MISS MARTHA OLLIE POPE
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Miss Ollie Pope was a lady known for her business ventures. She was Jackson’s most famous Madam. Now understand Jackson Tn. had Madams and brothels as far back as 1821.
What made Miss Ollie so famous was she was a business women who just happened to a brothel.
Her brothel was active from the 1920’s to the 1950’s it was located at 522 South Liberty. Many a gentleman from Jackson, soldiers, and other visitors to Jackson visited the ladies.
At one time the Commander of Fort Campbell called the Mayor of Jackson to tell him he was going to put Jackson off limits for his soldiers if he did not do something about “Miss Ollie’s.
Within the hour the Commander received a call and it was suggested he call and apology to the Mayor and never attempt
such action ever again.
Miss Ollie had protection and friends in high places. Miss Ollie at one time held more “paper” on buildings in Downtown Jackson than the Banks. It was reported she had a very active loan service.
I was invited to visit downtown building before it was demolished. The gentleman that was showing me around took me to the third floor. There he pulled a brick out the north wall to reveal a lockbox. In the box was a loan paper which stated a relative of my guide had successfully repaid a loan of $6000.00 dated 1948. The signature on the note was Martha O. Pope. The loan was against the building we were touring the gentleman in question was known to having a gaming problem.
My guide looked at me “you are one of a few people that know about this please do not let my sister know.”
I kept my promise his family would have had fit. His sister was a dear friend of mine. She died a few years ago I kept and will keep my promise.
I was told Miss Ollie made a good income off her loans ,she reportedly had no defaulted loans.
The ladies that worked for Miss Ollie were all attractive and had a following.
In 1978 I had a chance to visit one of the ladies that worked for Miss Ollie in 1948 she was 21 when she worked in the house as one of Miss Ollie’s nieces. She told me all the ladies who worked in the house were treated with respect and love. Many a girl would fine true love working there. The other side of the coin one of the ladies was killed on her day off by a jealous wife. It was said the two timing husband was also killed. No charges were made against the wife. “No proof” she said “but we knew.”
“Now I want to clear up one thing a lot of the gentlemen just wanted to hug and talk. Of course there were other activities going on we weren’t saints we had a job.” she laughed,” but it was a fun time of my life.”
She went on to tell me her husband knew all about her past but loved her until the day he died. I visited her several times and got to know her family she passed away in the 80’s of cancer.
Miss Ollie closed the house in the early 50’s attitudes had changed there was no need of her services.Miss Ollie passed away May 12 1954. She left the majority of her funds to “her nieces”. Miss Ollie is buried in Riverside Cemetery.
Now it is said one of Mr. George Smith’s twins or both of them were said to have called around town informing gentleman that they were to serve as “Pallbearers”. None of the people they called accepted .
From some of the stories I have been told about Jack and Jerry Smith they were a pair of pranksters .Some these stories came directly from the Smith brothers.
Parts of this story was from research I did for a book I did not write in the 80’s..Some of the story appeared in Still Wandering Downtown 2004
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