June 22, 2011

The Ballad of Soapy Smith: A poem by Robert L. Hinshaw.

Actors in the Days of '98 Show
Skagway, Alaska
Click image to enlarge

A poem
by Robert L. Hinshaw

Jefferson Randolph 'Soapy' Smith was the wiliest scoundrel in the west!
He was invited to leave numerous towns since he wasn't a welcome guest!
He swindled gullible dudes throughout the west endin' up in Colorado,
Where he earned the sobriquet 'Soapy' and where he found his El Dorado!

He'd set up a soap display on a Denver street and invite folks to gather 'round.
His spiel began: "Buy a bar for a dollar and inside money may be found!"
The rush was on and suckers fought to buy bars of soap, gamblin' on a win!
Cops were even called to the scene to maintain order and to quell the din!

Folks tore at wrappers and one feller hollered, "I got a hundred dollar bill!"
Little did the unsuspectin' boobs know that it was 'Soapy's' planted shill!
Dupes lost their dough and with a five-cent bar of soap they were stuck,
He pulled the scam time and again and that's how "Soapy's' name was struck!

'Soapy' pulled up stakes in Denver and migrated to other towns out west.
He was successful with the soap scam and was adept at hidin' aces in his vest!
He made his way to Creede where he established the Orleans Gamblers Saloon.
There, 'Soapy' was involved in nefarious affairs and left town none too soon!

The gold rush was on in the Yukon and he pined to go there ere it was too late.
He arrived in Skagway and later on in Juneau where he was to meet his fate.
'Soapy' met his end in a gunfight and his final words were, "My God, don't shoot!"
Thus ends the ballad of 'Soapy' Smith, that swindlin', cheatin', rotten galoot!

Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
© All Rights Reserved

I found the above poem at Poetry Soup, a site for writers and poets. I could tell in reading the poem that Robert had done a little research so I left a nice comment on the page where is poem is published and asked permission to post it here.

Robert writes,

Dear Jeff:

What a pleasant surprise hearing from you via the Poetry Soup site! I'm happy that you enjoyed the poem, The Ballad of Soapy Smith! I did some research on Soapy before I wrote it and as you see in spots took some "poetic license" as they say! Your great-grandpa left quite a legacy and along the way he did a lot of charitable work. I am honored that you propose to include the poem on your blog and certainly you have my permission to do so. My wife and I were privileged to visit your grandpa's grave when we were in Skagway a few years ago. Do you mind if I post information about your response to the poem, your blog sites and information about your book on my blog on poetrysoup.com? I have written over 900 poems on most every subject imaginable and about 750 of them are posted on poetrysoup under my full name Robert L. Hinshaw, should you care to take a peek at some of them I try to write about ordinary people and events much in the same vein as Robert Service, Edgar A. Guest and J Whitcomb Riley and folks of that ilk. Thanks again.
Bob Hinshaw

Thank you so much Bob!

Robert L. Hinshaw began writing poetry at the age of 72 in 2002. He has written over 900 poems dealing with most every subject including religious, military, patriotic,, western, seasonal and nostalgic pieces about "the good old days." Bob writes about ordinary people and events much in the same style of Edgar A. Guest, James Whitcomb Riley, Robert Service and folks of that ilk. He has four self-published books of poetry and many of his poems have been published in national and international anthologies, periodicals and books of other poets. Bob graduated from Hagerstown High School, Hagerstown, Indiana, in May of 1948 and immediately enlisted in the Air Force. His career spanned 30 years and he retired in August of 1978 in the grade of Chief Master Sergeant. Bob is also a retired Bailiff for the State of Colorado. While in the service, he earned a degree in Justice Administration from the Japan branch of Los Angeles City College. He and his wife, Vera, reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado

1894: General Tarsney kidnapped, tarred and feathered. Tarsney commanded the State troops during the Denver City Hall War. Was Soapy involved?

Jeff Smith


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Thank you for leaving your comment and/or question on my blog. I always read, and will answer all questions left here. Please know that they are greatly appreciated. -Jeff Smith