For the record, I don’t believe for one minute Sallie Jollett Clift was a black sheep. But she has a bit of a reputation in our family lore. Not deserved, I say.
|11 May 1872 - 7 Jul 1944|
Those whispering behind her back said she ran a house of ill-repute. I understand how that rumor got started.
Sallie and her husband George divorced in 1914. What’s a woman to do? She took in boarders. In 1920 and in 1930, she is listed as a keeper of a public boarding house.
|George and Sallie Clift|
with children Vernon and Daisy
who died in a fire in 1897
In 1920, the two boarders listed worked for the railroad. Now I can see how maybe these men invited women “to see their etchings,” but there’s nothing to suggest Sallie was acting as a madam.
In 1930, no boarders are listed at all. Sallie’s grandchildren were there. I doubt she could run a bawdy house with babies under foot. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
The other reason I don’t think she was a black sheep is that Sallie was present at all the family reunions posing happily with her sisters. Mary Frances Jollett Davis was a church-going woman who had her own hymnal. Emma Jollett Coleman dressed in the dark somber clothing associated with the Dunkards, and her husband was the official prayer-deliverer at family events. I doubt these two would have tolerated Sallie’s presence if she was up to no good.
|Standing: Laura Sullivan, Victoria Breeden, |
Sallie Clift, Mary Frances Davis
Seated: Emma Coleman
|Victoria Breeden, Sallie Clift, Mary Frances Davis, |
Leanna Knight, Laura Sullivan, Emma Coleman
|Standing: Emma Coleman, Laura Sullivan, Mary |
Mary Frances Davis, Sallie Clift, Victoria Breeden,
Burton Lewis Jollett
Seated: James Franklin Jollett and Eliza Coleman Jollett
Of course, this is just my take on it. If Sallie was running a brothel, then it’s because she was doing what she could to take care of her sons, daughter, and grandchildren. Maybe that would make her a grey sheep.