Fannie Porter (February 12, 1873 - c.1940) was a well known madam of the 19th century. She was best known for her association with famous outlaws of the day, and for her popular brothel.Porter was born in England and traveled to America around the age of one with her family. By fifteen she was working as a prostitute in San Antonio, Texas. By the age of 20, she had started her own brothel, and became extremely popular for her cordial and sincere attitude, her choosing only the most attractive young women as her "girls", her requirement that her "girls" practice good hygiene and for her always immaculate personal appearance. Her brothel was located at the corner of Durango and San Saba streets.
|BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID|
|ETTA PLACE AND THE SUNDANCE KID|
By the early 20th century, the tide had begun to turn against active, openly operating brothels. Eventually, she retired, and faded from history. It is not known as to where she went following her retirement. Most agree that she retired semi-wealthy, but it is unknown to where she might have gone. Some stories indicate she returned to England with a wealthy husband, but that has remained unconfirmed.
|SAN ANTONIO IN 1889|
The Sporting District was established in 1889 by the San Antonio city council to contain and regulate prostitution. The area became home to brothels, dance halls, saloons, gambling parlors, and other illegal, or at least vice-oriented, businesses. City officials did not officially condone the activities but rather unofficially regulated them. The area also included many legitimate businesses including hotels and restaurants.
NOTE: In my fourth and last Dime Novel, Kat and the U.S. Marshal, Marshal Diego Montoya arrives in San Antonio where Katherine Garrison lives. He'd met her the year before at her brother's ranch, (Angel and the Cowboy) and his assignment to find an outlaw in the city gave him the opportunity to visit Kat.
Diego visits the San Antonio Sporting District in search of the outlaw. To create a sporting house, I found information about the real District and a real Madam named Fannie Porter. For the story, I created Miss Hattie's Sporting House.
Today, the old location of the Sporting District in San Antonio is near the fashionable historic neighborhood called King William.
One reader suggested my heroine, Kat Garrison, as a single woman, might not live alone in a city and own a house. However, in Texas, from the days of the Republic, single women could buy and sell property, live alone, and had many rights usually designated to men. But when a woman married, her property became his and her rights somewhat diminished. Even with this much freedom, Texas would not give women the right to vote until 1918.
Kat and the U.S. Marshal, a 99cent Dime Novel,
will be available in July from Western Trail Blazer, imprint of Victory Tales press.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Sweethearts of the West-Blog
My Facebook Page