December 26, 2009

Soapy Smith in San Francisco, 1884.

(Click on image to enlarge)

The above photograph comes courtesy of the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum which means San Francisco is the topic in today's post.

We know that Soapy was in Phoenix, Arizona on December 26, 1883 where he paid $4.00 for a vendor's license and that six days later, January 1, 1884 (New Year's Day) he was arrested in San Francisco for running the prize package soap racket. The newspapers stated he had been there for weeks. It is possible that he went to Phoenix and other assorted towns for a period of time and then returned to San Francisco. 1883 is a year of uncertainty in regards to where Soapy had traveled. There are only bits and pieces here and there spread out over the year.

In February 1884 we know that Bascomb, Soapy's younger brother sent a letter addressed to his older brother in San Francisco.

The latest clue of Soapy's time in San Francisco in 1884 comes in the way of a very small (2-1/4" x 3/4") newspaper clipping. We know that Soapy saved thousands of newspaper clippings of which a huge majority were saved because he was involved in the content of the article. This latest clue has writing on it which reads, "Call" Feb 21 '84. This is the San Francisco Call, February 21, 1884 and the article reads as follows.

"Stud-Horse" Poker.
In Police Court No 1 yesterday's charge of gambling against a number of young men, who were arrested for playing "stud-horse" poker was dismissed on motion of the Prosecuting Attorney who stated that the game was one of skill and not of chance.

It is a small clue that Soapy may have been in San Francisco for a longer period than previously thought.

pp. 40-42.


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