Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Memphis Woman of Ill-repute Attempts Suicide, 1876

Mad. Sarah Flynn's Establishment
appears in the 1876 City Directory
Back in the day of riverboats and duels there existed quite a few "establishments" in Memphis also known as houses of ill-repute, sporting houses, brothels and more crudely, the whore house.  In March of 1876 we find Lottie Lee working at Madame Flynn's establishment.  Poor Lottie is distraught because her "lover" is cavorting with another woman in another establishment next door. Lottie decides to end her life.  She is not the first nor the last in the history of brothels to do so.

Memphis Daily Appeal
March 16, 1876

Lottie Lee, one of the inmates of Madame Flynn's establishment on Washington street, attempted self-destruction, Tuesday night, by taking a dose of poison.  A doctor and an active stomach-pump saved the unfortunate woman's life, which she had rather give up than endure the tortures of jealousy that had taken possession of her bosom. She had a friend with whom she had a little spat early in the evening, and had to spite her, went into an adjoining house of the same character, and was enjoying the evening with one of the inmates.  Lottie found out that her lover had thus cast her off for another, and sought to give him no more trouble on this earth.  At last accounts the woman was doing well.  

Since writing the above we have heard that the cause of Lottie's attempting suicide was on account of a visit from her father and brother, who arrived in the city yesterday and learned for the first time that their loved on had entered upon a life of shame.  She refused to see them, and fled from the house to avoid the interview.  After her father left the unfortunate girl seemed to realize her abandoned condition, and became so depressed that she resolved to put an end to her existence, the result being as chronicled above.

By 1880 Lotte Lee has set up her own establishment in the city of Memphis and apparently recovered from any shame she had felt in 1876!

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