Handwriting is everything when there is very little to identify a photograph. This cabinet card is one of those frustrating situations where everything should fall into place, but doesn't because you're unable to decipher, with certainty, the surname of the subject.
At first, I thought the gentleman's surname was "Gifoe." But, after plunking "Gifoe" into Ancestry and coming up with only one (and highly suspect) hit on the surname Gifoe, I abandoned that idea, at least temporarily. If not "Gifoe," what could it be? Next I tried "Gifre" which provided a few hits, with one single Charles Gifre (d. Kentucky at age 87 in 1918.) But before I could begin to look further into this possibility, I needed to consider the photographer.
The reverse of the cabinet card does provide us with a photographer's name: Jas. Whited, Cosmopolitan Studio. A location isn't given. A search of various photographer's indexes didn't yield any photographers by the name of James Whited.
It's usually at this point in a fruitless search that I put the photo aside for another day. Perhaps a reader has crossed paths with the Jas. Whited Cosmopolitan Studio in their research. If so, I'd be so happy to hear from you.
Update: December 18/11: I've received two other suggestions from readers about Charles' last name: Gipe & Gisse. What do you think? Are these contenders?