The Legend of La Tules

La Tules

She was beautiful, or, she was a toothless hag. She had coal-black hair, or, she had a shock of red hair. She was from Sonora, Mexico, or France. She was reviled by uptight anglos and she was revered by many in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she reaped a fortune from travelers on the Santa Fe Trail in the 1820s and 30s. What is agreed upon is that Maria Gertrudis Barcelo, known as La Tules (either a Spanish diminutive of Gertrudas, or a reference to her figure, tules being Spanish for reed, as in, thin as a reed) ran a gambling saloon in Santa Fe and she won many a monte game because of her distracting beauty and her ability to read the minds of the men she played against. When she died, in 1852, she left a fortune ($10,000) and several houses, and a legend to rival any woman in the world.

Related Posts

  • Early Western stars Tom Mix and William S. Hart were both fascinated by the Old…

  • The story goes that Catholic nun Sister Blandina Segale had a run-in with Billy the…

  • One of the enduring, outrageous legends in Arizona is that a demonic, rogue camel with…