March 27, 2010

Artifacts: Edwin Smith's letter to cousin Soapy Smith, 1898.

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In November 1897 Soapy traveled to Washington D.C. to see his cousin, Edwin Bobo Smith for some political favors. Ed was a reporter for the Washington Post. This position and his prior service in the US Congress gave him numerous influential contacts, and he used them to try to help Soapy make a respectable name for himself. Soapy had different ideas as to how a respectable name could help him. The details of his trip are published in my book.

Nearly a half year later, in a letter dated March 27, 1898 on Washington Post stationary, cousin Edwin wrote to Soapy to convey remembrances from Congressmen who still reminisced over his visit to the capitol.

Dear Brother Jeff:

Glad to get your letter. I am so busy you must excuse me for not writing sooner. I saw Senator [Edward Oliver Wolcott] Wolcott and he asked to be remembered to you. Ex-Congressman [John Calhoun Bell] Bell of Colorado and Congressman [John Franklin Shafroth] Shafroth also ask me about you every time I see them. Baily of Texas wants to know when you are coming back here. He will be the next speaker if the House goes Democratic. I wish you would write and give me all the news. I want to print in the Post.

Your brother Ed

Those connections along with Edwins’ faithful efforts secured Jeff something he very much wanted: permission to build at an American gateway to the Klondike.

(Click image to enlarge)

You can read more about these men

pp. 444-449.


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