Writing Tips        Vikings        Medieval History        Ancient Rome        Architecture        Old West        Travel        Vocabulary         

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Texas History - Lottie Deno, The Angel of San Antonio - #TidbitThursday


Welcome to one of my favorite columns of this blog - Historical Tidbit Thursdays!

I'm really excited to be able to share my research, my favorite reference books, shows or movies I've seen that inspire, as well as my passion for history with you in a quicker and more regular way. My focus will be on my current WIP (Work in Progress) - a western romance fiction novel. So I hope you enjoy!!

This post we will take a look at Carlotta J. Thompkins, known as Lottie Deno, "The Angel of San Antonio" who was one of the most notorious gamblers in the Old West.

Carlotta J. Thompkins was born in Warsaw, KY on April 24, 1844 to a family that owned race horses and participated in gambling. When her father died, as the eldest daughter, she went to Detroit to find a wealthy husband to take care of her family. Instead, she used her beauty and charm to get into the private gambling clubs and soon her winnings supported her mother and sister. She took on the alias Lottie Deno.

Lottie met another gambler, Johnny Golden, and together they worked riverboats. Former slave, Mary Poindexter, became Mary's body guard standing over seven feet tall. Eventually, Lottie made it to New orleans and made enough off the casinos to pay for her sister's education and to see them both to San Antonio, Texas in comfort.

June 1, 1865 she arrived in Alamo City and soon made the rounds in the gambling clubs - the Cosmopolitan Saloon, the Comanche Club, the Jockey Vlub, the Jack Harris Saloon, etc. She became known as "The Angel of San Antonio" for her beauty and skills. She was hired as a dealer at the University Club, owned by Frank, Bob and Harrison Thurmond. She remained there for three years until her ex-partner Johnny Golden showed up. Lottie disappeared and later appeared in Fort Concho as "Mystery Maud".

After several months, Lottie arrived at For Griffin on the banks of the Cler Fork River. She never drank or cursed. She rented a small shack on the edge of town. For Griffin was rough - more people were killed on the streets of "The Flat" as it was known than in the history of Dodge City or Tombstone. There were over a dozen saloons, gambling parlors, dance halls and houses of ill-repute despite having only 400 residents. The town became known as the "Town of Babel" for its wickedness. She played cards with men in her home before becoming a house dealer at the Beehive Saloon.

Evenytually, Johnny Golden was arrested for horse thievery and died on the way to the stockade. Lottie paid for his coffin and a new suit to bury him in.

Lottie moved to Kingston, a small village in southwest New Mexico where Frank Thurmond waited for her. They opened the Gem Saloon in Silver City. They married DEcember 2, 1880.

After an incident where Frank murdered a man in self-defence, they gave up gambling. Frank died June 4, 1908 and Lottie died February 9, 1934.

Book - "From Angels to Hellcats" by Don Blevins; ISBN#0-87842-443-1

No comments:

Post a Comment