April 3, 2010

Letter to Jefferson R. Smith from Luther Martin Smith, 1877.

(Click images to enlarge)

One of the goals of the recent newsletter I sent out is to encourage family members with artifacts and photographs to share them with us here on the blog so that other family members and all interested historians may have the pleasure of seeing them. Bringing each item out to be seen by others also allows new information to be utilized in telling the true stories of Soapy Smith and his family. Kyle Rosene, a great-grandnephew of Soapy has never shied away from sharing his fine collection. In fact five photographs in the book, Alias Soapy Smith are from his collection, including the one on the cover. A day of receiving the newsletter Kyle was once again sending me scans of his collection. The four page letter seen here is the first he is sharing with us. We all thank you Kyle.

The letter deciphered.

(From Alias Soapy Smith, p. 26)
Sometime between 1876 and 1877, the father picked up the remains of his family and moved them to Round Rock, Texas.

The state was a haven for Southerners after the war. Laws were lax, and growth was everywhere. Round Rock had become a prosperous frontier-trading center for ranchers and farmers since arrival of the railroad in 1876, which turned Round Rock into a railway terminus. Round Rock was home to the Smith family for almost five years, but records of Smith activities there are few. The father attempted to resurrect his law practice but without success.

On July 1, 1877 Jefferson's wife, Emily Dawson Edmundson, passed away. The family, especially the children which included a young Soapy, began to suffer without their mother. Folks back in Georgia worried for the children and that's the story behind this letter. It was not long after this that young Jefferson R. Smith II struck out on his own.


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