Maria Helena Dolan, April 8, 2021
A Massachusetts native, Dr. Marie Equi was born into an Italian and Irish home. She spent much of her early life in Italy. As a 21-year-old, she moved with her “Boston Marriage” wife, Bess Holcomb, to The Dalles, Oregon, in 1893.
Bess had been offered work there as a teacher. According to subsequent newspaper accounts, Holcomb’s employer, Reverend Orson D. Taylor, refused to pay the promised $100 salary. In a heated and loud confrontation, Marie threatened to publicly beat him with a horse whip.
And she carried out her threat! Regrettably, Bess didn’t receive the promised $100, but the community very much supported this action, and so the whip was raffled off. Marie and Bess received the proceeds, which exceeded $100.