May 27, 2011

Summons for Soapy Smith, 1894: Artifact #35

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Artifact #35 is a summons for Soapy, James Bush, and Henry C. Ballsinger to appear before Justice of the Peace, J. E. Harper at his office, regarding a complaint by Frank Betz and Company and their co-partner, Roland Minott for an unknown legal matter. An educated guess would be that James F. Betz and/or Roland Minott came to Denver on business or pleasure and fell victim to one of Soapy's traps, and now he and his partners were seeking justice without going to court and dragging the company name into the newspapers. Those of you who read my book will recognize this all too familiar chain of events. This item is one of the few that did not receive recognition in my book due to a lack of information.

The Players

  • Soapy Smith: Needs no introduction.
  • James Bush: According to the Rocky Mountain News James S. Bush managed The Midway saloon at 1703 Larimer, located in the Chever Block. His name is mention in Soapy's published poem, Billy Larimer.
  • Henry C. Ballsinger: Currently an unknown gang member who may borrowed the Ballsinger name posing as the Colorado politician of the same name. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the real Henry C. Ballsinger (spelled Balsinger) was in on the transaction what ever it may have been. The real Henry C. Balsinger
"is and has been for many years an influential man in the councils of the Democratic Party in Colorado. He was a member of the sixth general assembly of the state, having been chosen to represent Gilpin County in the legislature, and for the past eight years he has ably served his party and constituents in the senate. He was elected to that honorable body in 1890, and again in 1894. He has probably been interested in the development of more mines in the Nevadaville District than any other man, and few are better posted in the mineral geology of this county than he.

Born in Colesburg, Iowa, Sept. 12, 1858, H. C. Bolsinger is a son of Maxwell D. Bolsinger, whose history is given in the biography of Frederick S. Bolsinger, which precedes this sketch. The early years of our subject passed uneventfully in the town of Chatfield, Minn., much of his time being devoted to mastering the elementary branches of learning up to 1873. At that time he came to Nevadaville with his father, and assisted actively in the development of the Hubert mine. Later he was engaged in operating one after another of the important mines of this district, until he has been connected with nearly all of them. Among these were the Shafts, the American Flag, Fourth of July, California, Gardner, Centennial, Clayton, Price and extension of the Hubert.



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In 1885 he, in company with his father, Thomas J. Burke and William Bush, of Denver, bought the old Hubert mill property. The mill, built in 1860, was the first stamp mill put up in this county, and was operated steadily from that year until 1896. The gentlemen mentioned operated the mill and the mines as the Hubert Milling Company about eleven years, after which they organized the Vendome Mining and Milling Company, now in an active and successful condition. In addition to being a director in that corporation, Mr. Bolsinger owns an interest in and and [sic] is a member of the board of directors of the Colorado Trading and Investment Company, and is now developing the Parole vein, one of the most promising mines he has heretofore worked.

In the Centennial year occurred the marriage of Mr. Bolsinger and Miss Mary Stirling. She was born in Wisconsin, in the pretty town of Mineral Point, and is a daughter of the sturdy pioneer, Samuel Stirling, who came to this state in 1865. The three children born to Mr. and Mrs. Bolsinger are: Hubert, Henry C. Jr., and Gladys.

In the various fraternities Mr. Bolsinger has for years taken a high place. He is a member of the Masonic order, being connected with Nevada."   -The Bolsinger Family website.


  • Frank S. Betz and Company: I found two links to their sales brochures in Chicago, Illinois and in Hammond, Indiana. Obviously a successful firm that interesting dealt in pharmaceutical cannabis manufacturing in the early 1900s. I never knew such a thing existed that early. I could not find anything specifically on James F. Betz or Roland Minott. 
  •  J. E. Harper: I found nothing on the justice of the peace except that his office was #401 in the Ernest Cranmer Building at 17th and Curtis (see photo below).


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    1892: Soapy begins advertising McGinty in Denver.
    1898: The White Pass & Yukon Railway Company arrives in force to begin building.

    Jeff Smith









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