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Mary Ann Conklin (nee Boyer), was known to Seattle residents in the mid-1800s as Mother Damnable.  She managed the Felker House, some reports say as a brothel, kept rocks in her apron to throw at people and cursed in five languages.  Is it no wonder that when her corpse was disinterred to move to another cemetery, it was discovered that it had turned completely to stone.

Mary Ann Boyer was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1821.  She met and married Captain David "Bull" Conklin who was in command of a whaling ship in Alaskan waters which was known as Russian America at that time.  The honeymoon period was soon over when in 1853 the Captain abandoned his wife in Port Townsend and sailed away.  Mary Ann Conklin moved to the then tiny village of Seattle and began managing the Felker House.

Another sea captain, Leonard Felker, transported the parts of a pre-fabricated building in the hold of his ship, the brig Franklin Adams, to Seattle and after purchasing land at the corner of 1st Avenue South and Jackson Street, Capt. Felker erected his two story frame house on the site.  It is reported to have milled clapboard sides, imported southern pine flooring and lath-and-plaster walls and ceilings and it served as the city's first hotel.

The Felker House  in Seattle, Washington was the first hotel in the city. The first finished lumber house in Seattle.  Built in 1868 and burned to the ground in the 1889 Great Seattle Fire.  
Felker House.  The woman on the 2nd floor in the doorway - a stout figure in voluminous petticoats - may well be Mother Damnable, but it is not certain.
There is no record as to how Mary Ann Conklin became acquainted with Captain Felker, but once she took over the operations of Felker House, Mary Ann's business efficiency became apparent.  The hotel was known for cleanliness and good food and it was said that the operator could curse as colorfully in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese and German.  Once her reputation grew, the hotel became known by the locals as "The Conklin House," or "Mother Damnable's."   In later years she was known as "Madam Damnable" when she began operating a brothel in the upper rooms of the hotel.

Conklin rented out meeting rooms from the hotel and in 1854 the territorial government held a lynching trial there and ran up a bill for $25 for the use of a "court room" and another $10 for lodging for the jurors.  When paying the bill the prosecuting attorney requested a receipt which was a big mistake on his part.  Mary Ann flew into a rage, armed herself with fire wood for the stove and began throwing pieces at the attorney.  It's reported she screeched, "You want a receipt, do you?  Well, here it is!".

A second recorded incident involving Mother Damnable was when the U.S. Navy ship, Decatur was anchored in Elliott Bay providing protection to the settlers.  The crew needed to clear the way for a new road through town and each time they passed by Felker House to chop shrubs the ship's lieutenant, Thomas S. Phelps described what this "demon in petticoats" would do:

"The moment our men appeared upon the scene, with three dogs at her heels, and an apron filled with rocks, this termagant would come tearing from the house, and the way stones, oaths, and curses flew was something fearful to contemplate, and, charging like a fury, with the dogs wild to flesh their teeth in the detested invaders, the division invariably gave way before the storm, fleeing, officers and all, as if old Satan himself was after them."
Phelps said after several occurrences like this, the ship's quartermaster, a man named Sam Silk and "a veritable old-time salt," according to Phelps, confronted Boyer attempting to explain the necessity of the road.  His speech was cut short by verbal abuse and fire wood flung at his head, so he changed his strategy:
"What do you mean, you damned old harridan, raising hell this way? I know you, you old curmudgeon," he said. "Many's the time I've seen you howling thunder around Fell's Point, Baltimore. You're a damned pretty one, ain't you?"
Lt Phelps' report says:
"The effect was magical. With one glance of concentrated hatred at Silk, she turned and flew like the wind, scattering sticks and rocks on all sides, and, with her yelping dogs, disappeared within the house, never again to be seen by one of the Decatur's crew."
Mary Ann died in 1873 and was buried in the city's first municipal cemetery, the Seattle Cemetery.  In 1884 the graves were removed to other cemeteries and the site was made into what is now Denny Park.

Oliver C. Shorey, an undertaker who founded what is now the Bonney-Watson funeral home, received the contract to remove the graves and relocated them.  In a Seattle Post-Intelligencer article from August 22, 1884, Shorey describes what happened when he dug up Mother Damnable:

We discovered that the coffin was very heavy, weighing at least 400 pounds and it took six men to lift it out of the grave. On removing the lid to the coffin we found that she had turned to stone. Her form was full sized and perfect, the ears, finger nails and hair being all intact. Her features were, however, somewhat disfigured. Covering the body was a dark dust, but after that was removed the form was as white as marble and as hard as stone.
The article does not describe what some claimed to be a beaming smile on Mother Damnable's face which made her look like a saint.  The question remains to this day, could she really have turned to stone?

Mary Ann Conklin's hotel burned to the ground in the Great Seattle fire of 1889.

~ The Madam Who Turned to Stone

~ History link - Conklin, Mary Ann (1821-1873) aka Mother Damnable

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good Sunday Morning, MOTliteers (21+ / 0-)

     photo 1359207877565848.jpg

    Have a wonderful day, everybuddy ;~D

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 03:18:55 PM PDT

  •  Good Morning (5+ / 0-)

    I woke up way to early !
    Been online since 4:00 am. :(
    I haven'y got into any trouble though !

    it's a nippy 43° out there & clear !
    it will be 71° & mostly sunny later in the day.

    Interesting story this morning.
    Wonder how many of those sailors were visiting that hotel?

    Happy Sunday

    I'll be crawling back in the sheets shortly

  •  60 Here Already. Supposed To Get (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, JaxDem, eeff, Chi, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

    into the 70s. First warm weather of the year. I can't believe I am about to write this, going to buy some shit, sorry manure, and turn my raised gardens. Plant next week.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:40:41 AM PDT

    •  You are getting some nice weather then. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eeff, webranding, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

      I was in the process of ripping out my old garden and taking down the fencing surrounding it last week when I took a nasty nasty fall and had to stop.  Would have had to stop for two days anyway because of rain.  Hoping to get out there today or tomorrow and start again.

      Good luck with the garden.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:47:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you becareful ! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

        your suppose to hire the neighborhood kids to do that stuff !

        ;)

        •  The way I wrote that would be confusing (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat, eeff

          I took the fall in the house!  

          The worst threat outside is a snake.  I'd have a heart attack if I saw one.

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:54:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I Am A New Garden Guy (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eeff, JaxDem, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

        first year total success. Last year total failure. I want to hit the in-between. Don't laugh at me, but I have failed every year with my compost bin. I hope to get that right this year.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:53:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: compost bin...good for you for attempting! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

          I have always heard that you should not plant the same thing in the same spot each year.  Rotate the crop around to different spots.  

          My husband had always been the one big on a garden,but I always did all the work.  The results have been dismal enough to not bother anymore.  The heat, humidity and bugs make it too miserable to be out tending it all summer.  I spend less buying the produce for one person than I do buying fertilizer, the plants, pesticides, etc.

          You'll have to keep us updated on the progress and what you decide to plant.

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:59:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Revellia (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, JaxDem, eeff, Chi, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

    I tweaked a sketch of Revellia as a sweater girl. It's probably too much of a good thing with ther linebacker physique clashing with that zaftig cubed.

    I sketched Revvie in a suit and slacks, all ready to report to a job at a strip club. As a bouncer.

    Although, I'm probably not going to go there in the story.

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:43:55 AM PDT

  •  I will be posting an IGTNT tonight (6+ / 0-)

    sometime between 8 - 8:30 pm eastern

    This is an Air Force pilot who came from a family of Air Force pilots.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:45:07 AM PDT

  •  38F Morning everyone. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat
    Sunday Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 64F. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20%.
    Very thin pickings yesterday. I did see a flowering tree, though.
    •  Good Morning, aoeu (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

      your comment yesterday made me want to go out scouting yard sales too.  I resisted.

      Enjoy the day.  64° isn't too shabby.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:36:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I went to dozens of sales. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

        Fez

        I really need a pair of jack stands and may wind up paying retail. Today is the last day for the house where I bought the fez. I may go back and root through the rest of the clothing.

        •  I have two or three sets of jack stands (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aunt Pat, Joy of Fishes

          in the garage along with a good deal of tools that I have to sell.  My husband took up woodworking in later years and I need to list them on craigslist, but have procrastinated far too long.  I already have them priced at generously reduced prices, but refuse to do a yard sale and deal with the jerks that want them for nothing.  

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:53:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Otteray Scribe will be posting (4+ / 0-)

    his first "Guest Blogger" piece this morning over at Jonathan Turley's blog.  It will be posted under his real life name.  

    OS says you can post a comment with no waiting period over there if you like.  

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:06:52 AM PDT

  •  Morning all. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, eeff, mommyof3, Aunt Pat

    Wonderful story, JaxDem!  I loved this line that you quoted... "with the dogs wild to flesh their teeth in the detested invaders."  Delicious turn of phrase.

    We left home at 5am yesterday and arrived here late afternoon.  Grandbaby is beautiful - not that he could be anything but!  Vivid blue eyes, a chin dimple passed from great grandpa to grandpa to mama to baby.  S-i-l proudly announced seeing baby boy's first social smile.

    My kiddo is exhausted.  The big thing for the upcoming week is to take care of her.

    Have a good day, everyone!

    Dwell on the beauty of life. ~ Marcus Aurelius

    by Joy of Fishes on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:11:21 AM PDT

    •  Awww, grandbaby sounds adorable. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, eeff, mommyof3, Aunt Pat

      Happy that you made it safely and will be able to pamper your daughter for the week.  Enjoy your bonding with that beautiful baby boy!

      Glad you enjoyed the story and I too enjoy the delightfully descriptive language from that era.

      Have a wonderful day.  As eeff says: waving at the new baby!

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:19:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mornin' JD, mornin' Bon MOTs . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

    . . . I think I met Mother Damnable once. At least the description sounded familiar.

    There was an old lady like that in the town my grandmother lived in, she owned a big old two story monster house on a corner. She would come out and chase the kids off the corner with her broom.

    It's starting out at 43° and cloudy here, but it's supposed to clear off with a high near 60° later. We supposedly had our first 70° day yesterday but it was so windy and rainy I stayed in the house. I guess I'm never satisfied.

    Hope everyone has a wonder full Sunday!



    - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
    - Frank Zappa


    by rudyblues on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:44:19 AM PDT

    •  Good Morning, rudy! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eeff, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

      Nice to see you again.  

      Har!  You think your own Mother Damnable?  I'll bet there are quite a few of them around.

      Glad to hear your temps are warming up.  Maybe Spring has finally arrived.

      Enjoy your day.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:51:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually feeling decent. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, Joy of Fishes

    And of course since I feel like doing dishes, I'm under strict orders not to get my dressing wet. (sigh)

    I shall attempt to come up with something that will work.  It's really annoying how much a single finger being out of commission can affect everything.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:00:51 AM PDT

    •  Oh dear, sorry to hear you've injured (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes

      your finger.  What happened?  

      Pretty tough doing dishes, and many other things, with one hand.

      Hope you heal quickly and enjoy the day despite your injury.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:13:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sliced the corner of my finger off with the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joy of Fishes, JaxDem

        meat slicer on Friday. No hand surgeon needed, just a special dressing technique on it to keep the wound moist, and wait for it to heal itself.

        When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

        by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:23:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  a long-handled brush (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch, JaxDem

      I like washing dishes, too.  Slip a plastic bag over your hand to prevent water from splashing onto the dressing & use a long-handled brush.  

      I hope you heal quickly, AL.

      Dwell on the beauty of life. ~ Marcus Aurelius

      by Joy of Fishes on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:29:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  54 degrees here today. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joy of Fishes, JaxDem

    clear skies and feels like spring.  I don't know whatever possessed me to buy a house on a steep hillside, covered with trees.  I have both leaves and grass, not to mention enough twigs on the ground to build a bonfire.

    Finally waded through all the WordPress html formatting and got my first story up on Jonathan Turley's blog.  That was a trip. I will be easier next time.  

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:32:45 AM PDT

    •  Wonderful post, OS! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      Nervous about leaving a comment there, but I think I managed to not sound like a babbling idiot ;)

      A head's up on tonight's IGTNT - an Air Force pilot who came from a family of Air Force pilots.  

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:08:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Damn. OK, do you know what time it will be posted (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        I will use something aviation related.  

        And your comment was just fine. Mark Esposito (mespo) was impressed that I brought along a following.

        The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

        by Otteray Scribe on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:21:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I usually post between 8-8:30 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Otteray Scribe

          and more likely closer to the 8:00 mark as long as nothing creeps up.

          You may want to read this story from the Air Force publication Thunderbolt which was published in 2009.

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:52:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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