What ever happened to “Big Minnie” of Tombstone?

ask-the-marshall.Dave Hayhurst

Moline, Illinois

Maulda Branscomb stood over six feet tall and weighed 230 lbs. Once you saw her, you never forgot her.

Maulda sang, played the piano, danced ballet and was a hooker. But she was no mere dainty. She was also a bouncer for the Bird Cage Theatre. Once when a troublemaker pulled a six-gun on her, she picked him up over her head and tossed him into the middle of Allen Street.

Later on, she married the Bird Cage’s owner, Joe Gignon, who billed her as “Big Minnie: Six Feet of Loveliness in Pink Tights.” When Tombstone began to fade, the couple moved to the new mining town of Pearce, a few miles away. You’ll find her tombstone in the local cemetery but there’s no mention of “Big Minnie.” It reads “Maulda Bignon” and has an image of the Pearly Gates opening to let her in. I hope they opened wide enough to let her through, cause she was quite a wide lady.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His books include The Arizona Trilogy and Law of the Gun.

If you have a question, write:

Ask the Marshall

PO Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327

or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@sccmail.maricopa.edu

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.