Virginia City’s Wicked Woman

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Wicked Women:

Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West.

 

 

The cold, grey January sky above Virginia City, Nevada, in 1867 unleashed a torrent of sleet on a slow moving funeral procession traveling along the main thoroughfare of town. Several members of the volunteer fire department, Virginia Engine Company Number One, was first in a long line of mourners following after a horse drawn carriage transporting the body of soiled dove Julia Bulette. The Nevada militia band shuffled behind the hearse playing “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” Black wreaths and streamers hung from the balconies of the buildings along the route which the remains of the beloved thirty-five-year-old woman was escorted. Miners who knew Julia wept openly. Out of respect for the deceased woman all the saloons were closed. Plummeting temperatures and icy winds eventually drove the majority of funeral-goers inside their homes and businesses before Julia was lowered into the ground.

Julia Bulette was murdered on January 19, 1867 at 11:30 in the evening in her home on North D Street in Virginia City. The fair but frail prostitute told her neighbor and best friend Gertrude Holmes she was expecting company, but did not specify who the company might be. Twelve hours later Gertrude discovered Julia’s lifeless body in bed. She had been beaten and strangled. Gertrude told authorities that Julia was lying in the center of the bed with the blankets pulled over her head and that the sheets under her frame were smooth. She told police that it appeared as though no one had ever been in the bed with Julia.

The authorities believed the scene had been staged. Marks on Julia’s body and tears on the pillow used to smother her indicated she struggled with her attacker. The murderer then set the room to look as though nothing was out of the ordinary. He covered Julia’s body in such a way that at a passing glance she would merely appear to be asleep. It had fooled the handyman she had employed to come in and build a fire for her each day. When the gentleman entered Julia’s home at eleven in the morning he believed she was sleeping. He explained to law enforcement officers that he was quiet as he went about his work and left when the job was done. A search of the modest home Julia rented revealed that many of her possessions were missing. The citizens of Virginia City were outraged by the crime.

 

 

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To learn more about the wild ladies on the rugged frontier read

Wicked Women:

Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West.