Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Notorious Brawdy Family, Part 3 ("Keeping a Bawdy House")

This is a series of posts about the startling discoveries we made at GRIP  (July 2014) in the Intermediate Genealogy class. Our head instructor, Paula Stuart-Warren, chose a random Pittsburgh will for us to research and see what we could uncover about the family. She had no idea of the amazing stories we would find...

The larceny articles I shared yesterday from 1868 were about Martha's brother, Tom. It mentions that the mother (Barbara) is currently in jail for "keeping a bawdy house" or brothel. So, let's head back to Penn State's "Pennsylvania Civil War Newspapers" and Elephind and search the Pittsburgh Daily Gazette and Advertiser to see what we find. (I don't know why, but I get different results with the two search engines.)

On October 30, 1867 we find: Mrs. Brawdy Again

Mrs. Barbara Brawdy, the proprietress of an infamous den on Liberty street, which has frequently been "venillated" [?] through the city papers, still continues to prosper in her infamous business, it appears, notwithstanding the vigilance of the police, and the frequent expressed intention of the authorities to break it up. But a short time since she was before His Honor the Mayor, charged with keeping a bawdy house, and, we believe, was held to bail for her appearance at Court. This was all the Mayor could do in the matter. But some one else must be at fault, as we have not yet noticed in the Court proceedings any account of her trial. The character of the woman, and the reputation of the house she keeps, have so frequently been published, that every body must be familiar with it, and it is therefore [useless?] to speak of it here in a general manner; but as there is always more or less interest attached to particulars connected with such characters, we will relate an incident which is alleged to have taken place at the iniquitous establishment kept by this "virago," Monday evening, from which our readers can form some idea of her manner of conduction business, while it may also serve to teach strangers the impropriety of taking lodgings at what are termed "cheap boarding houses," unless they know the reputation of the houses at which they stop.

Monday evening two men, Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Anderson, from New Brighton, arrived in the city, and at the Union Depot inquired for a "cheap boarding house." The inquiry was heard by one of that class of men with whom our city is cursed to a considerable extent at present, who are too lazy to work, and to poor to live without it, and consequently resort to any means of obtaining a living without labor. It appears he was a "runner" for Mrs. Brawdy's house, to which he conducted them. Shortly after their arrival they discovered the character of the place, and resolved to leave it, but upon signifying their intention to do so, the door was locked and a demand of five dollars each made upon them. They refused to comply with the demand, when the door to an adjoining room was opened and half a dozen "roughs," armed with knives and pistols, confronted them and enforced the payment of the money, when they were allowed to depart.

Mr. Anderson yesterday morning appeared before Alderman McMasters and stated the case, when a warrant was issued for Mrs. Brawdy on  charge of keeping a bawdy house, upon which she was arrested, and after a hearing held in five hundred dollars bail for her appearance at Court.

Anderson and McIntyre are both respectable, hard working men and were led into the "trap," which is always open for the uninitiated, in the manner above stated. We rather think Mrs. B. will be brought before the Court this time, as the prosecutor has no desire to effect a compromise. His motives for prosecuting were not for the purpose of extorting money, or even receiving his own, but to bring the offender to justice. 

And on December 29, 1863 we find: Sentenced

Barbara Brawdy, for keeping a bawdy house, was sentenced to pay a fine for $200, and undergo one month's imprisonment in the county jail.

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