©2019 by Kaytlin Bailey and Justine McLellan. 

  • Justine McLellan

Lizzie Lape, the Ohio Madam


Lizzie Lape, née Elizabeth Rogers, was born in 1853 in Kentucky. She ran at least six brothels in her lifetime and had eight husbands. Her full name was Lizzie Rogers-Lape-Huffman-Larzelere-DeWitt-Veon-Shetler-France, and her tumultuous life was covered at the time by newspapers, who aimed to capitalize on the perceived lasciviousness of her business.


At a very young age, Lizzie left her home state for Chicago, where she set up shop in the red light district. She met her first husband there, Jeremiah Lape, and together they left Illinois for Ohio. The couple settled in Plain City, where they had a baby boy, Henry Arville Lape. They then divorced, and Lape married the manager of a Junction House in Lima, where she resumed her occupation as brothel madam. Her second husband was a thief, and while she reaped the benefits of this thieving, wearing stolen silk dresses and jewelry, she also suffered the consequences of his crimes; she was incarcerated.


After her release, she left Lima and her second husband and headed for Marion, Ohio, where she bought a saloon, the White Pigeon, and a building called “The Red House”. Both buildings served liquor, food, gambling, and offered full service sex work.


In 1889, Lizzie was arrested for “keeping houses of ill repute” , and was sentenced to sixty days in a workhouse. After her release, her first husband, Jeremiah Lape, sued her for child support. She moved to Akron, and ran The Halfway House, a prosperous business that was, as was her specialty, part saloon, part gambling den, and part brothel.


Her great-grand-daughter wrote a book about her, Looking For Lizzie – The True Story of an Ohio Madam, Her Sporting Life and Hidden Legacy . There are no records of the latter part of her life- after her highly publicized conversion to christianity, her trail ran cold. Looking For Lizzie – The True Story of an Ohio Madam, Her Sporting Life and Hidden Legacy



SOURCES


Debra Lape "Looking For Lizzie – The True Story of an Ohio Madam, Her Sporting Life and Hidden Legacy"