Knott was born Elinore Marie Darby on
September 19, 1912 to Chester Darby and Ada Mae Lusk Darby.
Her death certificate says she was born in Colorado
Springs, while a marriage license says Denver.
Her family later moved to Wisconsin.
It is believed
that Elinore’s mother died giving birth to her, and her father
was an alcoholic who used to beat her when she was young and
blamed Elinore for his wife’s death.
It is not known for sure when Elinore arrived in Butte,
but it is thought she was very young.
She began working at the Dumas Brothel, and eventually
worked her way up to madam and owner.
In January 1955,
Elinore confided in a letter to her friend Liz who lived in
Spokane that she was selling the Dumas to Jean “Dirty Mouth
Jean” Sorenson, and leaving Butte with her boyfriend in
February. She told Liz that they would be traveling to Spokane
February 8th. She asked if they could stay with Liz for a few
days until they found a place of their own.
She would not say who her boyfriend was, but only that
Liz would be really surprised when she found out.
found dead in her room at the Dumas Brothel
on February 7, 1955.
The police said it was suicide. Rumor was that
Elinore’s boyfriend did not come for her as expected and she
was so distraught that she committed suicide. There are many
people that do not believe the suicide theory. Elinore’s death
certificate states the cause of death was Coronary
Elinore’s boyfriend was apparently was a well-known business
man in Butte and was married as well. It was never known
who this man was, but Elinore believed him when he said that he
was getting a divorce and they would go away together.
report says that she had only $40 in her possession and no other
assets other than an old suitcase packed with her clothing. No
mention of suicide in the coroner's report. In a letter to her
friend Liz, Elinore said she had plenty of money. So what
happened to her money she said she had? And, if she did
indeed sell the Dumas, where was that money? It has been said
that she owned a red Cadillac convertible and a Harley Davidson
Motorcycle (that she had never learned to ride). She had jewels
and furs too. Where
were her possessions? These are a few of the reasons that
some believed she was murdered.
To this day, the
talk around town is that her ghost resides at the Dumas.
There are stories of her ghostly appearance having been seen
throughout the building.
was buried in Mountain
View Cemetery, Butte, Montana, on February 9, 1955.
Coroner’s Report, Marriage License, Baptism Record, Death
Certificate, and Venus
Alley written by Rudy Giecek.