Once Madam and Owner of the Dumas Brothel


Born September 19, 1912 in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Died February 7, 1955 in Butte, Montana



Elinore Knott
was born Elinore Marie Darby on September 19, 1912 to Chester Darby and Ada Mae Lusk Darby.  Her death certificate says she was born in Colorado Springs, while a marriage license says Denver.  Her family later moved to Wisconsin.

It is believed that Elinore’s mother died giving birth to her, and her father was an alcoholic who used to beat her when she was young and blamed Elinore for his wife’s death.  It is not known for sure when Elinore arrived in Butte, but it is thought she was very young.  She began working at the Dumas Brothel, and eventually worked her way up to madam and owner.

In January 1955, Elinore confided in a letter to her friend Liz who lived in Spokane that she was selling the Dumas to Jean “Dirty Mouth Jean” Sorenson, and leaving Butte with her boyfriend in February. She told Liz that they would be traveling to Spokane February 8th. She asked if they could stay with Liz for a few days until they found a place of their own.  She would not say who her boyfriend was, but only that Liz would be really surprised when she found out.

Elinore was found dead in her room at the Dumas Brothel on February 7, 1955.   The police said it was suicide. Rumor was that Elinore’s boyfriend did not come for her as expected and she was so distraught that she committed suicide. There are many people that do not believe the suicide theory. Elinore’s death certificate states the cause of death was Coronary Occlusion.   Elinore’s boyfriend was apparently was a well-known business man in Butte and was married as well.  It was never known who this man was, but Elinore believed him when he said that he was getting a divorce and they would go away together. 

The coroner’s report says that she had only $40 in her possession and no other assets other than an old suitcase packed with her clothing. No mention of suicide in the coroner's report. In a letter to her friend Liz, Elinore said she had plenty of money. So what happened to her money she said she had?  And, if she did indeed sell the Dumas, where was that money? It has been said that she owned a red Cadillac convertible and a Harley Davidson Motorcycle (that she had never learned to ride). She had jewels and furs too.  Where were her possessions?  These are a few of the reasons that some believed she was murdered.

To this day, the talk around town is that her ghost resides at the Dumas. There are stories of her ghostly appearance having been seen throughout the building.

Elinore Knott was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Butte, Montana, on February 9, 1955.

References: Coroner’s Report, Marriage License, Baptism Record, Death Certificate, and Venus Alley written by Rudy Giecek.








Suzanne Andrews
 MTGenWeb County Coordinator
 for Butte-Silver Bow County, MT

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