Even as a child I was fascinated with history. For some reason I had never been all that interested in genealogy even though that is the record of where I came from, my family tree. I became more interested when an uncle traced those spreading limbs back into the 1500’s and claimed a French king as an ancestor. “Wow”, I thought. “I’m descended from royalty!” That puts a lot of stress on one’s shoulders, trying to maintain that regal attitude and bearing is harder than you would think. But now I’m off the hook after discovering that one of my forebearers was a true “Black Sheep.” You see, my great-great Aunt Augusta was a Madame. Not as a politician would address a female who happened to be the leader of the House of Representatives as “Madam Speaker”, or as a gentleman might respectfully greet a woman whom he admired. No, “Aunt Gusty” as she is referred to in our family history, was a real Madame who owned and ran a “House of Ill Repute” in Springfield, Ill. in the late 1800’s. There she was known as “Madame Brownie”.
Read the entire story in the latest edition of Living Here magazine.
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