Born Mary Ann Boyer in 1821 in Pennsylvania, she met and may have married the captain of a whaling ship, David W. "Bull" Conklin, in 1851. In 1853, the captain abandoned her in Port Townsend, Washington, and sailed away to Alaska. She moved to Seattle which at the time was one of several small settlements competing for Puget Sound business.
There, she began to manage Felker House for Captain Leonard Felker. In this two-story building, on land purchased from her sometime-ally Doc Maynard, she ran an efficient hotel with clean sheets, good food, and a brothel upstairs. She rented out unused rooms during the day, including the rooms for the Territorial Court.
After her death in 1873, her remains were initially buried in the Seattle Cemetery and moved in 1884, when that site was made into Denny Park. According to legend, when her coffin was dug up, it was unreasonably heavy, so the workers opened it. The legend states that her body had turned to stone. The authenticity of this legend is difficult to verify. Her first gravestone, at Lake View Cemetery on Seattle's Capitol Hill, incorrectly listed her death as occurring 1887.
David W Conklin