Monday, December 13, 2010

Bodie's Dead: Lottie Johl

Continuing my survey of some of the gravesites...

Lottie was born in Iowa in 1855. She lived on a farm in her early life. She was very beautiful and said to smile all the time. At an early age she married and had a daughter. Unfortunately, something happened in the marriage and she divorced her husband. At some point the daughter was left with either her former husband or her parents. Lottie took off to find work. Eventually she reached Bodie in 1882 at the age of 27. She headed to "Maiden Lane" which you see soon and worked there. While working there she also worked the dancing halls. Lottie loved to dance.
At some point she met Eli Johl. Eli worked as a butcher in town and partly owned the store. The two fell in love and married. Unfortunately, Lottie was never really accepted socially by the people in town because of her former work at "Maiden Lane". At some point she went to a costume ball in the Miner's Union Hall and was disguised in a beautiful white satin dress her husband had purchased for her. Since she was covered up no one knew who she was. When voted the prize winner she took off her mask and the people there were in shock. She could not win such a award due to her status. She ran off crying.

Later on she became sick. A doctor gave her some medicine, but it did not cure her. She died within 24 hours. It turns out she was accidentally given poison. The authorities said this was not done intentionally. This is her grave site.
Eli Johl really had to fight to have her buried in the cemetery. Something to remember is the cemetery was for the respectable people not vagrants, badmen gunfighters, or prostitutes. He was successful so she was buried inside and not on the outide. All that really remains is the gated fence.
Eli would always visit her grave and on Memorial Day he would decorate her grave and sit near by. Something like this:
Finally, I thought I would throw one of my dad's old pictures up. I am not going to do too many of these, but that is Lottie's grave there. Down below to the right is the Scanavino family site. You can see some of that near the end of the video.
You will notice that it says, "Boot Hill," on there. This was one of last pictures my dad was messing around with two years ago. I think "Boot Hill" was where you put the undesirables I mentioned outside of the cemetery fences. It was not inside where the "respectable" people were buried.

One final thing I wanted to mention was that Lottie did paint. One of her paintings is in the museum in Bodie and can also be seen in the Soiled Dove book chapter listed below.

For references on Lottie check the following sources:

Seagraves, Anna. Soiled Doves (Hayden: Wesanne Publications, 1994).
Cain, Ella. The Story of Bodie (Bishop: Chalfont Press, 1956).