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On the morning of January 20, 1867, Julia Bulette's partially nude body was found by her maid in her bedroom of her Virginia City brothel. She had been strangled and bludgeoned to death, and robbed of her valuable jewel collection, clothing, and furs. Julia Bulette was an English-born American prostitute and madam in Virginia City, Nevada. After her violent death, she was described as proprietor of the most elegant and prosperous brothel in the City and various films and books took inspiration of her real or purported biography.
She was said to be the first unmarried white woman to arrive in the mining boomtown following the Comstock Lode silver strike in 1859. Bulette was a popular figure with the miners, and the local firefighters made her an honorary member of Virginia Engine Company Number 1.
As she was the only white woman in the area, she became greatly sought after by the miners. She quickly took up prostitution, charging $1000 a night for her services. Jule or Julia as she became known was described as having been a beautiful, tall, and slim brunette with dark eyes. She was refined in manner with a humorous, witty personality. She lived and worked out of a small rented cottage near the corner of D and Union streets in Virginia City's entertainment district. An independent operator, she competed with the fancy brothels, streetwalkers, and hurdy-gurdy girls for meager earnings. With her earnings, Julia was able to build a magnificent brothel. She named it Julia's Palace, and it was the largest and most prosperous brothel in Virginia City. She had staffed the brothel with beautiful girls imported from San Francisco, served French cuisine and wines, dressed herself and her girls in the latest Parisian fashions. She was also a good friend to the miners, who adored her. Julia appeared regularly in the streets of Virginia City, clad in costly sables and jewels.
On the morning of January 20, 1867, Julia's partially nude body was found by her maid in her bedroom. She had been strangled and bludgeoned to death. Virginia City went into mourning for her, with the mines, mills and saloons being closed down as a mark of respect. On the day of her funeral, January 21th, thousands formed a procession of honor behind her black-plumed, glass-walled hearse; first the firemen, who were followed by the Nevada militia who played funeral dirges. Julia was buried in the Flower Hill Cemetery. A little over a year later, Julia's murderer was caught and hanged for the crime. He was a French drifter whose name was John Millain; and on April 24, 1868 he went to the gallows, swearing he was not guilty of having killed Julia. His hanging was witnessed by author Mark Twain.
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