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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Beyond the Book: Cowgirls

Welcome to today's edition of Beyond the Book. In honor of my Rest Thy Head heroine Peyton O'Malley who moved to Wyoming and learned to ride a horse, I'm sharing a few posts about famous cowgirls of the old west. My character today is Poker Alice.

Alice was born in England in 1853. She and her family moved to Colorado where she married Frank Duffield who taught her to play poker. He was miner, and after he died in a mining accident, Alice turned to poker to make a living. Look at that dead pan expression on her face. I bet she could bluff with the best of them.

She eventually traveled all over the west, gambling as she went and winning regularly, sometimes as much as $6000.00 at one time. In Deadwood, Colorado, where she spent most of her time she met and married her long time husband Warren G. Tubbs. Tubes wasn't much of a poker player. He was an artist. I wonder if she ever let him win when they played cards. He eventually died of tuberculosis. They were broke, so she pawned her wedding ring to pay for his funeral.

Alice wasn't through with men yet. She left Deadwood and ended up in Sturgis where she met her third and final husband George Huckert. He died not too long after their marriage, leaving Alice broke and alone. She went back to gambling to support herself. She ran a poker house and made bootleg whiskey, but when she was shut down during Prohibition. Ever resourceful, she started a house of ill repute for soldiers at Fort Meade.

During the last years of her life she became somewhat eccentric. She wore old faded clothes and a beat up hat, but she still continued to deal cards until her death in 1930. She's buried in the St. Aloysius Cemetery in the Black Hills.

Picture:By The black-and-white photo is courtesy of the South Dakota Historical Society ( [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


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