January 14, 2021

Soapy Smith's Skull: Monument to a bad man.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Unknown newspaper
1937
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)


 
 
 
 
OAPY SMITH'S SKULL
STRANGE MONUMENT TO "SOAPY" SMITH
Famous Bad Man of the Klondike, Fashioned from natural rock 25 feet high.

On Moore's old wharf, alongside the bay and the railroad dock in Skagway, Alaska is an impressive wall of solid granite that is home to one of the most unique art collections in Alaska. Among the art pieces is a giant painted skull, with the inscription, "Soapy Smith's Skull." 
     In the fall of 1926 some members of the small town noted a peculiar rock formation, the natural configuration of a human skull on the hillside. It is believed to have been painted in the fall of 1926. It is Alaska's grim memorial to its most celebrated bad man gangster, whom some called "Alaska's outlaw." The "strange monument" made it's induction into Ripley's Believe It Or Not publication fame in 1937.
     For decades I had a xerox copy of the newspaper clipping someone in family had sent my father in 1937. In December 2020 a seller on eBay sold me the original clipping shown at the top of this post. The newspaper is unknown, but Ripley's published this in 1937, so at least that much is certain. It's going to be displayed in a nice frame, which is the easy part for me. The hard part will be finding a spot on my overfilled wall-space to hang it.


Soapy Smith Skull
Postcard
Circa 1920s-30s
Jeff Smith's collection
 
(Click image to enlarge)
 
 
Soapy Smith's Skull
As it looks today

 
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Soapy Smith's Skull
3D effect
Photo by Mark Larsen

(Click image to enlarge)





 

"He was noted for the generous side of his nature, and his friends shared in his luck—just as they always did if they needed money and ‘Soapy’ had any."
Rocky Mountain News, July 11, 1915











January 9, 2021

Artifact #70: The Illustrated Police News, the funeral of Joe Simmons

The Illustrated Police News
Law Courts and Weekly Record
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)


 
rtifact #70
A Gambler's Funeral. The First Piano in Creede. "Cap" William Light, Bat Masterson, and Bob Fitzsimmons.

 
     Though seeming just a newspaper with a story on Soapy Smith in Creede, Colorado, this issue is much more than that. It's important as an artifact because it was obtained and saved by "Soapy" Smith himself, known for keeping everything he could find that published his name. This is artifact #70 from my personal collection. 
     The Illustrated Police News was a very popular weekly illustrated newspaper published in England and in the United States (between 1860-1904) making it one of the earliest tabloids. It featured sensational and melodramatic reports and illustrations of crime.
     We start this article on page 3 and 13 as this is obviously the main reason Soapy obtained and saved this issue. It deals with the death of "Gambler Joe" Simmons in Creede, Colorado on March 18, 1892 of pneumonia. Simmons had been a long-time friend of Soapy's, as well as a key member of the Soap Gang. He managed the Tivoli Club in Denver and came to Creede to manage Soapy's Orlean's Club. He is also known to have dealt faro. When Simmons died, Soapy took it pretty hard, openly displaying his emotion. Both Creede newspapers, a poet, and the Illustrated Police News wrote of Soapy's mourning. 
     At the grave site, Soapy gave the eulogy.

      The man whom we have just laid to rest was the best friend I ever had. You all knew him. Did any of you ever know him to do a thing that wasn’t square with his friends? No. I thought not. Neither did I. The best we can do now is to wish him the best there is in the land beyond the range, or the hereafter, if there is any hereafter. Joe didn’t think there was and I don’t know anything about it. Friends, I ain’t much of a speaker. But Joe was my friend and all he wanted was for us to gather at his grave and drink his health when he was gone. Let us do it.
     Twelve bottles of Pomeroy were then opened and each of the assemblage took his glass in hand while Smith said: “Here’s to the health of Joe Simmons in the hereafter, if there is a hereafter.” The glasses were drained. Then all joined hands around the grave and sang “Auld Lang Syne.” 
 
An artist for The Illustrated Police News successfully caught the emotion shared at Joe Simmon's funeral in the drawing shown below.
 
 
 
Page 13 - close up
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
 
 
Page 13
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection
 
 (Click image to enlarge)
 
"Have no preachin' at my send off. Just drink my health."
 
The first and primary reason Soapy saved this issue was the story about the bural of his friend, Joe Simmons. The Illustrated Police News copied the story, A Gambler's Funeral, from the Creede Chronicle, March 22, 1892. Following is the article.

      “Can a feller buy a stack of blues in here, to-day?”
      “Not to-day, pardner.”
      “What’s the matter?”
      “Well, Joe Simmons is being buried to-day and the house is closed until after the funeral.”
      “Who was Joe Simmons?”
      “How long have you been in camp?”
      “Came in on the afternoon train.”
      “Thought so. Well Joe Simmons was Jeff Smith’s best friend. This is Jeff’s house and not a card will be turned or a drink sold until Joe’s remains have been carefully planted. You can slide up to the bar and gulp one to Joe’s health beyond the range, but your money don’t go.”
      The above conversation took place at the Orleans Club in this camp, Sunday afternoon. The inquiring party was a miner fresh from Leadville. The man who responded was the bar keeper at the Club.
      After the drink, the mixologist waxed talkative. “I’ve known Jeff Smith,” he said, “for a number of years, but I never saw him knocked such a twister as when he found out that Joe had to die. Down in Texas years ago both of ’em was kids together. They went to an old log schoolhouse and helped each other to annoy the teacher and get a little learning. Then they went to punchin’ cows and worked for the same outfit, afterwards graduating into the Texas Rangers. They ran together, swore together, yes and I guess they skinned many a sucker together too, but they never gave a friend dirt.
      Well Joe comes into camp when he hears the boom is on and went to dealin’ for Jeff. He finally got sick—pneumonia—and Friday night a few moments before 12 o’clock, Jeff goes up to his room. Joe was dyin’ and Jeff knowed it, but he tried to give him a stall that he was looking all right.”
      “Don’t lie to me, Jeff,” says Joe, “I know I’m dying. My last chip will be cashed in very soon and I want to say good-bye to you. You won’t have no preachin’ at my send-off, will you? No. Good. Just lay me out and wish me good health on the other side of the range. If there is another side and any health there. Good-bye, old pard, I’m off!”
      “Them was the last words Joe spoke, and Jeff came down to the saloon and cried like a baby. He says to me, ‘Chick [William], the whitest man on earth just died,” and I know what he meant. But there goes the funeral procession."
     Joe Simmons was one of the best known gamblers in the West. He had been Jeff Smith's school-day friend, and the last wishes of his friend were a sacred trust to him. Accordingly the funeral and the services at the grave [illegible due to missing newspaper pieces] ... mountain side above Creede w ...[illegible due to missing newspaper pieces] perhaps
[illegible due to missing newspaper pieces] the remains of an erstwhile human being were being consigned to their last resting place.
     At 2 o'clock the funeral cortege left the undertaker's. A wagon containing the deceased was in advance. Next followed the only hack in town, containing Jeff Smith, John Kinneavy, Hugh Mohan and a Creede Chronicle reporter. Ore wagons containing fifty friends of the departed followed.
     A blinding snow-storm was in progress, but the horses plodded on up the steep hill side. When half way up the mourners were forced to get out and walk to the head of the hill, as the horses couldn't stand the strain.
     Finally the cemetery was reached. Six mounds of earth, ominously close together, marked it. A gaping oblong hole had been dug beside the last mound. When the box had been taken from the improvised hearse it was lowered into the grave. Every head was uncovered, and Jeff Smith, standing at the foot of the grave, thus addressed the throng:
     "The man whom we have just laid to rest was the best friend I ever had. You all knew him. Did any of you ever know him to do a thing that wasn’t square with his friends? No. I thought not. Neither did I. The best we can do now is to wish him the best there is in the land beyond the range, or the hereafter, if there is any hereafter. Joe didn’t think there was and I don’t know anything about it. Friends, I ain’t much of a speaker. But Joe was my friend and all he wanted was for us to gather at his grave and drink his health when he was gone. Let us do it."
      Twelve bottles of Pommery were then opened and each of the assemblage took his glass in hand while Smith said: “Here’s to the health of Joe Simmons in the hereafter, if there is a hereafter.” The glasses were drained. Then all joined hands around the grave and sang “Auld Lang Syne.”
     It was a strange and weird sight. The snow was falling in thick heavy clouds, and for a single moment the sun came out above the crested cliff's and glinted on the glasses, giving a new sparkle to the wine that toasted the obsequies of the dead sport. Sorrow for the nonce was drowned by an offering to Bacchus.
     The dirt was filled into the grave and the cortege returned to town. In a few moments funeral goers were busy again with cards and chips and the Orleans Club opened for business. 

Below is page 3, where the story, A GAMBLER'S FUNERAL, is located.
 
 
 
Page 3
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
 
The next picture and story of some interest to Soapy is on pages 9-10, and has to do with the arrival of the first piano in Creede.

"The first piano in the new camp.
A great reception at Creede, Col., for a new music maker—The instrument that is doing all-day and all-night duty in a dance hall."
 
     A piano came into the new Colorado camp boom city of Creede a fortnight ago, the "advance courier," as the Daily Crusher declared in a column article on the subject the next day, "of a long line of musical instruments which will make these mountain fastnesses ring with melody, and create a symphonous accompaniment to the everlasting music of the resonant steel discs of the saw mill up Poverty Gulch. The piano has come to stay. It is set up in a dance hall, where its tired strings are nightly hammered by a long-haired virtuoso, who sweeps out the corks in the early dawn, places the 'dead drunks' tenderly under the wooden bunks in the retiring rooms, and acts as tout for his rendervous when the stage whirls in the afternoon."
     There is much of open violation of law in Creede, and as the Crusher's rival, the Prospector, stated in its issue, "the midnight air is rasped by the assassin's bullet. Shootings are common enough, and there is not much of police protection. There is, however, an association of bearded, reputable, determined men, who never fail to receive respect from desperadoes when they find themselves compelled to resort to the vigilantes' ultimatum. Invitations to leave the camp are promptly complied with. 'You have twenty-four hours in which to leave town,' wrote a committee of this kind once in Cheyenne's active days. 'Gentlemen,' came the brief and scholarly response, in fine Italian hand, 'gentlemen, if my mule doesn't buck I'll not need more than twenty-four minutes.' An intimation of a public desire here is sufficient to meet with prompt obedience."
 

 
Page 9 - close up
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
 
 
 
Page 9
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
 
Below is page 10 where the story is located.
 
 
Page 10
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
 
The third story Soapy would have taken interest in is on page 11. It's just three sentences long, having to do with his brother-in-law, William Sydney "Cap" Light, who was a member of the Soap Gang, and a deputy marshal in Creede, Colorado in 1892.
 
The first murder at Creede, Col., occurred March 31. Capt. Light shot and killed McCann, a gambler, in Long's saloon. Light has disappeared.
 
A fourth story makes mention of Soapy's friend, William B. Masterson who was also in Creede.
 
W. B. Masterson, who has been at Creede, Col., managing the sporting house of Watrous, Banninger & Co., a rich Denver firm who opened a branch at Creede, has returned to Denver. It is said that the bar receipts of the Creede branch house averaged $600 a day. Masterson has been living a quiet and uneventful life at Denver for the past ten years, serving most of the time as a deputy sheriff of Arapahoe county. He has never been a desperado in the sense of other men with whom his name has been connected. He doesn't stand accused of train robbery and  such like deeds of lawlessness. But many is the man who did commit these deeds that he has met and vanquished. He has been in nearly every rough town of the west since 1872 as a gambler "on the inside" as the sports term it, and he has come through many a shower of bullets unscathed and has never, it is said by those who know his career most intimately, been the aggressor in a shooting scrape. Masterson, when men have been against him to do him, has simply not taken the worst of it.
 
Below is page 11, where the two briefs are located.
 
 
 
Page 11
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
 
 
The final story Soapy would have taken interest in is on page 6, and having to do with middle weight boxing champion Robert "Fitz" Fitzsimmons. It was in Denver in 1891 that Soapy and members of his Soap Gang swindled the famous boxer out of cash and diamonds in a "big mit" poker con. The story is much too long and does not contain anything about Soapy and Denver, but may be of interest to sports historians and fans. 
 
 Below is page 6 and 14, where the story is located.


Page 6
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)
 
 
Page 14
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
 
The remaining pages of the Illustrated Police News is filled with various stories and graphics of interest. There seems to be something for everyone's interest. Enjoy.
 
 
 
Page 2
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

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Page 4
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection
  
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Page 5
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection
  
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Page 7
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

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Page 8
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

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Page 12
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

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Page 15
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
 
 
 
 
Page 16
The Illustrated Police News
April 9, 1892
Artifact #70
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
 
 
 
 
 








Joe Simmons:
 










Joe Simmons: pages 33, 89, 131, 210, 214, 225-29, 273, 594.





"It can be argued that man's instinct to gamble is the only reason he is still not a monkey up in the trees."
                                                                           —Mario Puzo, Inside Las Vegas













November 27, 2020

Soapy Smith related to one of the vigilantes that helped end his reign

Thomas Marshall Word
Nov 7, 1857 - Feb 5, 1929

(Click image to enlarge)



 
 
 
OAPY SMITH RELATED TO ONE OF THE VIGILANTES THAT HELPED END HIS REIGN!


December 2009: Fred Wood contacted me as a descendant of Tom Marshall Word, one of the vigilantes that helped end the reign of Soapy Smith in Skagway, Alaska. That alone was very interesting, and I was very happy to hear from him, but at that time he did not have a lot of information, nor did I. One of the reasons had to do with the spelling of the last name as "Ward" in Skagway, which had me believing it was two separate individuals. Tom Word's story as a vigilante, is definitely included in my book, Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel, as he was involved with the fay shooting and the capture of key members of the Soap Gang after the death of Soapy. More on that in a bit.
 
February 2010: I rekindled communications with Fred Wood who had found some very interesting information. Fred wrote that Word's full name was Thomas Marshall Word, and was related to Soapy Smith! I had no way of proving or disproving the claim as I was not on Ancestry.com with a detailed family tree and Fred had no provenance at the time, and thus the story remained on a back-burner for the next decade.

Thomas Marshall Word

(Click image to enlarge)
 
September 2020: After reopening communications, I was able to add Fred Wood and the Word ancestors to my tree, now located on Ancestry.com. The connections and the original claim by Fred are verified, even if a little distant. The family connection between Soapy Smith and Thomas Marshall Word is as follows:
 
3rd cousin of husband of aunt of wife of uncle of wife of 1st cousin 1x removed


History of Thomas Marshall Word

In Skagway, Alaska history there is confusion as to Word's last name, which is published in the newspapers as "Ward," which obviously caused problems for future researchers. One of the first interesting mentions of Word involves his connection to the John Fay shooting murder of  Andy McGrath and Deputy US Marshall James Mark Rowan inside People's Theater on January 31, 1898.
Tom M. Ward, a local merchant, said he knew the whereabouts of Fay and that he had agreed to give himself up if guaranteed protection and a fair trial.[1]
Fay went into hiding and Soapy became involved, helping to guard and protect Fay from any vigilante action. At the time, Word was likely not a member of the vigilantes that arose from the murder. As a respected "merchant" (grocer) it is probable that he was used by Soapy as a neutral mouth-piece. Word's history is that of a law-abiding individual so it is likely that Word sought legal justice, as opposed to being on friendly terms with Soapy and the Soap Gang. Word was a grocer while in Skagway, Alaska, as mentioned in Portland, Oregon newspaper bios on Word during his run as county sheriff in 1904. 

Word siblings
Circa pre-1906
Thomas M. Word - center (sitting)
Tom's sister Nell - center (standing)
Tom's brother Samuel - left
Tom's brother Lee - right (died 1906)


(Click image to enlarge)
 
In the days following the shooting death of Soapy, Word joined the vigilantes to assist the capture of Soapy's gang. He missed an opportunity to capture the three key Soap Gang members. 
"Van Triplett gave his captors the last known location of Bowers, Foster, and Wilder. An armed posse of 30 men scoured the hillside all day Sunday and into the early evening, looking for the men, but did not find them. In the early evening Tom Ward and 8 others were searching the hills near the cemetery. John Patten and James Little had a hunch that Bowers, Foster, and Wilder might be in the area, so they hid near a little bridge just north of the cemetery and waited for Ward and his men to leave, which they did around 8 p.m. About 8:30 the 3 fugitives stepped into the open about 50 yards to the east of Patten and Little and began walking straight towards Patten’s hiding spot. When they were about 15 feet from him, he stood up, aimed his Winchester rifle at the men, and demanded their surrender. They did so without resistance."[2]
 
Thomas M. Word

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
After the capture of the main gang members, "Sehlbrede [Judge Charles A. Sehlbrede] then ordered Tanner to transfer Bowers, Foster, and Wilder to the same third-floor Burkhard Hotel area occupied by Van Triplett." Tom Word was one of the men assigned to guard the prisoners.[3]
     Word's son Arthur Clark Word passed away on March 14, 1898, in Skagway, Alaska, at the age of 4. The Word's, or at least his wife, left Skagway previous to the birth of another son, Richard Moseley Word who was born on December 24, 1898, in Portland, Oregon. The Oregonian newspaper states that Tom Word ran his grocery store in Skagway for "two years," which, if correct, Tom ran the store through 1899, after the birth of his son Richard.[4]
     Judge Charles A. Sehlbrede, who had ordered the Soap Gang transfer to the Burkhard Hotel, was living in Portland, Oregon during Tom Word's first campaign run for county sheriff. Sehlbrede offered up his opinion of Word. 
     "One of the bravest men in Alaska in the days when bravery meant that the man who possessed it went forth with his life in his hands, was Tom Word, the Democratic candidate for sheriff."
     Judge Sehlbrede has been a life-long Republican, and he pronounced himself as a defender of Mr. Word when he had learned that the question of Mr. Word's bravery had been raised. Continuing, the Judge said:
     "It was because of the courage of such men as Mr. Word that Alaska was freed of the disreputable 'Soapy' Smith and his gang. ..."
     "In the call for volunteers to join the Citizen's committee Tom Word was one of the first men to respond and offer his services.
     "The remnants of the Smith gang had fled to Dyea, five miles away. Word hired a boat and got some men together and went after the gang. They brought back 20 of them. Each fellow was convicted and sentenced to prison. Tom Word paid for the expenses of the trip out of his own pocket; and never got a cent of the money back. ..."
     "Captain John Sperry of this city was a member of that committee and can vouch for what I say...."[5]
 
Cartoon of Tom Word
Oregon Journal
June 5, 1904


 (Click image to enlarge)
 
Interesting to note the story about Word capturing 20 Soap Gang members in Dyea. This is not mentioned in the pretty detailed accounts by Skagway newspapers. Is it a true, but largely unreported event, or could Judge Sehlbrede have added in some larger-than-life fictional accounts to help an old peer? Indeed, other parts of the interview of Sehlbrede include exaggerations and misinformation.
     After leaving Skagway, Tom Word resided in Portland, Oregon where he worked as a traveling salesman until he decided to run for county sheriff in 1904. He served as sheriff of Multnomah County (Portland) twice, 1904-1906 and again in 1913-1915. In 1918 Word became an agent for the Department of Justice. (retiring once in 1925 and immediately being rehired) until his death in 1929. 
 
Thomas M. Word
The Oregonian, 02/06/1929


(Click image to enlarge)

In 1926, 28 years after Soapy's reign ended, Tom Word returned to Alaska for several months on a work related trip. It has to be wondered if he made the trip back to Skagway for a visit.
     Thomas Marshall Word died at the home of his daughter on February 5, 1929. He was 71.[6]

Word's final resting place
Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Mausoleum
Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon

 
(Click image to enlarge)


SOURCES:
[1] Daily Alaskan, 02/01/1898 and 02/05/1898.
[2] Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel. Note the spelling of Word as Ward.
[3] Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel.
[4]
The Oregonian, 02/06/1929.
[5] Oregon Journal, 06/04/1904.
[6] The Oregonian, 02/06/1929.
Find-A-Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/102215903/thomas-marshall-word











March 17, 2010










Thomas M. Ward (Word): pages 458, 567.





"In times of trouble, though, he usually preferred to rely on his wits, smooth speech, and dexterity rather than on physical force."
Alias Soapy Smith



NOVEMBER 27


1779: The College of Pennsylvania is renamed the University of Pennsylvania, the first legally recognized university in America.
1839: The American Statistical Association is founded in Boston, Massachusetts.
1862: George Armstrong Custer meets his future bride, Elizabeth Bacon at a Thanksgiving party.
1868: Cheyenne Indian Chief Black Kettle and his wife are killed by troopers led by George Armstrong Custer, despite flying the American flag, during the Washita Massacre.
1885: Fire, starting above the Junction Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas, destroys a block of the business district, including The Junction, the Opera House, the Long Branch and Bob Wright’s store, are gutted. It is rumored that the prohibitionists intentionally set the fire, and while the embers still smoldered, Wright shot three bullets into Mike Sutton’s home, a leader among the anti-saloon crowd. He later claimed that he was firing at a prowler trying to get into Sutton’s house.
1887: U.S. Deputy Marshall Frank Dalton, the oldest of the famous outlaw brothers, is killed in the line of duty near Fort Smith, Arkansas. Dalton and Deputy J. R. Cole went to the Cherokee Nation to arrest Dave Smith on horse stealing. Dalton stepped up to the tent that contained Smith and his cohorts, and was immediately shot by Smith. Deputy Cole returned fire, killing Smith, but was then shot and wounded by one of the other men inside the tent. Cole escaped, believing Dalton was dead. Dalton, however, was still alive, and engaged the outlaws in a short gun battle. One of Smith's cohorts was wounded, and a woman who was in the camp was killed during the crossfire. Frank Dalton was killed by two additional rifle shots by from Will Towerly. One wounded man was captured but Towerly escapes unhurt. Towerly flees to his family's home near Atoka in Indian Territory where he is later killed by lawman Bill Moody.
1889: Curtis P. Brady is issued the first permit to drive an automobile through Central Park in New York City.
1894: A gambler’s petition signed by Denver businessmen starts losing signers when it is learned that famed confidence man Soapy Smith is behind the petition. His response to the Rocky Mountain News is, “I beg to state that I am no gambler. A gambler takes chances with his money, I don’t. I had nothing to do with the businessmen’s petition, and under no circumstances would I sign such a document. Hoping that the clergy will kindly leave me out of that “class…”







September 25, 2020

Bascomb Smith: A "champion" to Miss Hall

A CHAMPION
San Francisco Chronicle
October 12, 1898

(Click image to enlarge)


 


  

ASCOMB IS A CHAMPION

 

 

  

Guess Bascomb Smith wasn't all bad. The texts of the newspaper appear below.

 

Miss Hall finds a champion.
Brother of  “ Soapy” Smith claims her as his wife.
There is another side to the pathetic story told to the police by Minnie Hall, the Vaudeville actress to jump into the bay from Howard Street Wharf on Monday afternoon. Her real name is or was, Elsie Edwards, and she came here from Seattle with Bascom Smith, a brother of “Soapy" Smith, who was killed in Skagway, Alaska, about two months ago by members of the vigilance committee.
      Smith, presenting himself as the husband of the actress, secured her release yesterday from the matron's quarters at the City Prison. She accompanied him willingly, and did not deny his statement that she is his wife. Prior to her release the distressed vaudeville artist procured a search warrant in Judge Conlan's court to secure possession of her trunk and contents, which she values at $200, from Mine. Ferlot's house, 724 California street, where she roomed. She appeared in court wearing slippers and somewhat thin attire.
      Smith says that nobody evicted the would-be suicide, but that she "got full of claret up to her chin" and wandered off to the wharf unnoticed by those in the rooming-house. Her trunk is now in the property clerk's office at police headquarters.

 
It is interesting that Elsie "Minnie Hall" Edwards came to San Francisco with Bascomb. The question that remains is whether they were actually married. I have not found her mentioned when Bascomb returned to Seattle, where in 1899 he was forced to leave once again.
     "Claret" is a red wine from Bordeaux, or wine of a similar character made elsewhere.
     Good friend and exceptional historian/researcher, Peter Brand writes, "I think I have more on them in Butte Montana. They seem to have a similar relationship to Doc Holliday and Kate. Gambler and prostitute and love/hate etc."
 
The research never ends!










Bascomb Smith
August 1, 2011
May 4, 2012
September 20, 2015

September 22, 2015

March 23, 2019
June 23, 2020











Bascomb Smith: pages 22, 41-42, 67, 75-76, 88-89, 92, 120-22, 139, 143, 162-63, 165, 167, 169, 176, 178, 182, 214, 247, 264, 273-75, 336, 340, 352, 355, 361, 363, 367, 370-77, 381-86, 391-99, 403-05, 408-09, 412, 420-23, 519, 554-55, 584, 588-89, 594. 






"Casinos and prostitutes have the same thing in common; they are both trying to screw you out of your money and send you home with a smile on you face."
—V. P. Pappy






September 24, 2020

The Death of Bascomb Smith: Soapy Smith's hot-head younger brother

BASCOMB SMITH
Ends his life with drugs
Alliance Herald
September 9, 1909

(Click image to enlarge)



 
ascomb Smith's death
Did Bascomb die a "drug fiend" in 1909?




     What ever happened to Bascomb Smith and when he died, has been a mystery in the Smith family. The last we previously heard from Bascomb was in December 1899 when he was ordered to leave Seattle, Washington after shooting and wounding a man. There is a family story that Bascomb died in the 1920s but it is not known where this information came from, nor is there any provenance. 
     Author/historian and good friend, Peter Brand responded to a post about Bascomb, trying to determine if an article he had found was about our Bascomb Smith (see top pic). It seems probable that it is.
     It is known, according to the Seattle newspapers, that Bascomb was a "hop fiend." The fact that his father and several uncles were attorney's, I can see where Bascomb might lie about being a retired "young promising lawyer." If this is our Bascomb Smith, then he died at some point previous to September 7, 1909 in Omaha, Nebraska. 

 

REST IN PEACE BASCOMB.

Only positively-known image
of Bascomb Smith

(Click image to enlarge)

 

* Special thanks go out to author/historian Peter Brand for locating this newspaper clipping!







Bascomb Smith
August 1, 2011
May 4, 2012
September 20, 2015

September 22, 2015

March 23, 2019
June 23, 2020









Bascomb Smith: pages 22, 41-42, 67, 75-76, 88-89, 92, 120-22, 139, 143, 162-63, 165, 167, 169, 176, 178, 182, 214, 247, 264, 273-75, 336, 340, 352, 355, 361, 363, 367, 370-77, 381-86, 391-99, 403-05, 408-09, 412, 420-23, 519, 554-55, 584, 588-89, 594. 





"In a bet there is a fool and a thief."
—Proverb