March 5, 2011

Did Soapy Smith know Naoma Kelly in Denver?

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Here is a fun mystery letter from my files that was not included in my book.

Denver Col June 1st
Mr. Jefferson Smith
Dear Sir.
(Click image to enlarge)
I would like to see you on business of importance, not knowing where to find you I thought best to write. If it will be convenient to call next Tuesday eve I will be at home. Please answer and oblige.
Mrs. Naoma Kelly
1347 Marion St.

The meaning behind the content of the letter could be one of several possibilities. We know it is from a female resident of Denver, possibly known to Soapy, but we don't know the year.

Is Naoma a single woman? Could this be from a female admirer? Or is Naoma married? Soapy knew a number of men named Kelly. Perhaps Naoma is wishing to borrow some money to hold her family (and her too proud to ask husband) over during hard times? Is she seeking legal help from Soapy the “political and court fixer”? Is she possibly the wife of a Denver man who was swindled in one of Soapy’s many rooms, and she is wishing for the lost funds to be returned?



  1. My bet is on....both scenarios 'together'.
    I have the feeling that Mrs. Naoma Kelly was possibly a very 'fetching' married woman [ a 'Cougar' in todays parlence ]. :)

    Times were tough all over, and it is not too absurd to think that Mrs. Kelly's 'business' was to try to 'woo' JRSII out of some of his money.

    However, what the heck do I know! :)

  2. Friend Rich, you are probably right. As we don't know the outcome all senarios are excepted.

    BTW: I have seen the term "cougar" to catagorize certain females in the Rocky Mountain News newspapers of 1894 that I'm currently researching.


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