Photo credit: gamblingherald.com
Born: Carlotta J. Thompkins
Lived: April 21, 1844–February 9, 1934
Areas: Texas, New Mexico
Born Carlotta J. Thompkins, this wild woman was so skilled at poker that she was eventually given the name “Deno,” which was a shortened version of dinero (“money”). Unlike many women who made names for themselves living on the edge of the law during this time, Carlotta was from a wealthy family and from parents who gave her ample care and affection.
She learned to play cards by spending time with her father, a successful gambler and horse breeder. After he was killed in the Civil War, Lottie began her own career at the poker table.
She quickly added fugitive-companion to her resume when she fell in love with Frank Thurmond, also a professional gambler. He was accused of murder, and the two of them went on the lam, happily using poker to support their lifestyle.
The pair ended up in Fort Griffin, a quintessential cowboy town, and became friends with Doc Holliday. Fearful of being caught, Lottie and Frank hid their relationship until they were married years later. In Fort Griffin, Lottie’s fame grew as a poker player who was not to be challenged. She became the subject of songs, paintings, novels, and numerous short stories.
Lottie and Frank were a couple with their eyes on the big picture. They eventually married in 1880, used their savings to invest in a number of legit businesses, and settled in New Mexico. There, they became leaders in their community. Their later life found Frank as the vice president of a bank and Lottie as the cofounder of a hospital.
Well, I reckon that a person can change...especially given enough time and money. Nice to know they became useful members of their community.
Coffee in the kitchen again today. Sorry about that!