I received an interesting message on True West forum about Bob Ford and Soapy Smith. Member Paul had heard about the Ford collar button story of which I did not cover in the book.
I'd like to ask you a question about Soapy. There is a chapter in Fred Sutton's memoirs "Hands Up" (as told to A.B. MacDonald) that is about the death of Jesse James. The story line follows Jesse's murderer Bob Ford to Creede, Co and briefly but graphically describes Ford's death. According to Sutton the shotgun blast that killed Ford blew his collar button through his neck. That button was said to have been picked up by soapy who carried it with him until his death and was buried with it.
Do you know anything about that?
Jeff Smith writes.
I have heard the story, except in the one I heard the collar button was embedded into a tent pole and that someone else found it and gave it to Soapy. I never heard the part about him being buried with it. It is not mentioned in any of the newspapers or estate records in Skagway, Alaska where he is buried. To my knowledge it has not surfaced within the family, then again, would anyone know it was Ford's? What an incredible find if it did exist!
Bob Ford's Creede adventures are covered well in my book, Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel but due to the massive size of the book my publisher edited the collar button story out along with many other stories that had no provenance.
TO FAMILY MEMBERS:
Do you have any more information on this story, or perhaps have a collar button in your collections of Soapy Smith artifacts? Let us know!