Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Card Dealer' Grave

The oldest (marked) tombstone in the City Cemetery, here in Lake City, CO, belongs to a once well liked card dealer .

There obviously are graves that were older than his in the cemetery, like the one above. Although, they were marked only by fences, and wooden tombstones; their  messages which were craved or painted on, lost after time.

The card dealer's granite headstone is in fairly good shape though, except it has broken off from it's footing and is leaning up against a tree. Ben was a faro dealer in one of Lake City's dance halls. He was 28yrs old at the time of  his death in 1876 due to congestion of the lungs. One of his best friends approached the minister of the local Presbyterian Church, and asked if he would preach his funeral? Most ministers in town, at that time, felt like the people who worked in, or frequented such places were fallen souls. Notes from the minister, still in possession  today, indicates that the minister replied " I never touch a dead dog, If I can't say any good of him, I say nothing". It is recorded that all stores in town were closed for the funeral, and the church was standing room only. His tombstone was carved by a good friend, who was a respected citizen of this town, and held a high political office in the state of Colorado.

Faro was a card game popular in gambling halls in 19th century America. Traced all the way back to the 17th century France, where it was called Pharaoh. It was an easy game to learn, and just as easy to cheat, by both dealer and player. The game in the U.S. was also referred to as" bucking the tiger" or "twisting the tigers tail", and was played in both Reno and Las Vegas until 1985.


  1. Given his line of work and the times, I'm surprised the fellow didn't die of less natural causes than lung congestion!

  2. so young to die. glad he was thought of well.

  3. Dearest Janey,
    What a fate for a very young person!
    One never knows and it often surprises who will come out to pay their last respect, regardless to the minister's words.

  4. That is quite a story and some history of your place with the gambling. Nice to read.