Born in Dublin, Ireland to a Protestant father and Irish Catholic mother, Maggie Hall set sail for America at the age of 20. After arriving first in New York City, Maggie found work as a barmaid and married a man named Burdan, who soon convinced her to sell her body for money and gave her a new name: Molly. She left her husband after four years and headed west for a new life.
Travelling through California, Oregon, and Nevada Molly was a much sought after prostitute. Her earnings garnered her an expensive wardrobe and a lavish lifestyle, and when she heard of a prosperous gold strike in the Coeur d'Alenes in Idaho, Molly set off for Murray, Idaho.
On her way to Murray by pack-train, the party rain into a nasty blizzard. Molly left the group to save a young mother and her child, who were not dressed for winter weather. She ordered the pack train to go on without them, and the three huddled together in a makeshift shelter with Molly's furs and horse to keep them warm. The next day they rode into town and Molly was celebrated as a hero.
Molly became a successful madam in the small mining town and was beloved by the people. She fed anyone who was hungry and offered shelter to the homeless. During a smallpox outbreak, Molly called a town meeting to rally the healthy to help the sick and worked tirelessly to tend to the ill miners and their families. Eventually the disease dissipated, but Molly never recovered. She succumbed to consumption and died in 1888.
To this day, the citizens of Murray celebrate Molly B'Damn each year with the Annual Molly B'Damn Gold Rush Days event.
- Wikipedia - Maggie Hall
- Molly B'Damn - Kari Bovee
- The Sprag Pole Inn and Museum in historic Murray, Idaho
- Anne Seagraves, Soiled Doves: Prostitution in the Early West, Wesanne Publications, Hayden, Idaho, 1994.
- Myles Dungan, How the Irish Won the West, New Island, Dublin, Ireland, 2006.
- Angels or Whores - Ken Adams