March 11, 2017

The Missing Piece: Soapy Smith's Exploded Headstone.

The last piece of Soapy Smith's 3rd headstone
Protected within a "stone bench"
courtesy of Valerie Feero

Soapy Smith's blown-up headstone.

Soapy Smith's first and second grave markers were wooden. The third was a marble headstone paid for in 1927 by Tom Kearney, a friend of Soapy's. Mr. Kearney sent the money to Skagway resident Harriet S. Pullen, and the marker was placed on the grave in the spring of 1927. Tourists began chipping away at the stone marker, so according to the Decatur Daily Review of Decatur, Illinois, on October 3, 1933, Mrs. Pullen "erected a stiff guard through which it [the headstone] may be seen and not chipped."

Soapy's third headstone
Before the protective cage
Circa 1927 - Oct. 2, 1933

Soapy's third headstone
After the protective cage
Circa Oct. 4, 1933 - Aug 15, 1954
(Click image to enlarge)

The "stiff guard" worked for two decades, but in the end it was not enough to protect the grave marker from determined vandals.

Crime Follows Alaska Badman To His Grave

SKAGWAY, Alaska, Aug. 20.
    The headstone over the grave of Soapy Smith, Alaska's famous gold rush badman, lay in pieces today, the victim of exploding dynamite and caps.
    The blast startled residents of now-quiet Skagway last Sunday [August 15, 1954]. Some residents, seeing smoke rise above the trees, drove out to the old cemetery where Soapy Smith lies buried.
     The dynamite, stolen from the White Pass and Yukon Railroad shed here, blew the top from Smith's headstone.
Seattle Daily Times, August 20, 1954

(newspaper clipping)
Seattle Daily Times
August 20, 1954
Uncovered by Linda Gay Mathis
(Click image to enlarge)

    The story of that "explosive" day 60+ years ago was nearly lost to time. Probably most people assumed, as I did, that the headstone had been blown to bits and dust. But this was not the case! I learned of the destruction in the 1990s but later on was told that a nice chunk of the marker had been found and preserved in a most unusual way, as part of a foundation inside a Skagway residence. Recently in 2017, I wrote on Facebook about the explosion of the marble headstone and then heard from Valerie Feero of Skagway. She writes, 

    The house we live in my husband has lived in since 1967, was originally owned by a gentleman that did some rock work in the foundation and walls and there's a piece of granite that has "R. SMITH" engraved on it. We have wondered if it belonged to Soapy's headstone.
    It is on a rock bench inside our downstairs apartment. My name is Valerie Feero, family has been here since the [Gold] Rush! Pells and Feero were a Pack Train outfit that hauled your goods over the White Pass. My Dad, Bill Feero, use to tease that the Railroad put them out of business! My husbands name is Grant Lawson. You can use my name.

The "rock bench"
the headstone piece is circled in yellow
courtesy of Valerie Feero

Close-up of the headstone piece within the bench
courtesy of Valerie Feero

The piece is not available for public viewing, but hey, at least it is indoors, safe from dynamite!

Today, the concrete base of grave marker #3 can still be seen, in front of the current grave marker #5. For more on the history of Soapy's grave markers go HERE.

Many thanks for the rest of this story go to Valerie Feero, Linda Gay Mathis, and numerous residents of Skagway, Alaska.

"Always a step ahead of his competition and the law, still repeatedly he would stop, spin, and face his troubles head-on. His daring, fanned by successful escapes or confrontations of trouble, increased rather than diminished with age."
Alias Soapy Smith, page 17


1791: Samuel Mulliken becomes the first person to receive more than one patent from the U.S. Patent Office.
1824: The U.S. War Department creates the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Seneca Indian Ely Parker becomes the first Indian to lead the Bureau.
1847: John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman dies in Allen County, Indiana. This day becomes known as Johnny Appleseed Day.
1861: A Confederate Convention is held in Montgomery, Alabama, where a new constitution is adopted.
1865: The forces of Union General William Sherman occupy Fayetteville, North Carolina.
1867: a pony express-type route is established between Helen, Montana Territory and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1881: US. Army Engineer Paymaster Alexander Smith is robbed of the payroll near Florence, Alabama by three bandits identified as outlaw Jesse James, Frank James, and "Wild Bill" Ryan. They relieve Smith of $500 in gold, $4,500 in currency, his watch, and $221 from his purse. They force him to accompany them until midnight, at which time they return his watch, overcoat, and $21 cash and release him.
1882: The Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association is formed in Princeton, New Jersey.
1884: Gambler Ben Thompson and lawman John King Fisher are murdered in a hail of gunfire while attending a show at the Vaudeville Variety Theater in San Antonio, Texas in retaliation for the shooting death of Jack Harris two years earlier. On July 11, 1882, Thompson, an Austin, Texas City Marshal at the time, had shot and killed Jack Harris, the owner of the Vaudeville Variety Theater. Thompson was acquitted. Two years later, on March 11, 1884, Thompson and rancher, King Fisher went into the Theater as Thompson wanted to see Joe Foster, a theater owner and old friend of Harris.'Thompson and Fisher went upstairs to meet with Foster in one of the theater boxes. Foster refused to speak with Thompson. Then a hail of bullets from an adjoining box struck Thompson and Fisher killing them. Thompson fell dead immediately. Fisher was shot thirteen times, but was able to fire one round, possibly wounding one of the ambushers.
1887: The local Cheyenne, Wyoming newspaper reports that Calamity Jane is in town.
1887: Major Benteen, of Little Bighorn fame, is discharged from military service after being court-martialed for conduct unbecoming an officer. The charge includes entering a store at Fort Du Chesne, Utah, intoxicated, quarreling with civilians and exposing himself.
1888: The "Blizzard of '88" begins to rage along the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard shutting down communications and transportation lines. More than 400 people die before the storm ends on March 14.
1890: Lieutenant Watson reports two Indians slain and three captured in a battle with the 4th Cavalry near Salt River, Arizona Territory.
1901: U.S. Steel is formed when industrialist J. P. Morgan purchases Carnegie Steep Corporation. The event makes Andrew Carnegie the richest man in the world.
1907: President Theodore Roosevelt induces California to revoke its anti-Japanese legislation.

February 26, 2017

Showdown for a Conman painting for sale.

Showdown for a Conman
by Stanley Galli, abt 1958
(Click image to enlarge)

howdown for a conman

The painting originally appeared in the August 1958 issue of True West magazine for an article entitled Showdown for a Conman. I put a copy on the painting on my website on the Art of a Gunfight page

According to the eBay auction,

This listing is for a Stanley Galli watercolor painting on board. This painting was used as the main illustration for a story about the gunfight that killed the legendary Old West grifter and crime boss Soapy Smith in Skagway, Alaska. The story was written by J. P. Cahn, and it appeared in an August 1958 issue of True Magazine.

The painting is on a pasteboard or Bristol board. The board is approximately 24" X 13.75."

This painting was purchased directly from the Galli estate through an auction house, so there is no question of its authenticity. But I took it to a professional art appraiser nevertheless to become better informed about it.

I took it to Art Encounters in Las Vegas, the company that is best known for providing consulting services to the hit TV show Pawn Stars. Besides acknowledging its authenticity, the consultant pointed out something about its condition that I hadn't noticed. He said that the colors of the painting had changed over time, most likely from sunlight exposure. It had taken on a more bluish-green hue. You can notice the difference between the painting and the magazine illustration itself (compare pics.)

Color comparison
True West magazine
August 1958
(Click image to enlarge)
Other than this issue, the painting is in great shape with no blemishes. The scene is still sharp and evocative. You can almost feel the tension of the scene.

The consultant also suggested that the painting should be removed and framed with museum-quality materials. I have not done so, leaving that to the buyer. I have left it in the frame it came in. The frame is a cheap one with the push tabs, and I'm guessing that it was just used to present the painting at auction. The frame is approximately 26" X 16".

Stanley or Stan Galli was a renowned mid-20th century illustrator. His illustrations were used for stories and covers in such publications as the Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest, and True Magazine. They were also used in advertising, including ads for the Weyerhaeuser timber company and United Airlines travel posters. In 1981, he was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.

Interesting to note: On January 27th 2017 the painting sold for $200 at EBTH auctions. It is now for sale at $2000!

He led and organized other bunco men into an army of unstoppable brothers in fraud. He knew how to command and keep their devotion, loyalty, and friendship. And he did the same at city hall. With local city powers in his pocket, Jeff set up a framework of protection and security for himself and his men. Rather than remain in the shadows and be content with his power, Jeff wanted the public to see him.
Alias Soapy Smith, page 17


1863: U.S. President Lincoln signs the National Currency Act.
1846: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody is born in Leclaire, Iowa.
1870: The first pneumatic-powered subway line opens to the public in New York City.
1881: 325 Sioux Indians surrender to Major Brotherton at Fort Buford, Dakota Territory.
1881: Unknown stage robbers take $135 from a stage near Contention, Arizona Territory.
1882: Harper's Weekly publishes Frederic Remington's first nationally published illustration.
1891: H. D. Rucker, Frank Parks, and J. Humphrey are arrested in Denver, Colorado for distributing a porn publication called Hustler (not related to the modern magazine of the same name).
1892: Nicholas Creede discovers silver in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado in a place called Creede. It is here that Soapy Smith builds his second criminal empire.
1893: George W. Lewis, member of the Soap Gang, is shot and killed in Ogden, Utah.
1895: Outlaw Crawford “Cherokee Bill” Goldsby is tried and found guilty of the murder of Ernest Melton, before Judge Isaac Parker in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. He was sentenced him to hang on June 25, 1895 but appeals delayed the execution until March 17, 1896.
1898: James Dolan, famed combatant of the New Mexico, Lincoln County War in 1878, dies on his ranch, the Flying H. Dolan was the chief opponent of the Tunstall-McSween faction, using his vast funds to hire an army that killed all his adversaries. Dolan was later elected to the New Mexico Territorial Council.
1907: The U.S. Congress raises their pay to $7500.

December 26, 2016

John "The Butcher" Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford

The Murder of Rutland by Lord Clifford
by artist Charles Robert Leslie, [1794-1859]
That is a 17-year old boy, not a female
(Click image to enlarge)

he Butcher

What is it with all the Smith's wearing black?

John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford
"The Butcher"

John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford, known as "The Butcher," born in an English castle in 1435. He was a Lancastrian military leader, dying on March 28, 1462 during the Battle of Towton in the War of the Roses, when an arrow struck him in the throat after removing a piece of armor known as a gorget.

Arms of de Clifford
Chequy or and azure, a fesse gules

He is notorious for the slaying of Edmund, Earl of Rutland, younger brother of the future King Edward IV, following the Battle of Wakefield in 1460 (see painting at top).

I am in the process of doing more research on this family connection. In the meantime, here are a few links for more research.

* Wikipedia, John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford
* Geni, John de Clifford, 9th Baron Clifford
* Luminarium Encyclopedia, John de Clifford, 9th Baron Clifford
* Find a Grave: Sir John Clifford

"He was a man of Old West mentality in a swiftly evolving New West. His breed was diminishing, but he refused to retire and continued promotion of himself in the public eye. Finally audacity cost him his influence and control, and in the end, his life."
Alias Soapy Smith, page 17


November 30, 2016

Skaguay Wharves: A new acqusition for my collection.

White Pass and Yukon Railway
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

Circa 1898

I am very proud to share my latest acquisition to my collection. Mounted on the original board and entitled Alaska Scenery. White Pass and Yukon Railway. It is dated 1898 by the photographer Harrie C. Barley. Note that the original spelling of Skaguay, whereas it was changed to "Skagway." 

I purchased it as it is a perfect view of the Juneau Company Wharf (second wharf from the left) and the location where the shootout on Juneau Wharf took place. I zoomed in as close as I could get to the entrance of the wharf at State Street, the fight having took place about 60 feet into the entrance.

Juneau Company Wharf
(zoomed in)
Note the railroad tracks along side the wharf
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

Note the train tracks on the beach, to the right of Juneau Wharf. Every day, the tide completely covered the tracks and sometimes made it's way as far as Third Street.

Entrance to Juneau Wharf
(zoomed in)
Soapy Smith was killed 60 feet from the entrance
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

The End of Soapy Smith
By Andy Thomas


Photographer H. C. Barley (also known as Harrie C. and Harry C.) was hired as the company photographer for the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad in the spring of 1898. He worked for two years documenting the construction and early operation of the 110-mile narrow gauge railway which ran from Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Barley was known for his daring, often risking his life to get the perfect photograph of the construction of the railway. Some construction crews refused to work when Barley was nearby due to the extreme risks he took. He said, "Put me close enough to the blast and I'll stuff the echo." In one of the first accidents at the Rocky Point blasting site, Barley was struck by a rock from the detonation and was unable to walk for a week. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Barley made Skagway his home after relocating north. His first photography studio in Skagway was on Fourth Avenue between Broadway and Spring Street. He later relocated it to the corner of Broadway and Fourth Avenue. He served for a brief period on the Skagway City Council and was a member of the Skagway Elks Lodge. Barley also photographed in the Atlin, British Columbia, area during the gold rush in 1899-1900. Barley died of tuberculosis at his home in San Francisco on November 22, 1909, shortly after the Klondike gold rush. Source Archives West.

Juneau Company Wharf (note: the posts are not in any order of importance. There are several pages of posts.)

Juneau Company Wharf: pages 9, 12, 530-32, 535, 538, 546-51, 554, 564, 575, 595.

"He had an unconquerable aversion to making money by honest means and loved the art of fleecing his prey and then arranging it so his victims earnestly thanked him for his services. "
Alias Soapy Smith, Introduction.


1782: The U.S. and Britain sign preliminary peace articles in Paris, France, ending the American Revolution.
1803: Spain completes the process of ceding Louisiana to France.
1804: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase goes on trial accused of political bias. He is later acquitted by the U.S. Senate.
1835: America’s most famous literary icon, Samuel Langhorne Clemens is born in Florida, Missouri. Best known for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876 and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885, both written under the moniker “Mark Twain.”
1875: A. J. Ehrichson patents the oat-crushing machine.
1878: The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe lay railroad tracks crossing Colorado's southern border into New Mexico Territory, the first tracks into New Mexico.
1879: Outlaw Billy the Kid meets with rancher John Chisum, at Bob Hargrove's saloon in New Mexico Territory, to talk about recent rustlings.
1881: Judge Wells Spicer of Tombstone, Arizona Territory, officially states that the Earp’s and Doc Holiday were justified in their actions, which led to, and include the gunfight behind the OK Corral. In another matter bad man “cow-boy” Johnny Ringo is arrested for having robbed a poker game in August 1881.
1884: At nineteen-years-old, Elfego Baca, arrests a cowboy in New Mexico Territory for disturbing the peace. When friends of the cowboy attempt to “teach Baca a lesson,” he shoots and kills the foreman.
1887: Outlaws Robert Leroy “Butch Cassidy” Parker and the McCarty brothers, stop, but fail their attempt to rob the Denver and Rio Grande express near Grand Junction, Colorado. The stubborn express guard refuses to open the safe in the mail car and rather than kill him, the gang allows the train to continue on their way, leaving the bandits empty-handed.
1892: Bank robber Oliver “Ol” Yantis, a member of the infamous Doolin Dalton Gang, succumbs to his wounds after a gunfight with Deputy US Marshal Tom Hueston near Orlando, Oklahoma, the previous day. the lawmen trailed Yantis to his sister’s home outside of Orlando. The two lawmen demanded his surrender. Yantis walked out as if giving up but drew a revolver and fired. The lawmen returned fire, hitting Yantis in the leg and stomach. The lawmen took the wounded Yantis to a hotel in Orlando, where he died on this day. Yantis is the first of the Doolin Dalton gang members to fall. Hueston would later be killed during another shootout with the Doolin Dalton gang members in Ingalls, Oklahoma, during the Battle of Ingalls. It is believed that Soapy Smith’s wife Mary was a cousin of the outlaw Dalton’s.
1897: Thomas Edison's motion picture projector has its first commercial exhibition.
1897: The Rocky Mountain News reports that bad man Soapy Smith is “in New York organizing a Klondyke [sic] expedition to start from the East in February (1898).”

November 29, 2016

An Act of Kindness: The gift of a 1924 Photograph of Soapy Smith's Grave.

1924 Photo of Soapy's 2nd grave marker
(Click image to enlarge)

oapy Smith's grave, 1924.


On eBay, I came across a 1924 Alaska scrap book from the Peoria, Illinois Life Insurance Company. The scrap book contained 140 photographs, including a photo of Soapy Smith's (my great-grandfather) and Frank Reid, one of two men who shot and killed Soapy. Soapy killed Reid, but not before Reid was able to shoot Soapy twice, once in the left arm and once in the left thigh. 

I considered buying the scrapbook, but at a total price of $51.40 including the shipping) I decided to opt out. I sent a message to the seller, "internetstore61021," letting him know that if he didn't sell the book, that I would be interested in the two photos, if he was willing to sell the scrapbook piecemeal. His name is Charles, and he sent back a message that he might consider that, but also kindly offered to scan both photos and send them to me for $5 including the shipping. That was indeed a very generous and kind offer, and I responded with the following.

1924 Photo of Frank Reid's grave
(Click image to enlarge)

"Thank you very much for the offer. Very considerate. I will pass though. The smaller marker is my great grandfather's grave. I collect original photographs of his grave, which a lot of tourists photographed. Believe it or not, I own that marker! Attached is a photograph of it. Glad you were able to sell the album as a whole. ~Jeff"

I kindly declined as I have many scans of Soapy's grave markers and was seeking actual photographs. Soapy's grave was (and still is) a popular stop so there are lots or old photographs out there. Then another buyer placed a bid and won the whole scrapbook. I figured that was the end of that, but seller internetstore61021 wasn't ready to end the conversation just yet.

Charles: "The photo you sent has graffiti....that is horrible. what kind of turd does this?"
Jeff: "Yes, there is a lot of graffiti. This was common on wooden markers, especially of well-known characters, which is why you often see cages around the markers."
Charles: "I contacted the purchaser. and told him about the grave marker."

The name of the buyer is Dennis and he wrote back to the eBay seller the following.

"Everybody collects something different. I collect White Pass & Yukon Route railroad (or Skagway, AK; Lake Bennett, B.C., Carcross/Whitehorse Yukon Territory photos) which is why I bid on the scrapbook and he is welcome to the photos of his grandfather's headstone. Tell him if he (or you) runs across White Pass pictures prior to the World War II era to keep me in mind."

Page from the 1924 album
(Click image to enlarge)

For the price of the postage Charles sent me the two original photographs. A very nice story about how some sellers and people go above and beyond, AFTER already having made his sale. It doesn't get much better than that!

Thank you eBay seller Charles (internetstore61021) and buyer Dennis! Here is the link to Charles' eBay store.

Close-up of Soapy's marker
photo-shopped to see better
(Click image to enlarge)

Soapy's 2nd grave marker as it looks today.

What we can learn from this photograph.

Being that the trip to Alaska was taken in 1924, it is proven that the second grave marker was sitting upon the grave at that late date. I used my photoshop skills to bring out what details of Soapy's marker can be seen. There is plenty of graffiti and missing slivers from the top, as can be seen today. The marker is being held up by rocks and the bottom shows that it has been broken. Soapy's original grave was washed away in a 1919 flood and it is guessed that the marker survived, and placed in the ground near the gully that held the original grave.


1) The history of Soapy's grave markers
2) Charles' ebay store.

"Poor Smith [Soapy] thought he made this [the following] proverb truer to the facts of life, I am told, by revising it to read, ‘The way of the transgressor is hard … to quit.’”
— Reverend John Sinclair


1869: Texas Outlaw Samuel “Bob Hays” Hassells is shot and killed. He is identified as one of the men who robbed the post office in Separ, New Mexico Territory in October 1869. A posse of lawmen cornered the gang at the Diamond A ranch, and Hassells was killed during the ensuing gun battle.
1872: Modoc Indians, refusing to move off their homelands, to Oregon's Klamath Reservation, fight back against Captain Jack Jackson and 38 members of the 1st Cavalry.
1878: After 14-years of use, Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, is abandoned. It was never attacked by Indians.
1888: Jacob “Sleepy Jake” Kasenhelm and two other Denver con men are arrested in San Francisco, California for trying to swindle a man of $3,200 in the purchase of a machine that makes gold coins out of burmese metal. Soapy Smith robbed this confidence man by way of a fake highway robbery as the two men walked discussing business.

November 19, 2016

Sam Meyer and Soapy Smith, Denver, Colorado

Inside Sam Mayer's Diamond Palace
1638 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado
Circa 1882-1892
Courtesy of Denver Public Library Digital Collection
(Click image to enlarge)

am Mayer and the Diamond Palace

Sam Mayer, a jewelry merchant who owned the Diamond Palace at 1638 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado, had an apparent business relationship with bad man Soapy Smith.

According to the Creede Candle April 8, 1892, Soapy Smith, seeing the end of Creede's silver boom, and eight days after his brother-in-law, William Sydney "Cap" Light, shot and killed Reddy McCann, sold the Orleans Club saloon and gambling house to Sam Mayer.

Outside Sam Mayer's Diamond Palace
1638 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado
Circa 1882-1892
Courtesy of eBay

At the end of October in 1893 Mayer's name pops up again, signing a petition asking that the city of Denver allow Soapy to continue his street sales (swindles).

Soapy had learned that a petition signed by twenty-six merchants in the vicinity of Union Depot had been presented to the fire and police board. Requested were stricter measures against confidence men and bunco steerers along Seventeenth. Two days later, on Monday, October 30, 1893, Soapy appeared before the board. Claiming the petition was not unanimous and that he could secure a counter petition, he was allowed to circulate one, but in the meantime, he was ordered to stop all street activity with which he was associated. The following day Soapy's petition was complete. It was not exactly a counter petition as it pertained to one site, not a general vicinity, but its twenty-three signatures showed impressive support. Dated October 31, 1893, it was addressed, 

“To the Honorable Fire and Police Board of the City of Denver, Colo.”

1893 petition
page one
artifact #110
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

We, the undersigned, business men of Seventeenth St. [now operating in the City of?] Denver, would respectfully state that we have known Jeff R. Smith for a number of years and we state that we know Mr. Smith to be an honorable gentleman, a man of his word, and of the most strict business integrity, and we desire to see him continue business at his old stand at the corner of Seventeenth and Market streets.

D. May, May Shoe and Clothing Co.
James B. Belford
Charles M. Graff
Denver Collateral Bank, 1400 17th
Geo Stevenson, 1412 17th
Thos Morrison, 1420 17th
The Schivenfeld Mercantile Co., Cor 17th and Blake
A. Badenhof, Vice Presdt
Union Hotel, G. N. Beard, Prop.
C. W. Bowman, 1520 17th
Geo B. Fisher, Cor 17th and Wazee
W.J. Rosenthal, 1526 17th
F. Goodman, Wholesale Tobacco, 1507 and 1509 17th
Weil Bros, Wholesale Liquor dealers, 1631 Blake
Royer and Shynock, Hardware, 1750 Larimer
Inter Ocean Hotel.
Nathan L. Baker, Editor Mercury.
August Endhink, 1414 17th
St George Hotel, 1529 17th
Davis Turner, Prop.
Ramon Solis, Solis Cigar Co.
F. Spalti, owner Block, 17th and Blake
S. Wachtee and Co., 1717 Larimer
Sam Mayer, 1638 Larimer
Wm Deutch, owner Block, 17th and Market
Andy Keeley, McPhee and McGinnity, 18 and Wazee
Thos. F. Begley, 1417 Larimer

The fire and police board, knowing Jeff very well, questioned the validity of the signatures on the document. A clipping cut from an unidentified source reveals Jeff’s hopes in his attempts to manipulate the board.

In the suave, affable manner, which so highly distinguishes the proprietor of the Tivoli Club, he told the board that he was only too anxious to accede to its wishes and would instruct his corps of assiduous assistants to discontinue their attentions to those gentlemen of simple habits who so eagerly desired to witness the operations of Mr. Smith’s club-rooms. He impressed on the board, however, the fact that his lieutenants never tried to affect Denver citizens with their persuasive eloquence, but confined their efforts to visitors whose dress and actions betrayed their rustic occupations.

The colonel naively questioned [discussed?] the genuineness of the signatures to the petition, and the board adjourned the hearing of the case until he could prove the truth of his assertion.

Sam Mayer, still located at 1638 Larimer, signed the petition. Soapy Smith and Denver historians will surely recognize several other prominent names in the petition. The original handwritten document resides in my collection, and can be viewed in its entirety below.

1893 petition
page two
artifact #110
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

Mayer Jewelers remained in business in Denver for 124 years, closing in 2004. Sam Mayer, known as Mr. Sam, started Mayer Jewelers in 1880. The 1891 city directory list jewelry and also "pawn," which maybe where a connection was made with Soapy Smith as jewelry and other valuables won in swindles were sold to Sam's store. Louis Hellerstein purchased the store in the 1920s, and his family ran it until closing in 2004.

Sam Mayer: pages 218, 285.

"There is little doubt that towards the end, he sincerely began to think he was the man he wanted everyone to believe he was. (talking about Soapy Smith) "
Alias Soapy Smith, page 17


1794: Britain's King George III signs the Jay Treaty, resolving the issues left over from the American Revolution.
1850: The first life insurance policy for a woman is issued to 36-year-old Carolyn Ingraham, purchasing the policy in Madison, New Jersey.
1856: Lieutenant Walter Jenifer and a detachment of Company B, 2nd Cavalry, are on a scout from Fort Mason, Texas, when they attack a band of Comanche Indians near the Llano River.
1861: An attempt to take Indian Territory by Confederate forces fails in a battle at Round Mountain.
1863: President Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of a national battlefield cemetery in Pennsylvania.
1872: Fort McKeen, Dakota Territory, is renamed Fort Abraham Lincoln.
1873: Outlaw James Reed, the first husband of outlaw Belle Starr, and two accomplices, rob the Watt Grayson family of $30,000 in the Choctaw Nation.
1879: Vigilantes force their way into the Leadville, Colorado jail and lynched two prisoners. A note of warning was pinned to one of the corpses.
1880: Corteze D. “Cort” Thomson loses a foot-race in Greelet, Colorado for a $250 side-bet. Thomson is the lover of Denver brothel madame Martha A. “Mattie” Silks. In 1892 Thomson is involved with bad man Soapy Smith in the shooting death of gambler cliff Sparks in Denver. In 1898 Silks accuses Soapy of plotting to murder her.
1881: Virgil Earp testifies at the gunfight behind the O.K. Corral hearings in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.
1887: The Montana Central Railroad line, between Helena and Great Falls Montana, is completed.
1893: The first newspaper color supplement is published in the New York World.
1895: The "paper pencil" is patented by Frederick E. Blaisdell.