Eleonore Alphonsine Dumant
France or New Orleans, Louisiana
|Cause of death||Suicide|
|Residence||American Frontier West|
|Other names||Madame Moustache, Simone Jules|
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Madame Moustache was the pseudonym of Eleanor Dumont (also called Eleonore Alphonsine Dumant), a notorious gambler on the American Western Frontier, especially during the California Gold Rush. Her nickname was due to the appearance of a line of dark hair on her upper lip.
She was thought to have been born in France and moved to America as a young woman.
She was an accomplished card dealer and made a living from twenty-one and other casino games. Moving from place to place, she was reported to work in Bodie, California; Deadwood, South Dakota; Fort Benton, Montana; Pioche, Nevada; Tombstone, Arizona; and San Francisco, California, among other places.
In Nevada City, California, she opened up the gambling parlor named "Vingt-et-un" on Broad Street. Only well-kept men were allowed in, and no women save herself. All the men admired her for her beauty and charm, but she kept them all a nice distance away. She was a very private lady, so she flirted, but only to keep the boys coming. Men came from all around to see the woman dealer - this was rare then - and considered it a privilege. The parlor found much success, so she decided to go into business with Dave Tobin, an experienced gambler. They opened up Dumont's Place, which was very successful until the gold started to dry up in Nevada City. She left Tobin and Nevada City for brighter things.
There was a brief period in Carson City where she bought a ranch and some animals. It was there that she fell in love with Jack McKnight, who conned her out of all of her money.
She moved around from city to city, gambling and building up her money again. Her age started to increase, and with that a lot of the beauty that once entranced miners, faded. This is when the famous mustache began to grow. She still drew crowds, though, and had a long-standing reputation for dealing fair.
She also added prostitution to her repertoire during these later years - she became a "madame" of a brothel in the 1860s. To promote her business, she would parade her girls around the town in carriages, showing off their beauty in broad daylight, much to the gasping of the 'proper' women.
Her last stop was Bodie, California. One night while gambling, she misjudged a play and suddenly owed a lot of money. That night she wandered outside of town and was found dead on September 8, 1879, of an overdose of morphine, apparently a suicide.
- Bodie Morning News. 9 September 1879. Missing or empty
- Piatt, Michael H. (March 2009). "The Death of Madame Mustache: Bodie's Most Celebrated Inhabitant". Retrieved 4 January 2011.
- Weiser, Kathy (January 2011). "Eleanore Dumont - Madame Mustache Plays to the West". Retrieved 21 March 2012.