by J'aime Rubio,