Colorful Ladies of the Old West

Colorful Ladies of the Old West


The early west had many colorful characters, but none moreso than the early day "Soiled Doves" and "performers" that set out west to make a better life for themselves.

Stories about Colorful Ladies of the Old West

The Hanging of John Millian

  • Virginia City, Nevada

Living in a historical town ten miles from modern day brothels, and ten miles from Virginia City, Nevada,  it is not uncommon to see our local "ladies" out shopping and either being driven in a limosine or driving a very expensive Mercedes Benz,  and possibly living in a million dollar house somewhere close by.  However it was not that lucrative to be a "girl" in Virginia city during the Gold and Silver Rushes of the 1800's.  One was the famous was Julia Bulette who was a prostitute that was  loved by the locals.  Her dead body was found lying on her left side with her feet halfway off the bed.  Sometime during the night she had been shot, strangled beaten and suffocated.  It was written in the local paper that it was an "outrageous and cruel act".  Several months after her funeral,  John Millian was arrested.  He was a French drifter. He claimed he did not murder her but knew that it was going to happen.  It was hard to find a jury because he was so hated by the town folk.  The officials could not find any men that were not unbiased and women were not allowed to vote. They eventually found a jury.  He was tried, convicted and condemned to die by hanging.  At dawn, April 27, 1868,  John Millian was hanged and met his fate.  Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of a murderer, so folks came by stagecoach, horseback and on foot from the nearby towns.  All the saloons were closed for the second time, the first when they had Julia's funeral.   Forty deputies and the National Guard escorted the carriage carrying Milligan and Father Manogue, Priest of St. Mary's Catholic Church.  Then there was the doctor's vehicle which followed the prisoner.  then came the news media and a coffin draped in black accompanied by the undertaker and his assistants.  Seveal thousand people were gathered and watching the gallows.  The prisoner spoke a few words of french because he said he did not know enough english to defend himself.  He kissed the priest, mounted the scaffold, and within two minutes he was declared dead.  Julia's murder was avenged, and then the crowd returned to V.C to open the saloons and celebrate.  Julia was never referred to as a woman of easy virtue.  The people finally accepted the goodness in her, despite her profession.  From "Women of the Sierra".   The tombstone was moved at one point and so therefore no one knows exactly where she is buried now.   They moved the fence and tombstone in the 1950"s because it was a tourist attraction.  She was buried in the local cemetery., called the Flowery Cemetery.  You will also notice she has a firemans hat next to her and is attired in a fireman's shield-front shirt.  Belt and helmet are embossed with the ensignia of Virginia engine Company No. 1 of which she was their honorary member.   As an addendum to this story after speaking to a local at a bookstore in Virginia City, there is a book being published with proof that John did not commit this murder.  It is stated that it could have been a local fireman.

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