The Junior Historian, Volume 7, Number 3, December 1946 Page: 1
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* THE JUNIOR HISTORIAN
m'(I.. VII. No. 3 AUSTIN, TEXAS I)ECEMEIIR, 1946
THE SAGA OF LOTTIE DENO
by l ll)n GIENE LIPh Shoo
Albany High Schoo
(RIA deall of legen(lary his-
tor is 0111 connecte(l with Fort
(riflin and Shackelfford County.
Some of the accounts have been re-
c(r(le(l 1by writers, lbut the greater part
of thellm have 1)eeln handle ( ldowln 1by
w ord of moltltll. (One f the most fas-
cinating tales of Fort Griffin is the
story of I Ottice l)eno, whose life is one
of the unsolved mysteries of the Texas
In the spring of the year 1877, Fort
(Griffin was fast l)ecOlm)ing a prlolsperous
frontier settlement. Fort Griffin was
the main provisioning point for the
trail (drivers on the Dodge City Trail
as well as headquarters for the many
groups of buffalo hunters who were
operating all over West Texas. The
army post, 0 n a hill overlooking the
town, made Fort (;rifil the theoretical
center of law and order for West
Texas; buht the town or "flat," a:s
it was called, was far from orderly
an(l not at all lawful. Thl'e buffalo hunt-
ers and their skinners (rifting into
Fort Griffin were loaded to the hilt with
money, and cowboys going up the trail
with plenty of money to spend distrib-
uted( it recklessly.
Noon in Iort (riffin was the time of
(lay when people took it easy after the
activities (of the night before. Shades
were drawn, and(l most activity was at a
lull. ()nly the saloon and (lance hall
owners were at \vrk, Ieginning prepa-
ration for the night's business.
I'wo soldiers from the fort were
sleeping off a (drunk on the boardwalk
in frIont of Jones and l Rush's saloon.
A little boy and his ldog were playing
in front of the Planter Ilotel, awaiting
the arrival of the Jacksboro stage, an
event which usually proved to be of
As was frequently the case, the
stagecoach was late, having encountered
difficulties en route. Upon entering the
"flat," the sole (ccupant of the stage-
coach glanced curiouslv through the
window and breathed a sigh of relief;
the jounev had been long and tiring.
The driver pulled up in front of the
hotel, and a woman stepped from the
coach into the street of Fort Griffin.
She was a good-looking woman, somle-
where in her twenties. Her clothes wem
elaborate and expensive, and she had
the appearance of a gentlewomlman.
IPausing only long enough to see
about h'r baggage, she walked into the
hotel. T['he lobby was empty except for
the sleeping clerk. She stood looking
at her surroundings for a moment; then
rousing the clerk, she registered. After
she had gone to her room, the curious
clerk glanced at the register book. In
a neat hand was written Lottie Deno.
She gave no address.
I.ottie's stay at the hotel was short.
She got a shanty in the vicinity of oth-
er women's residences along the river.
Although from the outside Lottie's
shanty looked no) different from the
manyV other shanties, the interior was
strikingly beautiful. Deep plush car-
pets co\ ered the floor, and heavy velvet
draped he windows. The furniture was
expensive, and it was evident that it
had been chosen with care.
Settling down to life at IFort Griffin,
she went about the streets neatly
dressed. At times she took the Jacks-
boro stage for Fort \\orth and D)allas
on shopping tours. Often these trips
lasted Iwo or three weeks, and upon
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Texas State Historical Association. The Junior Historian, Volume 7, Number 3, December 1946, periodical, December 1946; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth391285/m1/3/: accessed April 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.