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 Rosa May

Rosa May

Birth
Pennsylvania, USA
Death Nov 1912 (aged 57)
Bodie, Mono County, California, USA
Burial Bodie, Mono County, California, USA
Memorial ID 5850091 · View Source
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Known simply as Rosa May, she was born Rosa Elizabeth White, January 1855, in Pennsylvania, to strict parents. She ran away from home at the age of 16. In New York she fell in with the wrong people, and soon turned to prostitution. She drifted through the mining camps of Colorado and Idaho before eventually settling in Virginia City, Nevada. After switching back and forth between brothels in Virginia City and Carson City several times, she eventually moved to Bodie in the early 1890's, where her lover, Ernest Marks, owned a saloon. She lived with Ernest and remained a prostitute until the day she died, in the winter of 1911 or 1912. Because of her lifestyle, the townspeople of Bodie refused to allow her to be buried in the cemetery proper, so she was interred in Boot Hill, the "Outcast Cemetery," just outside the cemetery fence. The headstone currently in Boot Hill was placed there around 1965 by Louis Serventi of Bishop, California. At the time, Rosa's grave's exact location was unknown. It was later found by George Williams, III, about 150 feet from the site of the marker. The date "1880" on the marker is when Mr. Serventi thought Rosa had died. He was wrong. Rumor has it she died of Pneumonia, which she contracted while helping nurse several miners through a devastating epidemic of the disease. No evidence exists to support this, and in fact several Bodie residents questioned failed to recall any such epidemic occurring at the time of her death.

The following is information from research done by volunteer Sue

1880 Census, Carson City, Ormsby County, Nevada: Jennie Moore, Black, 54 yrs, Widowed, no occupation, b. Ireland, Father b. Ireland, Mother b. Ireland; Mary A. Phillips, 58 yrs, Married, no occupation, b. Canada, Father b. Canada, Mother b. Canada; Rosa E. White, 27 yrs, Single, Dressmaker, b. Maine, Father b. New Hampshire, Mother b. New Hampshire; Gee Pon, 30 yrs, Single, Cook, b. China, Father b. China, Mother b. China; Lewis Wentworth, 65 yrs, Single, Upholsterer, b. New Hampshire, Father b. New Hampshire, Mother b. New Hampshire

1900 Census, Bodie, Mono County, California: Rosa May, b. Jan 1855, 45 yrs, Single, b. Pennsylvania, Father b. Ireland, Mother b. Ireland, Seamstress, Rents House

1910 Census, Bodie, Mono County, California: Rosie May, 46 yrs, Single, b. Pennsylvania, Father b. Ireland, Mother b. Ireland, Prostitute, Rents House

Bridgeport Chronicle-Union, 6/21/1913: Delinquent Tax List for 1912-1913. No. 202. Rosa May; Bodie School district; Lot in Bodie, lot 40, block 26, value, $10, improvements home value $200…

Note: Not found on the California Death Index under either Rosa May or Rosa White or Rosa Olague or Oalague or any other name others have claimed she used. I found not notice of her death in any newspaper available to me.


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  • Maintained by: Eileen
  • Originally Created by: Lonnie DeCloedt
  • Added: 17 Oct 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5850091
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rosa May (Jan 1855–Nov 1912), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5850091, citing Boot Hill Cemetery, Bodie, Mono County, California, USA ; Maintained by Eileen (contributor 46886393) .