Ada and Minna Everleigh, born Ada and Minna Simms, were two sisters who operated the Everleigh Club, a high priced brothel in the Levee District of Chicago during the first decade of the twentieth century. Take a look below for 24 more strange and bizarre facts about Ada and Minna Everleigh.
1. Ada, the eldest, was born in Greene County, Virginia on February 15, 1864, and died in Charlottesville, Virginia on January 5, 1960.
2. Minna was born in Greene County on July 13, 1866, and died in New York, New York on September 16, 1948.
3. The sisters claimed an alternative biography, which has long been accepted as factual. However, better research has provided more accuracy.
4. According to their story, Minna and Ada Simms were born outside of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1876 to a wealthy lawyer who had fled to Kentucky from Virginia when Benedict Arnold invaded Virginia in 1781.
5. The two sisters had been to finishing school and had proper social debuts.
6. When Minna was 17, she says, she married a man whose last name was Lester, who turned out to be abusive.
7. Ada claimed to have been married to Lester’s brother, who also turned out to be abusive.
8. After both marriages had failed, they became actresses. Claiming their father died in the early 1890s, they said they came into a legacy of $35,000.
9. According to Abbott, whose research included an interview with the sisters’ great niece, Minna and Ada were born in Greene County, Virginia to Montgomery and Virginia “Jennie” Simms, the second and third of four daughters.
10. Their mother died when they were young, as did their sisters.
11. There were three brothers, who all survived to adulthood.
12. Although the family was wealthy at the time of their birth, they lost much of their wealth during the Civil War and the family lost their plantation when they couldn’t pay their taxes.
13. Both sisters were married but subsequently divorced.
14. Stranded by a theater company in Omaha, Nebraska, the sisters changed their last name to “Everleigh,” adapted from their grandmother’s habit of signing letters with “Everly Yours” and opened their first brothel in Omaha in 1895.
15. When the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition was held in Omaha in 1898, they opened a second brothel in the vicinity of the event in Kountze Park and quickly doubled their investment.
16. They then decided to close their brothels and seek out a more affluent city.
17. In 1899, they settled in Chicago, and on February 1, 1900, opened a high class brothel called the Everleigh Club, which did good business until it closed down in 1911.
18. In November, 1905, a rival madam maliciously accused the sisters of the murder of Marshall Field, Jr., son of department store founder Marshall Field.
19. When the brothel was closed by the city authorities in 1911, Ada was 47 and Minna was 45.
20. They then retired with over a million dollars to the West Side, but were driven out by disapproving neighbors.
21. After travelling around Europe, they changed their name to Lester and settled in New York.
22. Minna Everleigh died in 1948.
23. After Minna’s death, Ada Everleigh sold most of her personal belonging and moved to Virginia.
24. Ada Everleigh died in 1960 at the age of 93.