Characters, Location, Research

What’s in Tanner’s Ford, 1870

Lily’s Parlor, run by Miss Lily and her companion Rosa, is an elegant place where wealthy gentlemen can receive tender care and attention from a group of eager, beautiful women. Rosa, rescued by Lily from vicious men after years of abuse, is the reclusive housekeeper and cook.

Middle-aged “California widow” Nora Dawes has a dress and bonnet shop next door. She also rents out a bedroom if an acceptable woman requires one. She is waiting for her husband to return from the gold fields.

Another widow, young Sophie McLeod, inherited her husband’s large brick hotel in 1865 at his death. She has the best dining room within a hundred miles and rules it with an iron hand. The town mayor, Orville Rivers, and banker, Hugh Jennet, are eager for her hotel. She must always show decorum and restraint or they will have the town council confiscate her hotel due to lewd behavior.

The bank’s assay office is a study building where goldis checked for purity and weighed. It is owned by Hugh Jennet, who arrived in town shortly after the gold rush began. His wife, Eudora, believes herself to be the arbitrator of morality. They arrived in town with a good supply of money to operate the bank.

The bank is followed by the Jennet home, a two-story dwelling designed to impress.

George Byers has a chemist shop, and also serves as the town dentist, coffin builder, and undertaker. As dentist, he also provides shaves and haircuts, along with hot baths, to men.

Dieter Arnott’s butcher shop stocks all manner of meat and game. He uses whatever is brought to him. If the meat is not good, he feeds it to his pigs. He makes excellent sausages and smoked meat as well as providing fresh.

Baldy’s Saloon, though small, is often packed with mean eager for cheap whiskey. This is often made with ingredients to give a kick, such as rattlesnake heads, hot peppers, and the like. He has cribs out back where the few cheap whores who make it to Tanner’s Ford can ply their trade.

Roderick Venner’s saddle shop is next. He sells anything made of leather, or could be needed by a horse or a wagon..

‘Smitty’ has a blacksmith shop at the east end of town. He keeps to himself most of the time, as does ‘Stumpy’, the one-legged man who operates the livery stable. These stores, as well as the butcher shop, are at the eastern end of town as the wind is usually from the west.

Rufina Emslow, a crusty widow bitter due to her brother being murdered, runs a boardinghouse across the street from the butcher shop. The men who stay there include Maurice Lumley, the odious hotel clerk Sophie McLeod is forced to employ in order to keep her business, and Mayor Orville Rivers when he’s in town. It also houses  the men who creep into town at night and leave before daylight.

John and Patsy Tanner built a two-story wood building which houses their mercantile and, on the second floor, their home. Anything and everything can either be bought, or ordered from, the Tanners. Though they live in town, they support the valley ranchers more than some others.

The jail fronts the wooden boardwalk with a small home behind for Sheriff Frank Chambers and his wife, Mary. The jail has one cell with a wood plank bed. Frank and Mary are getting on in years and Mary wants to head back East to live with their daughter.

The most westerly building on the south side of the street is a two-story wooden structure where George “Doc” Henley lives. A widower, he lost his wife in childbirth and vowed to learn how to save others from the same fate. He enjoys a good game of chess with Sheriff Chambers.

Orville Rivers was elected mayor of the town of Tanner’s Ford in 1868. He has no jurisdiction over the valley ranchers but rumors of his activities with the Vigilantes, who tend to hang before finding proof of guilt, ensure the town council follows his suggestions. He dresses well, always wearing a black suit and bowler hat. He is never seen without the hat. He owns a ranch east of town, south of the road to Bannack City, yet rarely seems to have much work. His hired hand, Charlie Newton is also the town deputy, a requirement of the town council.

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