October 2, 2009

Soapy Smith in Washington, Iowa, 1883

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Soapy Smith's license to sell his "prize soap" Washington, Iowa, 1883
Jefferson Randolph "Little Randy" Smith collection

Here is another copy of a city license obtained by Soapy so that he could "sell prize soap" on the street corners of Washington, Iowa. The license was purchased on May 31, 1883 and expired the following day of June 1, 1883. It is signed by the city mayor, D. C. Kyle. Unlike the others in the Smith family collection this license does not have a space for the fee paid.

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Back side of the license note that Soapy made some notations
Jefferson Randolph "Little Randy" Smith collection

Soapy made some notations on the rear of the license and then scribbled over them. There appear to be several names and monetary figures. The money appears to range from $7.00 to $10,000. From other licenses we have learned that Soapy used the backs of old licenses as note paper when no other was available, and that the notes were not related to the city where the license came from. In this case it is uncertain if the notes made have any relation with Washington, Iowa.

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Negative copy of the notations
Jeff Smith collection

Once again I seek anyone's opinion on deciphering the notations. They may be names of fellow associates or boosters under his pay. They may even hold clues to his next location.

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Panorama of Washington, Iowa
(unknown date)


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