Miss Dolly's Epiphany: Paving the Way to a Classier Future
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From Brothel to Homestead
In 1893, Mary Eliza Kezer, also known as "Miss Dolly," made her way to Woodward, following a successful stint as a madam in Denver's thriving brothel scene during the silver boom of the late 1800s.
Miss Dolly, an experienced and respected figure among the working girls, took charge of managing the operations at the infamous Dew Drop Saloon upon her arrival.
However, it was during an eventful night in May 1899, after a raucous all-night party at the Livestock Association convention, that Miss Dolly had an epiphany.
As she surveyed her surroundings, she couldn't help but notice that both she and her girls looked dowdy compared to everyone else, in spite of wearing what they thought was their prettiest clothes. The realization struck her deeply: they looked like cheap floozies.
Determined to change their circumstances, Miss Dolly made a life-altering decision.
Calling it quits
With unwavering resolve, she decided to sever ties with the red-light district and embark on a new path.
Taking advantage of the Homestead Act, Miss Dolly filed a claim for a homestead, securing a piece of land to call her own. To finance her venture and provide a fresh start for her loyal girls, she made the difficult decision to sell her treasured jewelry.
Paying for her girls to go home
With the funds acquired from her jewelry sale, Miss Dolly generously paid for the return journey home for all the girls who wished to leave the life of prostitution behind.
It was a gesture of kindness and compassion, giving her girls the opportunity to start anew, far away from the shadowy world they once inhabited.
Miss Dolly's act of benevolence not only demonstrated her concern for the well-being of her employees but also showcased her strong leadership qualities.
The impact of Miss Dolly's departure was felt deeply within the red-light district. Her absence left a void that couldn't be easily filled. Not all the girls wanted to return home. Not everyone had a place to call home.
The working girls who chose to remain faced the challenge of finding another capable and empathetic figure to guide them through the uncertain and often dangerous circumstances of their profession.
Dolly's new adventure leads to a satisfying life
Meanwhile, Miss Dolly, armed with determination and a renewed sense of purpose, set out to establish a life on her homestead.
This new chapter in her life allowed her to distance herself from the notoriety of her previous occupation and provided her with an opportunity to redefine her identity.
She embraced the prospect of a simpler and more respectable existence, free from the problems and stigma associated with her former profession.
****if you enjoy reading about Oklahoma's history, you might like The Oklahoma rancher who played by his own rules
Hi, I'm Judy! I love bringing a magnifying glass to where psychology and history cross. What makes people do what they do? Why did they make that choice? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments and share this article on social media and with family and friends, if you'd like.