Thursday, December 11, 2014

Madame Mustache - Eleanore Dumont

(Madame Mustache) - Eleanore Dumont
  Eleanore Dumont was born in New Orleans about 1829. She was one of the first blackjack players in the old west. For over thirty years she made her name famous in mining towns across the west. In 1849 as a pretty petite lady, she took on the alias of Simone Jules and traveled out to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. She worked at a place called the Bella Union where she became a gambler well known for her ability to handle stress, her elegant dignity, and aloofness.  She was fired for card sharping but she had made a lot of money in the meantime. In 1854 she traveled to Nevada City California where she walked around town for days dressed to kill and decked out in  her best jewels. She became the talk of the town. Her antics were designed to prepare the town for the grand opening of her gambling emporium. It was a high class establishment and men were encouraged to be well groomed and well behaved. Women were not allowed inside or to loiter outside. Eleanore was the main attraction but she kept men at a distance and was not known to have a lover. Finally in 1857 the gold dried up and she bought a ranch in Carson City Nevada. There she met a man named Jack McKnight who swept her off her feet. He was a handsome, smooth talking, well dressed man who claimed to be a cattle buyer. In reality he was a con man. Less than a month later he left with all of her money selling her ranch and leaving her with all outstanding debts.

  Starting over she was forced to return to the mining camps and gambling. She would end up in towns too numerous to mention, but the most famous of them was Tombstone Arizona. When she was a pretty young woman miners and cowboys admired her virtue and the fact that she would not allow cursing in her presence. As time went on she lost her figure and looks. When she reached middle age she grew a mustache. Men began to use fowl language in her presence and she became hardened to it. Her own language and behavior deteriorated. In the 1860's she opened bordello's and became a madame. This is when she earned the name Madame Mustache. On one occasion two men approached her and demanded her purse. She told the men that they would not take her purse. She then reached under her skirt, took out a derringer and dropped one of the men in the street.. The other man took off running. While in Ft. Benton Montana she was dealing cards when she noticed a steamboat getting ready to dock and unload passengers. She heard that there was smallpox on board and brandishing two pistols she met the boat and warned the captain not to stop. In 1879,she was in Bodie California.  After a run of bad luck she lost 300 dollars that she had borrowed to open her table. Without telling anybody she walked about a mile outside of town. There she drank red wine spiked with morphine. A note was found on her body telling  how she wanted her property to be dispersed and that "She was tired of living".A miner  wrote a heart felt eulogy of her life that was published in papers across the country... “Poor Madame Moustache!  Her life was as square a game as was ever dealt. The world played against her with all sorts of combinations, but she generally beat it. The turn was called on her at last for a few paltry hundred; she missed the turn, none of the old boys were there to cover the bet for her, and she passed in her checks, game to the last.  Poor Madame Moustache” She was buried in Bodie but the location of her grave is unknown.
         

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