October 16, 2009

Soapy Smith and the song Faithfully.

Most of my life I have studied the life of my great-grandfather, Jefferson R. Smith II, Alias "Soapy." At times modern influences, writings and songs gave me a look into what I imagined life was like for Soapy and his family. Just as a special song might remind one of a special time in life one song from 1983 reminded me of how Soapy might have felt being away from his family so much. Jefferson and Mary were married in 1886 but in 1889 circumstances dictated that Mary and the coming children stay with her mother in St. Louis, Missouri while Soapy operated in Colorado and Alaska. Family letters show that Soapy constantly wrote Mary often and visited her when ever possible. If he could not get to her he would transport her to where he happen to be. They took lavish trips together around the country and in the end, although she married another man after Soapy was killed, she never discarded Soapy's belongings and the good time memories.

In 1983 the rock band Journey released a song entitled Faithfully, written by band keyboard player Jonathan Cain about his own rough relationship of being a married man on the road. Certain lyrics from that song always reminded me of Jeff and Mary. For your enjoyment I posted a video of Journey singing the song, Faithfully. Below that are the lyrics. The bold text are what struck me the most, along with my interpretations in brackets. Did I go overboard in my imagination?

Highway run
Into the midnight sun [Alaska]
Wheels go round and round
You're on my mind
Restless hearts sleep alone tonight
Sendin' all my love along the wire [the telegraph]
They say that the road ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line it's been you and me
And lovin' a music man ain't always what it's s'posed
to be
Oh girl, ya stand by me
I'm forever yours...

Circus life under the big-top world [Soapy often followed fairs]
We all need the clowns to make us smile [the fake smile of a bunco man]
Through space and time Always another shore Wonderin' where I am [Mary received false death reports]
Lost without you
And bein' apart ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again I get the joy of rediscoverin' you [obvious]
Oh girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours



  1. Ah my dear,
    Dare I say that I beleive that you are a true romantic at heart?
    No I don't beleive that you went overboard at all,I loved how you tied it all in and made it Soapy and Mary's story.
    You picked a wonderful song too!

  2. Thank you very much Leah. It is a great song.

  3. Seems like Soapy was a romantic at heart too. It's nice to see he loved his family so much and this is a beautiful song. It fits perfectly !


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