April 10, 2022
One of my favorite feisty females of the Wild West is Charlott Mignon Crabtree.
She's better known as Lotta Crabtree, born in 1847. She came West with her mother, Mary Ann, to join the latter's husband, and the former's father, who was a California gold seeker in 1851. Trained by a neighbor, Lola Montez ("What Lola wants, Lola gets"), at the age of six, Lotta became known as the "happy scamp," performing in mining camps up and down the coast of California and then into Nevada after the silver strikes. Her mother Mary Ann was her manager and she collected all the money, in gold, and carried her earnings in a huge bag. Lotta soon conquered all of America and became known as "The Nation's Darling." By the 1880s she was the highest paid actress in the States earning up to $5,000 a week. Her mother's big bag gave way to a steamer trunk and when that became impossible to carry, she started investing in real estate, race horses and bonds. The Crabtrees began supporting local charities, one of which, the Massachusetts Society for Aiding Discharged Prisoners is still receiving annual grants to this day!
In terms of her accomplishments and career she is closer to Madonna than Nellie Cashman but I love it that her mother ran the who shebang and was her chaparone, which means she didn't have a lot of time for hanky panky.
Lotta retired at the age of 45 and when she died in 1924 she left an estate worth $4 million dollars and established trusts to benefit veterans and others that still exists today! Oh, and her father never made a dime prospecting.
I would really like to see her on the cover of our forthcoming book on Misbehavin' Women and I have been trying to come up with something wild and crazy and different from the usual Miss Behavin' females who are portrayed in books and on the screen.
Daily Whip Out: "A Whole Lotta Love"
As mentioned, Lotta's mother discouraged her daughter from dating and although she had hordes of admirers, she never married. It's not clear, but when it comes to hanky panky, I think it's safe to say she had her share.
"My baby does the hanky panky, yeah, my baby does the hanky panky. My baby does the hanky panky. My baby does the hanky panky. Hey, my baby does the hanky panky."
—Tommy James & The Shondells, the first and second verse to their hit "Hanky Panky"