Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

"Angel of San Antonio" weds longtime love

December 2nd, 1880

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On this day in 1880, Lottie Deno married Frank Thurmond in Silver City, New Mexico. Deno was born, most likely as Carlotta J. Thompkins, in Kentucky in 1844. After her father, a wealthy planter, was killed in the Civil War, her mother and sister sent Lottie to Detroit to find a husband, but Lottie, who had spent much time in casinos with her father, instead began a career as a professional gambler. She came to San Antonio in 1865 and became a house gambler at the University Club, where she became known as the "Angel of San Antonio." She also fell in love with Frank Thurmond, who went to West Texas after allegedly killing a man in an altercation during a game. Lottie soon followed him, gambling her way around West Texas before settling in Fort Griffin, where Frank was living under the alias Mike Fogerty. In Fort Griffin she began calling herself Lottie Deno. By 1877 she and Frank had moved on to New Mexico. From 1882 until Lottie's death in 1934, they lived in Deming, New Mexico, as upstanding and respected citizens. Frank became vice president of the Deming National Bank. Lottie gave up gambling and became a founding member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Deming. She was the prototype for Miss Kitty in the television series "Gunsmoke" and the subject of a 1959 biography by amateur historian J. Marvin Hunter.

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