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January 24, 2022

Preservation Thursday: Lucretia Marchbanks – “Aunt Lou”

DEADWOOD – Deadwood History, Inc. and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission will host a presentation by South Dakota Humanities Council’s Speakers Bureau Scholar Joyce Jefferson at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 10, 2022, at the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC), 150 Sherman Street, Deadwood. The event is free and wheelchair accessible. Please feel free to bring your lunch.

Lucretia Marchbanks: “Who Is Aunt Lou?” asked the New York Daily Stock Report of 1881. The Black Hills Daily Times of December 12, the same year reported, “We’ll Tell You Who She Is!” Lucretia Marchbanks, formerly enslaved by the Marchbanks family from Tennessee made her way to several gold rush sites before making her home in the Black Hills. This remarkable woman worked at a variety of hotels and boarding houses making a name for herself as being hard-working, dependable, a good judge of character, and humble. “Aunt Lou” as she was known in the Hills, purchased and operated the Rustic Hotel at the foot of Sawpit Gulch near early Deadwood. Even after selling her business, it was still called, “Aunt Lou’s.” A savvy businesswoman, she purchased a homestead, proved it up and retired comfortably in Rocky Ford, Wyoming.

Historical interpreter, Joyce Jefferson, brings a Chautauqua performance of Lucretia Marchbanks. In the Chautauqua style, Jefferson presents Lucretia Marchbanks as she tells stories about her life, and the audience can interact with “Aunt Lou” as if she were alive today. At the conclusion of the presentation, Jefferson breaks character and introduces herself and has a brief conversation with the audience.

Joyce Jefferson is well known for her storytelling and interpretation of South Dakota history. She brings to life early-day pioneers such as Sarah Campbell (Aunt Sally), Kathryne Reynolds, Lucretia Marchbanks, and other notable “Black Hills Sheroes.” Jefferson’s lively interpretations include singing, poetry, and narration. She was an artist in residence at Campbell County’s Rockpile Museum hosting the National African American RVer’s Association. Jefferson produced “Black Hills Sheroes” for the Road Scholars educational travel tours for the past three years.

Preservation Thursday is made possible by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, Deadwood History, Adams-Mastrovich Family Foundation, Deadwood Chamber & Visitors Bureau, Black Hills Pioneer, The Lodge at Deadwood, Silverado Franklin Historic Hotel & Gaming Complex, Saloon No. 10, and the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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We inspire the global community by preserving and celebrating the cultural heritage of Deadwood and the Black Hills in the context of the American West through exceptional exhibits, innovative educational programs, and access to extensive collections in unique settings.

Adams Museum, Days of '76 Museum, Historic Adams House, Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC), and The Brothel Deadwood.