June 13, 2021

1885 Denver ordinance against Soapy Smith

An Ordnance to Cover the Defective Points.
Denver Tribune-Republican
May 14, 1885

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n order to cover such cases as "Soapy" Smith, the arrest of whom for violating the lottery ordinance"
 
 
Note how bad the Xerox copy at the top is. This was shared to my father, by his brother (my uncle) Joseph Jefferson Smith​ (1909-1977). Obviously, the copiers at the time did not do as well copying old paper like they do today. Though most of the article is readable, note that sections of the top and bottom are unreadable. My search to find this article online and within newspaper archives has not proven successful, so I turned to cleaning up what I had to work with, the results shown below.
 
Repaired version
An Ordnance to Cover the Defective Points.
Denver Tribune-Republican
May 14, 1885

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     After Soapy swindled J. Brockman using his prize package soap sell racket [see; Soapy Smith Jailed, May 12, 1885], Denver passed a new city ordinance, including a Ninth Section, pointed directly at "Soapy" Smith. Following is the transcription of the article from the
Denver Tribune-Republican, May 14, 1885.

An Ordnance to Cover the Defective Points in the Old One.

      Owing to the defective condition of the present city ordinance in regard to vagrants it has been impossible to get a conviction. To remedy this Corporation Counsel White has prepared an ordinance which will probably be introduced at the meeting of the Board of Supervisors to-night, which is very sweeping in its character. The first section reads:
     “A vagrant within the meaning of this ordinance shall be deemed to be any person able to work and support himself or herself in any honest and respectable calling, trade or business, who lives idly and is without any visible means to support himself or herself.”
     The ordinance also includes persons found loitering around gambling rooms, proprietors of devices for gambling, hold-ups, cappers, pimps, prostitutes, etc., etc.
     In order to cover such cases as "Soapy" Smith, the arrest of whom for violating the lottery ordinance, the Ninth Section reads:
     Any person who shall be engaged and any fraudulent scheme, device or trick upon the streets, thoroughfares or public places or elsewhere in the city; or who, by the aid, use or manipulation of any article or articles, thing or things whatsoever in packages, boxes or otherwise arranged, whereby persons are induced, or sought to be induced, to purchase any such packages, article or thing with a view to obtaining money, jewelry or other property therein contained or therewith connected in any manner. And it shall constitute no defense to this provision of this ordinance that such person (the rest is illegible)
Soapy was charged with "running a lottery scheme." Arraigned on May 13, with an unknown amount for bail, due to poor reproduction of the newspaper article. It looks to be "$500 bail."

"Prize Packages and the Police Court."
Rocky Mountain News
May 14, 1885
 
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Prize Packages and the Police Court.
     "Soapy" Smith, the prize "soap" package man, was charged with running a lottery scheme, and was arraigned for this offense before Judge Barnum in the police court yesterday. The case was continued till to-day, and Smith was bond in $500 [?] bail, John P. Kinneavy being his surety, Smith's ______ [undecipherable] in Judge Miller. A certain _______ [undecipherable] who bought soap of Smith ____ [undecipherable] to have been swindled in the transaction. The circumstances of the case were mentioned in The News of yesterday.

 
     John P. Kinneavy was a close friend and accomplice of Soapy's, using Kinneavy's saloon on 17th Street, conveniently located across the street from the Union Depot, where fresh swindle victims arrived daily. Kinneavy was an early resident of Denver, he dabbled in its politics as a delegate in 1877. During the yellow fever epidemic of the 1870s, he and his partner, Frank Parker, donated bar receipts from their saloon to aid victims. Socially, Kinneavy was well liked by residents and peers. Of one Irish-American military organization, he was elected president. In 1885, the News listed him as a wealthy land owner, and by 1889, Kinneavy and co-partner T. W. O’Connor operated saloons at 1218 Sixteenth Street and another at 1321 Larimer, near city hall on Fourteenth. In 1892 he had a saloon at 1544 Larimer. He remained a close ally of Soapy's until the latter fled Denver in 1895.
 
 
 
"Soapy" Smith Salted.
Rocky Mountain News
May 17, 1885

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"SOAPY" SMITH SALTED.

The Soap Prize Man Fined by Judge Barnum-Other Police Court Cases.

     In the Police court yesterday Andrew Linquist was tried for vagrancy, fined $15 and sent to jail in default of paying the fine.  Three drunks were disposed of with the usual $7 fines. Mr. Wortman was fined $5 for disturbance and $5 for being drunk. She did not pay the fine and went to jail. J. M. Butcher was fined $5 for discharging firearms within the city limits. Jeff Smith, the soap package man, who has been given the nickname of "Soapy" Smith, was tried for running a lottery on complaint of F. Brockman, who claims that he was swindled out of $30 in buying soaps with the hope of obtaining a big money prize. He expected to find $100 in the packages of sop and only got $1. Smith claims that he doesn't pretend that every one can be lucky and was very indignant when Judge Barnum fined him $25. He gave notice that he would appeal the case.



     Note that the article mentions that "Jeff Smith, the soap package man, who has been given the nickname of 'Soapy' Smith." This is the first recorded use of the moniker "Soapy," and it would remain the synonym of "Jefferson Randolph Smith" for the rest of his life.
     In the meantime Soapy retained his license as a vendor on the streets of Denver. It would take a month before the city could legally stop him.

     The ordinance seemed designed to stop Jeff in particular and all bunco men in general. Some probably did seek more tolerant towns, but Jeff simply ignored the ordinance. Whether he felt it did not apply to him or that graft payments would shield him, the prize package soap sales continued. A few days later, on May 22, he was again in the news.


Slugging a Soap Man.

      About 8 o’clock last evening a disgraceful fight occurred at the corner of Arapahoe and Sixteenth streets between an unknown person and the assistant for the soap peddler who is camped there during the day and evening. It seems that the unknown man had insulted the assistant and he proceeded to pound him up. After a number of blows were passed, most of which were struck by the assistant, Officer Bohanna appeared and marched them both off to jail.


     Just short of one month later Alderman Kaub offered a resolution rescinding the license of "Soapy Smith" for fraudulent practices, which was adopted.

 

A Resolution
Rocky Mountain News
June 20, 1885

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Depriving Soapy
Rocky Mountain News
June 23, 1885


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So, for the moment, the city of Denver stopped Soapy Smith from operating his prize package soap sell racket on the street, and surely most believed Soapy's story had reached it's conclusion, but this was not the end, not even close. It would take another decade to rid themselves of "Soapy" Smith.










 February 28, 2013










J. Brockman: pages 95-96.





"The house doesn't beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself."
—Nick Dandalos










June 6, 2021

Did Soapy Smith and John Morris work in Denver, June 21, 1882?

James W. Moore, soap racket operator
Denver Republican
June 21, 1882

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OAPY SMITH AND JOHN MORRIS IN DENVER?
June 21, 1882



James W. Moore, an elderly confidence man, was arrested on June 20, 1882. What caught my eye was the sharp's use of soap sales. It included a spin on a "wheel of fortune" for every soap cake purchased. According to the newspaper the man "drew a large crowd every night," but that the prizes won the wheel were not valuable. So why the selling of soap? The same swindle could have easily worked with just the wheel of fortune. This got me thinking. Was the newspaper missing something, thus believing it was "the plainest of swindles?" Was this a prize package soap sell racket, with a wheel of fortune geared towards obtaining more money from the victims, while giving away low value prizes, in order to appease the victims of not obtaining a cash prize in the soap package?
     Those who are familiar with Soapy Smith's history may recall that he started out as a "cheap John" operator, which involves the sale of cheap trinkets as being valuable. Could James Moore be running a combination prize package soap racket and a cheap John racket together? If so, could James W. Moore be one of Soapy's gang?


"J. R. Smith" and "John Morris"
Denver Republican
June 21, 1882
 
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In the same newspaper issue, a "J. R. Smith" from Silver Cliff, Colorado and "John Morris" from Ek [Elk] Creek, arrive in Denver, Smith signing the hotel register at the Windsor Hotel and Morris staying at the American Hotel.
     Is "J. R. Smith" Jefferson Randolph Smith, and is Morris "Fatty Gray?" Or is this just a coincidence?

James W. Moore in court
Denver Republican
June 22, 1882

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     The following day the swindler, James W. Moore was sent before a judge, "assessed costs and warned not to fake any more." Denver Mayor Morris takes credit for cleaning up the city of the con men, and that seems to be the end of James W. Morris ... for now.
     So, was this the Soap Gang? Soapy Smith's first known visit to Denver is recorded as being in 1879. It is known that he did not make Denver his home at that time, choosing to continue traveling and operating around the western states. There is no hard evidence that this was a visit to Denver by Soapy and John Morris, but it sure seems possible. The questionable visit is good enough to be included in my files, with open questions.

 


"Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit."
—R. E. Shay










May 11, 2021

St. Louis Dispatch, September 23, 1897. Soapy did go to St. Louis to check on his wife after leaving Skagway!

LOOK OUT FOR "SOAPY" SMITH
St. Louis Dispatch
September 23, 1897

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e reported himself in good health and money."   
New information showing that Soapy Smith did go to St. Louis to check up on his ailing wife, Mary, after leaving Skagway.




 
Below is the transcription of the article from the St. Louis Dispatch, September 23, 1897.

LOOK OUT FOR “SOAPY” SMITH

The Smooth Man Is Headed This Way, So Be Careful.

      ”Soapy" Smith is headed this way, and Chief Desmond and his men are ready on the anxious seat.
     "Soapy" is one of the slickest swindlers in the West. For the last two or three months he has been operating a shell game in Alaska. When he first struck Skagua [sic] he was referred to as "Mr. Smith, the genial and popular three-shell man."
     But the inhabitants got onto his curves. Now Mr. smith has come down to Seattle, Wash., with $20,000 winnings.

     Denver is the base of "Soapy's" operations. Years ago when he was a tyro in the confidence business he sold a brand of soap and as an inducement would put a 50 cent piece in one of the boxes. Then he would sell his soap at 25 cents a box, the lucky purchaser getting the 50 cent piece. Next he ran a shell game and from a small beginning he became one of the leading gamblers of Denver in its wide open days. He led one of the factions that marched on the State House in 1894.
     His one attempt to operate in St. Louis was futile. He came here accompanied by his wife and two children in the fall of 1894 and rented a house on Locust Street. He openly boasted of his ability to run a gambling house in St. Louis. Every time he appeared on the street one of Desmond's sleuths arrested him for vagrancy.
     One night in an Olive street saloon he ridiculed the St. Louis police and was overheard by Detective Tom Tracey. Tracey knocked Smith down and then arrested him. "Soapy" was given one hour to leave town, and hasn't been here since. It is said that his wife and children are still in St. Louis, but Chief Desmond says he does not know of their presence here.
     Jim Cronin is in receipt of a letter from "Soapy," dated Sept. 15. "Soapy" was then at skagua[sic], but was about to start over the White Pass for Dawson. He reported himself in good health and money.



     There are numerous accounts of Soapy Smith's first visit to Skagway, Alaska and his return to Seattle less than a month later. Some newspapers published accounts that he had been forced from Skagway by vigilantes, while other accounts said he left for personal reasons. The following comes from Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel.

     Jeff hated the Alaska winter and would have preferred to spend it down in the states. With business so good, though, he would endure the wind, rain, snow, and cold. Something else, though, made Jeff leave Skaguay while his operations were so successful, Mary. Receiving word that she was ill, on September 14, 1897, Jeff boarded the S.S. Queen and docked in Seattle eight days later. The Seattle Daily Times interviewed passengers returning from the Klondike, and Jeff was one of them. In his interview he claimed to have earned $18,000 to $20,000 during his short stay in Skaguay, amounts equivalent today to between about $562,320 and $624,800.
     US Attorney Bennett and US Marshal James McCain Shoup were also on board the Queen. They claimed that the residents of Skaguay had forced Jeff out of Alaska. In November 1897 “Bat” Masterson returned from Washington state and spoke to the Denver Evening Post about Jeff’s departure from Alaska.

I saw very few people from Denver. I heard of but did not see Soapy Smith. The report that he was driven out of Skaguay was erroneous. I met his partner Jerry Daily, at Spokane. He said they were in Skaguay twenty-three days and ‘worked’ nineteen days while there. During the nineteen days they captured $30,000, which was divided into four parts, over $7,000 each, but Soapy got the most of it ultimately. He received a telegram that his wife was sick in St. Louis and went to that city to be with her. They did not have time to bother with him at Skaguay, for everybody was too busy looking out for themselves.

      Jeff must have discovered that Mary was better, probably by telegraph, because nine days later he was still in Seattle, lodging in the business district called Pioneer Place, known today as Pioneer Square.

     The last hi-lighted section is incorrect, and today's newspaper clipping post proves this. At the time of publication (2009) it was believed that Soapy did not make his way immediately to St. Louis to check up on Mary, perhaps having heard from her that she was feeling better, postponing his trip there, staying in Seattle for a time. However, this newspaper article posted today shows that he indeed went immediately to Mary's side, staying there for up to a week, before returning to Seattle, where on October 12, 1897 he got into a violent brawl in the Horse Shoe Saloon.












Soapy in Seattle 1897
 
Jim (James) Cronin
 
Soapy's trouble with Detective Tracy
 


 




"On this evening my friend 'Soapy' seemed very depressed. He gave me a very interesting account of his life. He had never intended to be regarded as a bad man. He killed his first man in self defense. He just could not help it. It had to be done. He was terribly sorry and the next man also made it necessary for him to Snuff out his candle."
—Saunders Norvell, Forty Years of Hardware, 1924










May 4, 2021

Artifact #84: Letter informing Soapy's son of the death of his aunt, Emma Lu Smith, 1915

"Your Aunt Emmie Lu died"
Artifact #84-Letter
Jeff Smith Collection






 
 
 
 mma Lu "Emmie" Smith
(Abt. 1867 - May 3, 1915)

 
 
My great-grandaunt, Emma Lu Smith, the oldest sister of Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith, was born in Coweta County, Georgia around 1867. She was ten years old when her mother passed away in Round Rock, Texas in 1877.


(l to r) Emma Lu, Maurice Gregory Moriarty, Eva Katherine
Previous to May 1915.
Temple, Texas
Michael Moriarty Collection


In 1880 her residence, along with her father and siblings, minus "Soapy," was Belton, Texas, and she was still residing there when she met and married
Robert Gardner on July 2, 1890. Gardner played a noted role in helping Soapy's grandchildren in researching their grandfather. The fact that Emma's sister, Eva Katherine Smith, author of the letter (artifact #84), married Soap Gang member William Sydney Light, and so it is believed that Emma Lu Smith's husband, Robert, may have also been a member of the gang as well. By 1900 she had made Temple, Texas her home. The death date of her husband, Robert Gardner, is unknown at this time, but it is believed that he passed away before Emma, as Eva Katherine makes no mention of Robert. At some point, Emma Lu moved to Waco, Texas before Eva's son brought her to live with her sister in Temple, Texas. Emma passed away on May 3, 1915.



Emma Lu Smith
(close-up)
Michael Moriarty Collection


Below is the transcribed contents of the letter.


Temple Texas.
5/12/1915.
Dear Nephew,
Your Aunt Emmie Lu died the 3rd of May, she spoke of not hearing from you, and certainly loved you all, my son Jefferson went to Waco and brought her home with him, hoping the change would help her, and indeed she did get better for a short time, then she relapsed into the same old state of [undecipherable]. It is indeed hard for us to bear. I have not been able to let you know before now. I hope you are all well. With much love, your Aunt.
Eva K. Light. 





Artifact #84-Envelope-front
Jeff Smith Collection


The envelope is addressed to Jeff Smith, "Times" [St. Louis Times], St. Louis, MO. It is postmarked in Temple, Texas on May 13, 1915, at 2pm.


Artifact #84-Envelope-rear
Jeff Smith Collection


The rear of the envelope and some figures, probably written by Soapy's son, Jefferson Randolph Smith III. It appears to be in dollar amounts. For what is unknown.
 







In most betting shops you will see three windows marked "Bet Here," but only one window with the legend "Pay Out."
— Jeffrey Bernard











April 29, 2021

John Murphy arrested, Murphy's Exchange, Denver 1882

MURPHY ARRESTED.
Denver Republican
May 29, 1882
(The article is transcribed below)

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urphy's place was always under police surveillance, and the proprietor himself was not looked upon with any favor by the officers."


Two of Denver's most notorious saloon and gambling halls of the 1890s were The Arcade Restaurant and Club rooms (saloon and gambling hall) and Murphy's Exchange, aka "the slaughter house," so named for all the deadly violence that occurred there on a regular basis. The first floors were saloons and restaurants while the upper floors, combined together with a stairway, contained the gambling halls. The history of "Murphy's Exchange" plays a major role in the history of Jefferson Randolph Smith II. It was in the Exchange that Soapy temporarily placed McGinty the petrified man on display, and it was where in 1892 Jeff, along with gun-man Jim Jordan, shot and killed gambler Cliff Sparks. In all the books on Soapy and most of the books on the history of Denver I noticed that the name was always known as Murphy's Exchange, but during my research years for the book, Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel I noticed that when Soapy became an underworld power in Denver, the newspapers occasionally called it "Murphy's Exchange," but mostly referred to it as "The Exchange." I figured that the business had changed hands, perhaps numerous times, over the years, and either the new owners kept "Exchange" in the name, or the newspapers used the old name, for interest purposes. In reading this latest newspaper find, I think I understand a little more about the history.
     Apparently, the saloon and it's proprietor, John W. "Johnny" Murphy, had already gained a scandalous history before Soapy's time. It stands to reason that newspapers would refer to
"Murphy's Exchange," which many residents of Denver knew well of. Below is the transcribed text of the article for ease of reading.

MURPHY ARRESTED.

The former proprietor of Murphy's Exchange Arrested for a Gigantic Swindle.

An $18,000 Grain Steal Said to Have Been Committed by Rice and Murphy.
      John Murphy, the well-known saloon man, was arrested Saturday at Leadville and taken to Columbus, Nebraska, to answer to the charge of obtaining goods amounting to $18,000 on false pretense. Murphy was charged with this offense some two months ago, but no arrests were made, and it was believed that nothing further would be done in the case.
      Murphy formerly owned the well-known saloon on Larimer street near the Arcade, known, when he kept it, as Murphy's Exchange. Murphy is a young man, and was formerly a brakeman on the Missouri Pacific running into Kansas City. Since he has been in Denver he has made a great deal of money. He drew around him the hardest class of men in the city, and his place became the resort of sluggers, thieves, bunko-steerers and gamblers. Murphy's place was always under police surveillance, and the proprietor himself was not looked upon with any favor by the officers. Notwithstanding the character of his place, his standing in the commercial world was very good, and his credit marked fair in the agency books.


The Exchange and The Arcade
Circa 1890s
 
     About two months ago he sold out his saloon. The name was changed to “Wesson's,” but the character of the place was not changed. Murphy is said to have received $18,000 for the saloon, and to have severed all connection with it, but in regard to this there is some doubt, and by many he is supposed to be still interested, if not the proprietor.
      Shortly after Murphy's new departure he started in a new business, and set himself up as a grain and commission man. He took as partners J. C. Rice, and a man named Edgar. Of the latter little is known, and he is not concerned in the case to any great extent, to judge from the actions of the Nebraska officers, who say they want him as a witness and not as a defendant in the case. Rice, however, is better known, and was arrested and taken back with Murphy. He was the principal operator in the alleged fraud. After the firm had prepared for business, Rice was sent East to buy wheat. He traveled into Nebraska and purchased large quantities of wheat in a very short time. He offered more money than the market price and obtained all he wanted on Murphy's credit, which was supposed to be good. The grain was shipped here to be paid for a day or two after delivery. The wheat came in by car-loads and was sold by Murphy who pocketed the proceeds. When $18,000 had thus been obtained, the firm suspended with no assets to speak of. The creditors raised a howl, but Murphy did not return any of the money, and if he really possessed any he so disposed of it that it could not be reached by attachments or suits. The creditors exhausted all of their persuasive powers and then tried threats, but these did work, and they finally had Murphy indicted.


The Exchange and The Arcade
Circa 1890s

 
      Mr. Galbreath, agent for the State of Nebraska, arrived in the city Thursday, just too late to arrest Murphy, who had gone to Leadville. Deputy Sheriff Charley Linton was placed in charge of the case, and as he expected Murphy back every day he did not order an arrest until Saturday, when he telegraphed Sheriff Becker to make the arrest and bring his prisoner down. Deputy Linton went out and met Becker and Murphy at Jefferson, where he took charge of the prisoner, and then telegraphed Deputy Sheriff Charlie Farmer to arrest Rice and meet him at the train. This was done, and as soon as Murphy could be driven to his house and obtain a change of clothing he was taken back and placed on board the Omaha train with Rice, in charge of Special Agent Galbreath and Deputies Sackett and Taylor, the two last named being prosecuting witnesses who caused the arrest to be made and paid all the expenses.
      The prisoners not seem to be much alarmed at anything except at the matter of being handcuffed. Their guilt is, of course, to be proved yet, but they have, even if innocent, a hard time before them.
 
 
The Exchange
Circa 1930s

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The Exchange and The Arcade
Circa 1970s
(Entire block was razed before 1980)

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     Very interesting to find out that John Murphy is a swindler. No wonder Soapy and the Soap Gang hung out there.
     It's reported that Murphy "sold" the saloon (May 1882), but the newspaper hints that it may not have been a real sale ("by many he is supposed to be still interested, if not the proprietor."). Apparently, this tactic was more common than I previously believed. Soapy sold his Tivoli Club (Denver) and his Orleans Club (Creede), remaining proprietor of both. I always figured that Soapy sold his Tivoli Club, in order to save the business from his downward reputation. I know for certain, that the Tivoli remained under full control of Soapy.
     There are questions left unanswered, that I hope to find answers to, as I comb the pages of The Denver Republican, such as, did John Murphy go to prison? When did he cease actual ownership of the Exchange, who took it over, and whether there was a legal name change.











Murphy's Exchange
 










Murphy's Exchange: pages 74, 106, 124, 187, 223, 242, 250-51, 256, 258, 502, 530.





"Lawlessness was rampant, but it did not touch us. The thugs lay in wait for the men with pokes from the “inside.” To the great Cheechako army, they gave little heed. They were captained by one Smith, known as “Soapy,” whom I had the fortune to meet. He was a pleasant-appearing, man, and no one would have taken him for a desperado, a killer of men."
—Robert Service
The Trail of ’98










April 27, 2021

Artifact #82: Soapy's son writes to his son and daughter-in-law, 1938

Artifact #82
Soapy's son (Jefferson R. Smith III)
writes to his son, Joseph Jefferson Smith
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)





 
 
our grandfather, a kindly and generous man, a man who lived within the law and fought the enemies of truth."
 
 
In late 1937 - early 1938, my aunt and uncle, Thelma Anne Rothmund [1911-1981] and Joseph Jefferson Smith [1909-1977] (Soapy's grandchildren), wrote to Joseph's father, Jefferson Randolph Smith III, (Soapy's son) sending him a copy of the War Cry magazine issue (October 16, 1937) that contained the story by Evangeline Booth, fourth daughter of the founder, William Booth, and how she converted Soapy Smith to religion.
 
Evangeline Booth is said to have arrived in Skagway in May 1898. Some of the versions have Booth going to Soapy, while others have Soapy coming to her. I am still searching for a copy of the War Cry, so I can only speak on the latter version which is utilized in the book, General Evangeline Booth of the Salvation Army, by P. W. Wilson, 1948, page 129.

Soapy Smith, who owned the saloon, was quite a celebrity. He got his name in Denver where he sold soap at the street corners. Within certain of the packages were wrapped one, five and ten dollar bills, and with this inducement he did a roaring trade. The loaded packages, however, were handed to purchasers who were confederates, and with Soapy Smith they were hunted out of Denver, finding their way to Skagway where, by fair means or foul, they lured prospectors with money on them into a condition where they could be robbed. Soapy and his gang numbering some sixty adherents were a terror to the town. He was a tall dour man and Evangeline watched him during one of her meetings as he stood listening intently to what she was saying.

One evening in their camp among the trees the Salvationist party was warned that Soapy Smith with five of his bodyguard was approaching. It was a case of firearms on both sides. "Leave him to me," said Evangeline Booth, and she met the party. Supper was over, she said, but she would be happy to give them cups of cocoa. They sat and drank the cocoa and the Field Commissioner took Soapy Smith aside. "Why don't you give up this kind of life?" she asked him, and apparently he was impressed. He said that if he surrendered to the authorities it would be death, and she spoke to him of a salvation that means victory over death. Amid the shadows of the forest they prayed together and Soapy Smith departed.

A citizens meeting was held on a long wharf at Skagway. It was decided to clean out Soapy Smith and his gang. Soapy appeared in force and there was shooting on both sides. The town surveyor, Frank Reid, standing to guard the entrance to the wharf, was killed, which was murder, and Soapy was badly wounded. He was operated on by the surgeon in hope that he might live to be hung. But he cheated the gallows. Five years later someone happened to visit his grave. It was fragrant with fresh flowers. A strange man, he had been, and loved, it would seem, by somebody. For the Salvation Army he always had had a fondness. He told Evangeline Booth that his mother had taken him to its meetings as a little boy, and he had been eager to go because they allowed him to clap his hands.
In the book, Salvation Comes to the Last Frontier, by Evan Dowling, 1986, it is claimed that Booth converted Soapy as well as two members of the Soap Gang. My father and his siblings denied Booth's story because of the numerous "errors." One of the big errors was that Soapy’s mother took him to Salvation Army meetings when he was young. Although my father was going by the family history as he had learned it from his grandmother, Soapy's widow, his argument makes perfect sense considering the Salvation Army did not come to the United States until 1880, three years after Soapy’s mother had passed away. 
 
Back to the letter (artifact #82), ironically, Jefferson had worked for Evangeline Booth as her publicity representative in St. Louis. He adds, "but, dear children be not alarmed as all the allegations are untrue," touching on some of the untrue stories Evangeline Booth told, as well as comparing his father to that of the Salvation Army leadership. His last paragraph is my favorite, even though it shows 100% support for Soapy, which is common in children of famous American bad men. 
 
I have always spoken to you of your grandfather with deep reverence, and I do the same when I discuss his life with your brothers and sisters, and with my dear father's grandchildren. I want you to believe, as I have often told you, that your grandfather, a kindly and generous man, a man who lived within the law and fought the enemies of truth. I want you to continue to believe that he was everything a good man should be, despite allegations by even so great a woman as Miss Evangeline Booth, head of the Salvation Army, and by a widely advertised writer of a book laveled[sic]: "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
Evangeline Booth

 










May 15, 2011










Salvation Army and the Tivoli Club: page 173. 
 
 




"There is a very easy way to return from a gambling house with a small fortune: go there with a large one."
—Jack Yelton










April 25, 2021

THREE-CARD MONTE MEN: Denver Republican, May 11, 1882.

THREE-CARD MONTE MEN.
Denver Republican
May 11, 1882

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e's just struck old Ellie Perkins for $5."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     Though not directly related to the story of Soapy Smith, this Denver Republican article is a great example of one method the monte tossers had of extracting funds from victims, even from those that don't make bets on the three-card monte game. The sharpers simply move to "plan B."
     I am not familiar with a confidence man named Bill "Missouri Bill" Keyes, or even whether it is a real individual, but I hope to find out soon.
     Below is the transcribed article.

THREE-CARD MONTE MEN.

How a Fly Capper, Under the Guise of a Clergyman, Roped in Eli Perkins―A Lie in Two Acts.

      The reason why I urge upon every one, however smart, not to put too much confidence in his own smartness, will be seen further on. Yesterday I had to wait several hours at Monmouth, Illinois, a station on the Chicago Burlington and Quincy road. Monmouth has been frequented by three-card monte men for years. I have always known it, have often seen them there, and have often written about them. Well, yesterday they were there again. One of them, with a Canada Bill dialect, wanted to show me some strange "keerds" that he got in Chicago.
     "What were you doing up there?" I asked, knowing that he was a three-card monte man and feeling an interest in his modes.
      "Me and pap," he said, "took up some hogs. We took up a pile of 'em an' made a heap; but pap he got swindled by a three-card monte man. Got near ruined. But I grabbed the keerd, and I'll show you how they done it."
      "Never mind, boy," I said; "I know all about it. I know the whole racket. I'll keep quiet, mind my own business and let you try your monte game business on someone a little more fresh."
      The monte-boy saw at once that I was posted, and soon turned his attention to a good-looking, young and innocent clergyman in the depot. In a few moments I saw that the innocent clergyman had become deeply interested. His interest grew as he watched the cards. There were three ordinary business cards.
      "I believe I can tell which card has Willowby and Hill on it," said the innocent clergyman.
      “All right - but try it," said the monte man, flopping them about.
      “There, that's the one,” said the clergyman, smiling.
      Sure enough he was right.
      "I don't see how your poor father could lose all his money at such a simple game as that," said the clergyman. "why your eyes can see the card all the time."
      "Suppose you bet $5 that you can tell," suggested the monte man.
      "All right; I'll risk it," said the clergyman, "though I don't like to win money that way."
     The card was turned, and of course the poor, unsuspecting clergyman lost. Again he tried it, hoping to get his $5 back, bit lost again. Then he put up his last dollar and lost that. Then, seeming to realize his situation, he put up his hand to his head and walked out of the depot.
     “To think,” he said, “that I, a clergyman, should get caught at this game. Why, I might have known it was three card monte. I've No respect for myself," and he wiped his eyes in acute condemnation.
     "Why don't you complain of the scoundrel?" I said.
     "I would, but I'm a clergyman, and if they should hear of my sin and foolishness in Peoria, I would be ruined. My poor family would suffer for my sins."
     "Then I'd keep quiet about it," I said; "but let it be a lesson to you never to think you know more than other people."
     "But they've got my last dollar, and I want to go to Peoria. I must go there to preach on Sunday," said the innocent suffering man.
     "Can't you borrow of some one?" I asked.
     "No one knows me, and I don't like to tell my name here after this occurrence," said the poor man; half crying.
     "Very well," I said, "hand me your card, and I will let you have $5, and you can send it to me at the Palmer House, Chicago, when you get to Peoria," and I handed the poor man the money.
     A moment afterward I spoke to the agent at the depot about the wickedness of these monte men, told him of how I had to lend the poor clergyman $5 to get home.
     "And you lent him $5?"
     "Yes, I lent the poor man the money."
     "Well, by the great guns!" and then he slung his hat and yelled to the operator:
     "Bill, you know that ministerial- looking man around here."
     "You mean the capper for the three card monte men, don't you? Bill Keyes-Missouri Bill?"
     "Yes."
     "Well, by the Great Guns he's the best man in the whole gang! He's just struck old Ellie Perkins for $5. It does beat me what blankety, blankety fools them darned newspaper men are."
         Eli Perkins.












December 14, 2011
March 18, 2010











Three-card monte: 8, 10, 15, 27, 51, 53-55, 59, 69, 75, 80, 91, 121, 141, 248, 360, 467, 472, 526.





"The urge to gamble is so universal and its practice is so pleasurable, that I assume it must be evil."
—Heywood Broun (1888-1939)