April 11, 2010

Artifact #6: Letter from Yank Fewcloths to Mary Smith, 1895.

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The Brown Palace

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Letter from Hi-Ki and Yank Fewclothes to Soapy's wife Mary
(artifact #6-A)

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Letter from Hi-Ki and Yank Fewclothes to Soapy's wife Mary
(artifact #6-B)

The above letter is written to Soapy's wife Mary in St. Louis by husband and wife team, Henry Edwards (alias Yank V. Fewclothes), "the Poet Laureate of Seventeenth Street" and Hi-Ki were very good and loyal friends with the Smith's. Edwards was a booster in the Soap Gang. After Mary left Denver it was "Yank" and Hi-Ki who often stayed in the Smith household maintaining it for Mary's return, which never came. Edwards revealed his immense sustaining friendship and loyalty when he refused to talk bad of his long deceased friend in a 1914 interview, crowning his allegiance with the words, "He never threw down a pal." Details of Henry Edwards and his association with the Soap Gang are detailed in the pages of Alias Soapy Smith listed at the end of this post.

The letter may have been written by either Hi-Ki or "Yank" on stationary from the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado. Although it is known that "Yank" often resided at local hotels, a common effect of being "on call" for swindles, it is not known if "Yank" was living at the hotel or just using their stationary, which was a common habit. Below is the contents of the letter.

Dec. 14, 1895
Mrs. Mary E. Smith

Dear Friend:

Your most welcome letter was received by due course of mail, and am pleased to hear from you, and to learn of the good health of the children and yourself. Hope Jimmie will continue to improve. The boys are kicking foot ball out on the lot, and are having a great play at it. The house and its contents remain just the same as when you left, one year ago, on the fifth of this month. The taxes for last year were paid on the thirty-first day of last May, and the receipts that have been paid on this and the other property are in a large envelope in your desk. The taxes for this year are not due till after the first of next year, and the books are not ready at present. Have not seen Ellen A. Dalton since August 15th, and do not know her address. This morning I learned that she was out on West Colfax Ave., yesterday, and that she is at work somewhere in the city, and is well and looking nicely. Will ask her address the next time she comes out there. This is all I have been able to learn of her since you wrote me. I will continue to look for her. Hoping to hear from you, or see you soon, with kind regards to all family friends we remain as ever

Hi-Ki and Yank Fewclothes.

"Jimmie" is Soapy and Mary's youngest child, James Luther Smith, born November 27, 1889.

At this time I do not know who Ellen A. Dalton is, although Mary's mother's maiden name was Dalton. Could it be an aunt or cousin?

From the letter we can see that Mary was in Denver for a time, previous to December 5, 1894 when she returned to St. Louis.

Brown Palace: pp. 368, 404.
Henry Edwards (Fewclothes): pp. 50, 52-53, 80, 92, 111-12, 172, 232, 243, 258, 386, 388-89, 395-96- 422, 582, 589, 592, 595.

The Brown Palace is still in operation


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