Monday, July 3, 2017

Saints and Soundrels of Arizona - Gabrielle "Dollie" Wiley

Gabrielle “Dollie” Layral Dardley Presli Topp Fretz Melvin Wiley….and probably a few more was born I France in 1890.  She came to the US as a young teen working as a maid for an Italian family. 

In 1906, at the tender age of 15, she started her career as a prostitute in the Nevada gold fields.  She moved to Prescott, AZ in 1909.  She worked for Leonard Topp who abused her and beat her regularly.  One day he asked her to marry him, and the next day he stole all her jewelry and ran off with another woman.  Dollie tracked him down in Los Angeles.  She found him in a bar, pulled out a revolver and shot him in the chest, killing him.  In a spectacular trial, she was acquitted, winning the jury, media and everyone else’s sympathies

She returned to Prescott and continued in the prostitution business, only now was the Madam.  She married many times as her husbands seem to die quickly and frequently.

One evening, in 1928, she went to see a silent movie at Prescott’s Elks Theater and found it was about her and the murder of Leonard Topp.  Outraged, she sued the movie producer and studio, and WON $50,000!  It was this lawsuit that led to the Privacy Act which is in place to this day.
 Dollie’s hair was always dyed a bright red.  She dressed in the most elegant fashions, from head to toe, but Dollie’s love was diamonds.  She was dripping with them when she would go out – necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets.  It is rumored she had the largest collection of diamonds in the state of Arizona.

A number of years and husbands later, Dollie would marry for the last time.  It was 1937 and the husband was George Wiley from Salome, AZ.  George had a number of tourist type businesses and Dollie set up her business as well.  George died a few years later of suicide by rat poisoning.  Dollie’s best friend, Mae Grisson, also died mysteriously at the same time.  Mae was in the hospital recovering from a minor accident, which involved both George and Dollie.  She died mysteriously the day before she was to be released – after a visit from Dollie.

Dollie retired after George’s death.  He left her enough money to comfortably.  She remained in Salome until her death in 1962 at the age of 72.  Six men connected in some way with Dollie (and probably more) were either shot, poisoned or died under mysterious circumstances. 

The old saying – “What goes around, comes around” – maybe not in Dollie’s case!

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I hope you ejoyed my story of Saints and Scoundrels in Arizona.  I love Arizona history!

Have you heard of our new series - Sweethearts of Juilee Springs?  NO?  Go on over and check them out at

My story, The Sheriff and the Miner's Daughter, is Book 4 in the series.
Jim Hawkins, sheriff of Jubilee Springs, watches as six ladies get off the train, ready to meet and hopefully marry men from the Prosperity Mine.

He watches as one of the women leave the group and heads his way. She is there to find somebody. Sheriff Hawkins is more than happy to help her until he finds out the person is Amos Lehman. He is a crusty old miner who has worked his mine before the town was even a town. His cabin is old and hardly enough room for one, let alone a female.

When Jim suggests she get back on the train and go back where she came from, he gets a small taste of the stubbornness in the beautiful young woman standing in front of him. Charlene Lehman had come way to far to do that and doesn’t appreciate the sheriff’s interference. Blue eyes scan him from boots to hat before dismissing him and walking away.

The Sheriff’s interest is piqued. Who is this girl? Why is she looking for some old miner?

There is more to this story and Jim Hawkins intends to find the answers. 

1 comment:

  1. It seemed to take all kinds to populate the West. Dollie was one of the ones we seem to remember. *Smile* Doris