The Story of Polly Bartlet: Wyoming’s first serial killer

Her name was Polly Bartlett, and her kill count was high enough to make the town of South Pass, Wyoming shake in their boots. In the 1860s, gold was discovered in the hills near South Pass, and the town grew exponentially into a boom town, and with the higher population, came higher crime.

Polly saw the boom as an opportunity, seeing the transient miners as vulnerable and thus, easy to exploit. Bartlett started an inn in South Pass, Wyoming’s most famous ghost town today, and when men would check in, often they wouldn’t check out.

Poison was her weapon of choice, and more than 20 men fell victim to Polly during her reign of terror. When the son of a wealthy man from the area disappeared, that reign came to an end. She was arrested, held in the Atlantic City Jail, but didn’t make it long before she was shot by the former boss of her final victim.

Today, South Pass is a ghost town, but it may have more ghosts than we realize thanks to Polly Bartlett.

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