The Murder of Jennie Bauters

Heather Monroe
7 min readOct 14, 2019

The life and tragic death of Belgian Jennie, Arizona’s wealthiest madam.

Madam Jennie Bauter’s place, Jennie is top and center. Public Domain Photograph

Jennie Bauter's early life is a mystery. Before she became the richest woman in Arizona, she gave birth to a son in Brussels. Jennie and her fourteen-year-old boy, John Phillippe, immigrated to America in July of 1896. She put her son in a Chicago boarding school and ventured out west to the boom-town of Jerome, Arizona.

Jerome is nestled precariously in the Mingus Mountains of Yavapai County. Copper mining boomed in Jerome around 1876, and prostitutes moved in before the miners erected tents. Miners called these ladies “Blanket Whores” since they often conducted business outdoors on blankets.

Jennie arrived in Jerome before any real structures existed. Belgian Jennie had three strikes against her; she was an immigrant, unmarried, and a woman. Yet On October 21, 1896, she was able to secure a mortgage on three parcels of land, where she built a wooden building. On paper, this building served as a boarding house for women. In reality, it was a brothel she named Jennie’s Place.

Jennie’s Place

Working girls in Jerome, Arizona-Public Domain

Jennie’s place wasn’t the only house of ill repute in Jerome, but it was the grandest. Jerome had a redlight district mixed right in with jewelry shops and dry-goods mercantile stores. The other brothels had women, just like Jennie, but she had a unique knack for the business. Madam Jennie knew how to hold a man’s gaze while he waited for one of her girls in the parlor. She often sat down and drank whiskey or played cards while they carried on conversations and engaged in non-sexual ways.

Jennie was undoubtedly the lady in charge, and it seems she had prior experience working a bordello. She was past the prime age for prostitution, and she knew it. Rather than have her girls rent out rooms like the other saloons and boarding houses, she provided them shelter and protection as long as they were willing to work.

Life of a boom-town working girl was far from glamorous. Prostitutes had a lot to be fearful of, as they typically acquired a sexually transmitted disease within a year. They also feared…



Heather Monroe

Welcome readers! Heather Monroe is a genealogist and writer who resides in California with her partner and their nine children. •True Crime• History• Memoir•