Monday, March 11, 2013

Josephine Doody

On the way to isolated Harrison Lake, in the wilderness area on the southern border of Glacier National Park, lie the ruins of a secret cabin. The area is extremely difficult to access because you have to cross the Middle Fork of the Flathead and there is only a short time when it’s not frozen or deep. The remote cabin was home to Josephine Doody, a woman even more notorious than Calamity Jane. And unlike calamity, the events of her life are not disputed. John Fraley, in his book Wild River Pioneers, details Josephine’s adventures. Around 1890. Josephine shot a man in Colorado, she claimed in self-defense. Awaiting trial, she fled to MacCarthyville, Montana, a railroad town Montana along James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railway. There, as a dance hall girl, she met Dan Doody who fell for her. But Josephine had an opium addiction. So Dan kidnapped her, tied her to a mule, took her to his homestead on the Flathead River and locked her in to dry out.

Josephine Doody in front of her cabin on the Flathead. Photo courtesy Glacier National Park.
Josephine survived and took up moonshining. Dan kept a tiny cabin where she could hide when the revenue officers of Colorado lawmen came looking for her. James Hill built a siding to the Doody place, and the engineer would blow the whistle once for each quart of moonshine the engineers wanted. Dan was one of the first park rangers at Glacier, but was soon fired because he liked to poach the game.

Dan Doody. Photo courtesy Glacier National Park.
He died in 1919, and Josephine stayed in the two-story homestead, keeping guest rooms and leading occasional fishing parties. She died in 1936 after a long, colorful life.

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