Madame Chicago Joe Earrings
Madame Chicago Joe, aka Mary Welch, aka Josephine Airey, was born in Ireland. She became a member of the demimonde (A class of women on the fringe of respectable society supported by wealthy lovers, the world of prostitution), when she moved from New York to Chicago around the age of 17. She was proficient at her profession. In 1867, at the age of 23 she moved to Helena, Montana. She bought a crude one story hurdy-gurdy house on Wood Street. It was so profitiable that three years later she had to expand. To purchase her new venture she had to sell everything including her underwear, which was very successful. When most of Helena burned to the ground in 1874, she purchased everyone’s land, she was 30, and became the largest land owner on Wood Street. Four years later she married “Black Hawk” Hensley, and together they built a fireproof dance hall. At this time she acquired the name “Chicago Joe.” In 1886 she challenged the courts when the town fathers wanted to band prostitution and hurdy-gurdy houses. Webster’s Dictionary refers to a hurdy-gurdy as resembling a hand organ. At her saloon she had a three-piece band not an organ, so the case against her was thrown out and she was allowed to keep her business open. At the age of 44 she was paying more than $200,00. worth of property taxes. She was very wealthy and popular. She always gave to charity and political candidates, dressed in lavish clothing and threw flamboyant parties and balls. In 1893, financial panic and eventual depression, put an end to Josephine Hensley. She lost everything except for her saloon. She moved into an apartment above the saloon and lived a quiet life with her husband. She died in 1899, at the age of 55, from pneumonia. The town of Helena provided her with a large funeral.
Beautiful Madame Chicago Joe Earrings, are 3″ long Black Gunmetal Leaves with assorted Watch Parts, Emerald Swarvoski Crystal, Hook Earwires and Findings. Another exclusive Designs Original from Jewels Designs, Madame Steampunk Jewelry Line. These one-of-a-kind earrings make a fantastic gift! Check out this pair and our many other pieces of art at Jewels Designs.