Marie Fourbon was born in Paris, France in 1852 but as a young girl moved to Canada. As a young woman, she rode behind a team of oxen into San Bernardino traversing an overland journey from Manitoba. Rumors suggested she was forced to move from San Bernardino to Redlands after many bouts with the local law enforcement. She arrived in Redlands in 1895 and was known as Mrs. David Davies.
She bought land on Sylveria Street and opened a restaurant with additional small housing for one night boarders and furnished room renters. Sylveria Street was then named Third Street but the 1890 Sanborn insurance maps show the original name. Sylveria Street was mostly between the railroad tracks and attracted poor working men with a scattering of tramps. Her restaurant proved popular and soon had a regular clientele of business men and women from all over town.
Sylveria Street neighborhood on 1925 Sanborn Map
Marie Fourbon Davies dropped her husband’s last name when they divorced in 1903. She would have several marriages that all ended in divorce. Since she was from France and spoke with a heavy French-accent. The use of “Madame” usually preceded her first name which led to some historians to think she ran a house of prostitution. All her arrests never included prostitution.
The City Trustees in Redlands passed a prohibition ordinance in 1896. Madame Fourbon flaunted the ordinance by establishing a “blind pig.” This term meant she sold alcoholic beverages on the sly covering the operation by running a restaurant. The Citrograph first noted this operation July 25, 1903. Judge Gifford found Mrs. Alphonse Fourbon and Mrs. Albert Fourbon guilty and fined her $150. Madame Fourbon paid the fines while giving the press an assortment of names in the process. Her fourteenth arrest took place in 1919. The substantial fine led Fourbon to sell six lots she owned in the Columbia subdivision north of Pearl Street.
Madame Fourbon was a “respected” business woman. She ended up owning six homes on Third Street plus a thriving restaurant. Her fines did much to finance the City of Redlands government. In her later years she traveled through town in an electrified wheel-chair. Her reputation became that of a folk-hero in the business district. She never spent a single night in jail. Madame Anna Fourbon died at the age of 83 on July 17, 1935. She is buried in Hillside Memorial Cemetery with all the saints and sinners of Redlands.
Jure-Fourbon Family, 1916
Madame Fourbon, 1918
Madame Fourbon with Gus, Anna and Leon Jure, Jr.