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PAGE 12

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by Jerry Adams, copyright 1998

the token:

GOOD FOR / ONE DRINK / CATTLE EXCHANGE / NAT KRAMER / PROPR.

(cow's head facing right)

white metal - round -24mm  (circa: 1884, Ft. Worth, Texas)(est. value: $120)

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Nat Kramer is listed as running the Cattle Exchange Saloon at 301 Houston street in Ft. Worth in the 1884 Texas Gazetteer.

A recent book entitled Hell's Half Acre by Richard Selcer, shed new light on Mr. Nat Kramer, proprietor of the Cattle Exchange saloon. Evidently Mr. Kramer was something of a dandy, if not a gentleman. He began his career as a riverboat gambler on the Mississippi and Red Rivers. Not long after the Civil war he settled in the sleepy town of Fort Worth, but traveled the gambling circuit through Dodge City, Abilene, Austin and Dallas. A close friend of Luke Short, Nat was listed at various times as "liquor dealer" or "speculator". The things that set him apart from the typical gambler was that he never carried a weapon, or took a drink. This was truly an unusual gambler in the 1880's in Texas. By avoiding the quarrels, guns and liquor, he stretched his gambling career to fifty years, dying peacefully in Ft. Worth in 1905. Just before he died, a friend asked Nat what he would say to St. Peter regarding his life at the tables, Nat replied, "I am just going to tell him that I have helped some and I have skinned some. Those I have skinned could afford it, and those I helped needed it maybe."

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updated 5 feb 2000