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Poker Alice

Poker Alice: She was foul-mouthed, smoked a cigar, and sipped rock-gut whiskey from a shot glass while she played poker.

Poker alice

She played poker in several saloons throughout the southwest, and was good enough to walk away with some big pots. She sipped whiskey from a shot glass, usually had a cigar in her mouth, and was proficiently foul-mouthed to hold her own with the boys. She also had a revolver sitting on the table next to her cocked and ready for action. During a late-night game one of the players got up from the table, and walked behind the man she was playing. Alice noticed this man was about to stick a knife in his back, and with one eye on her cards and the other on the knife she reached for her revolver and fired a bullet into his forehead. He dropped the knife, and dropped to the floor in a pool of blood. A couple of bartenders carried him away, and with a slight smile Alice went back to her cards.

Mail Delivery circa 1837.

Alexis Clermont was hired to walk a 240-mile route along the Green Bay Military Trail from Green Bay to Chicago, and a round trip took about a month. He traveled with an Oneida Indian with Clermont carrying a 60-pound sack of mail, musket, and bag of parched corn along with a knife, blanket, and snowshoes. His helper carried their provisions, and they shot squirrels and rabbits for food and slept under the stars.

Clermont earned $60 to $65 per trip plus 25¢ per letter, which in those days was paid by the recipient, and he used this extra money to pay for meals along the way when there wasn’t wild game or birds to catch and cook along the trail. There was no such thing as an “envelope” in those days so letters were folded and sealed with wax, and instead of a postage stamp, 25¢ was written next to the address, which was his pay for delivering the mail. Clermont’s route began in Chicago where he collected hundreds of letters that had come there from the Detroit Post Office, and once a plank road was completed it only took 30 hours for the mail to arrive by stagecoach from Detroit to Milwaukee.


When rabbits, porcupines, or squirrels became scarce, Clermont and his companion went hungry, and depended on the kindness of others. But owing to the large number of deadbeat’s traveling along the Green Bay Military Trail, settlers were leery of unexpected and unwanted visitors. “For the greater part of our diet we relied upon the Indians or what game we could kill; the bags of corn were merely to fall back on in case the Indians had moved away, as they were apt to on hunting and fishing expeditions. At night we camped in the woods wherever darkness overtook us and slept on the blankets which we carried on our backs.


“On the way I came across a house where a woman lived alone. I asked for breakfast, at the same time telling her I was penniless, but being the mail carrier, I would pay her upon my return. ‘We don’t trust!’ On I walked to a house nearby where another woman lived alone. This time in asking for breakfast I did not tell of my lack of money until after the meal was eaten, and the women had given me a pair of stockings and mended one of my moccasins. When I admitted my condition, her eyes blazed and she hit me over the head with a broom.”

Everything came by mail including mail order brides.

Everything came by mail including mail order brides.

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