March 30, 2012

Did Soapy Smith meet Butch Cassidy?

Courtesy of
Bank Terrorists and Major Crime Up-dates

April 7, 2012

Some of you might recall that I have mentioned reading Denver newspapers page-by-page, year-by-year, in order that I not miss anything regarding Soapy Smith. It is a long tedious, and sometimes pretty boring process but the wealth of information I found has filled a four-drawer office filing cabinet with xerox copies of articles that were used in publishing my book. It's easy to imagine missing a few items over the years, but a Denver bank robbery? In Soapy's own branch no less!  

Today while browsing on Facebook I came across the following.
Butch Cassidy accompanies the McCarty brothers on another raid on this date [March 30] in 1889. This time the gang picked out the First National Bank in Denver, Colorado, robbing it of $20,000. Tom McCarty approached the bank president and with his odd sense of humor, stated: "Excuse me, sir, but I just overheard a plot to rob your bank." The bank president appeared visibly shaken and managed to ask "Lord! How did you learn of this plot?" "I planned it," McCarty said, pulling his six-gun. "Put up your hands." Four men, Cassidy, Tom and Bill McCarty, and Matt Warner rode out of Denver with $5,000 a piece from the robbery.
Anyone who has read my book will know that 1889 was a big year (good and bad) for Soapy Smith. They might also remember that Soapy had an account with the First National Bank. I have to wonder if Soapy might have caught a glimpse of the robbers, and if not actually, then why he didn't say he did anyway. He always seemed to be at the right and wrong place at the right and wrong times.

1889: Butch Cassidy accompanies the McCarty brothers in robbing the First National Bank in Denver, Colorado of $20,000.


Jeff Smith's Parlor (Soapy Smith's saloon) restoration: Part 11

From Alaska Magazine
April 2012
(Click image to enlarge)

Jeff Smith's Parlor restoration

February 4, 2009 (Part 1)
February 19, 2009 (Part 2)  
March 31, 2010 (Part 3)  
August 7, 2010 (Part 4) 
February 11, 2011 (Part 5) 
April 5, 2011 (Part 6)
May 8, 2011 (Part 7)
May 17, 2011 (Part 8)
November 20, 2011 (Part 9)


March 27, 2012

There Was No Night in Creede, by Cy Martin: A review.

Soapy Smith's saloon

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing another magazine article sent in by our good friend, Bob "Buckshot" Bradley. This one comes from the October 1973 issue of Real West and is entitled, There Was No Night in Creede by Cy Martin. Enjoy the article and then beneath it I give a review, but more accurately I correct the mistakes made by the author.

There Was No Night in Creede Real West Oct 1973

At the end of the article Cy Martin has a bibliography of the books and newspapers used as the "reference sources." This is more than most do. The newspapers are good choices, however, the books he chose to rely on either had no footnotes and sources, or were merely copied from previous authors who did exactly what I am accusing this author of doing.

like so many magazine and book authors he felt the need to guess and/or add fiction to his article, perhaps to make it more interesting. There is nothing inherently wrong with hypothesizing the missing facts, but the reader must be made aware of the fact in each case. It is not irregular for an author of history to write, "I believe this is what took place..." and then jot down those ideas based on the known facts. The problem is that most authors don't do this. They include their beliefs in with the story as if they were fact. I don't know whether it is ego, in that they believe their hypothesis is correct and therefore needs no introduction, or that the authors pride, that his subject he chose, really has little in the way of embellished excitement on its own accord, and must include some extra added pizazz. The problem multiplies when another kindred author adds even more fiction to the story, until eventually, if not corrected, a whole new story evolves. So although my reviews may seem to some to be putting down past authors, or a braggart's forum, in reality my efforts are merely to correct the mistakes and get the story back to step one where historians can add new research to an authentic version of the history without any confusion or mistakes.

My review utilizes the existing magazine page numbers thus it starts on page 40 and moves forward in a chronological fashion. Please, if you have any questions or comments I would love to hear them as I thrive and learn from others just as much as from my own research.


Page 40

Text under photograph: "It's day all day in the daytime, and there is no night in Creede." The coined phrase from the poem, Creede has always been attributed to Cy Warman. However, in chapter 9 of my book, Alias Soapy Smith I show that the Denver Times credits Soapy Smith with coining the phrase two years before Warman published the poem in one of his books. Soapy was indeed handy with words and is known for several published poems in Denver newspapers. Soapy and Warman were good friends who continued to correspond with one another well into the late 1890s. Warman wrote the poem Creede and perhaps borrowed the phrase from his friend, "Soapy" Smith.

Paragraph 2: Mr. Martin misses a few interesting camp name changes, perhaps due to space. He left out Jimtown which remained long enough as the name to be published on maps, postcards, court records and newspapers. It was named Lower Creede before the whole area was finally named Creede.

Page 41

Paragraph top: The author lists Bat Masterson as a camp boss but there is no provenance what-so-ever that he worked as such. The author also lists Lou Blonger of Denver as a boss in Creede but I have yet to see any source that he even went to Creede. Martin mentions "the famed gunman John Light up from Texas to become chief of police." He misses that Light's name was William Sydney Light, not John and that he was hired on as a deputy marshal, not chief of police. Something else he missed is that Light had married Soapy's sister, Eva Katherine, making the two men brother-in-laws.

Paragraph 1: In every history on Creede I have read mention of Poker Alice Tubbs being in Creede, yet not one has a reliable source and I have yet to see contemporary mention of her, let alone "Calamity Jane," "Creede Lily," "Kilarney Kate" and "Mattie Creek."

Paragraph 2: The only prostitute the author mentions that I recognize ever seeing her name is "Slanting Annie," whose name appears in the newspaper upon her death when a subscription was being passed around to bury her remains. Very little is known of her yet the author felt the need to invent that she walked with a "stoop" hence her name. Being the only known prostitute ever mentioned in the Creede newspapers, the author propelled her to "most popular" status. Before his death Bob Ford signed over $5 to the Annie's burial subscription. Later her name was used to indicate where “Gambler” Joe Simmons was buried.

Paragraph 3: Cy writes that Bob Ford’s Exchange saloon was the largest saloon in Creede. This is the first time I have seen that it was said to be the largest in Creede. I have seen that it was said to be a saloon and dance hall. Although numerous books mention that Ford had a saloon prior to tent saloon he opened after the June 5, 1892 fire there is no provenance. No such saloon is mentioned in the newspapers and Ford, when mentioned, is not listed as a proprietor as other men are. It is my belief he did not have a saloon except for the one he was killed in on June 8, 1892. Judith Ries, in her book, Ed O'Kelley: The Man Who Murdered Jesse James' Murderer,  writes that Ford opened up his first saloon on May 29, 1892 but gives no source. I contacted her about this question and she is trying to find where the date comes from. May 29 is just 7 days previous to the fire that destroyed most of the business district. If Judith is correct then at the very most Ford was proprietor of a saloon in Creede, if not destroyed by the fire, is 10 days.

Page 42

Paragraph 1: Author Martin makes a common mistake in naming Ford's killer as Ed O. Kelly. This is a mistake that can be forgiven as this article came out in 1973 and there was an ongoing debate about the killer's real name until 1994 when O'Kelley descendant Judith Ries came out with the first biography of the man. His real name is Edward Capehart O'Kelley. Every time I talk about him I'm reminded of the time I responded in the letter to the editor's column of a magazine in which I, having Ries' book, corrected the spelling of O'Kelley's name in a recent article that had been published. Naturally, I credited Ries' book and believe it or not the author responded to my letter by publishing that the family did not know how to spell it's own name! That was nearly 20-years ago and I still get a chuckle thinking about the ego of that article writer.

Paragraph 2 and 3: Anyone who reads just about anything on Bob Ford is told stories of a coward's life of hardship, fear, cold stares, being booed off stage, and always expecting to be executed by remnants of the old James gang for the shooting death of Jesse James. What is common with all these Ford stories is that none of them list footnotes or provenance. Everyone just assumes it's true I guess. Seemingly, many of these Ford stories come from authors writing about Jesse James, who, in my opinion, wish to show what a horrible person and life Ford led because of his murdering James. Because Ford was a member of the James gang for a time I believe people tend to think that Jesse James historians have studied Ford's life, however, because Ford had a loose connection to Soapy I tend to save what I find on Ford and I have found that books and articles centering on Jesse James are the ones that make the most errors when writing about Ford.

Apparently there are no biographies on Bob Ford. I think people assume his life was not exciting, but I beg to differ. From the few newspaper articles I recall about him, two were about recent gun battles he had just been in, and was reported as a cool, calculating opponent as well as an excellent shot. Anyone looking for an interesting and overlooked old west gunfighter to write about would do good to consider Ford as a subject. I would do it myself if I wasn't so involved in Soapy Smith.  

Paragraph 5: Being there is no contemporary account of Ford’s attitude or dress in Creede, let alone his spouse or lover, this paragraph is pure fiction.

Paragraph 6: The author, apparently confused by facts he saw somewhere, has Ford visiting Pueblo, Colorado after he had been to Creede. In reality Ford was in Pueblo before he came to Creede. It was in Pueblo where Ford and O’Kelley, a Pueblo policeman, had a falling out over an accusation of theft.

Another falsehood found mostly in Jesse James books is that O’Kelley was a relative of the Younger’s, of the James-Younger gang. This is not true and was probably made up to give the "revenge" ploy more credence. According to the O’Kelley biography Ed had no ties or connection to the James-Younger gang. The reasons for shooting Ford had nothing to do with Ford's killing of Jesse James.

Page 43

Paragraph 2: "When Bob Ford turned, he raised the ugly weapon and let go with both barrels." The fact that the author used the word ugly tells me he read the 1892 newspaper account of Ford’s death published in Creede. This article interviewed and quoted the ONLY witnesses to the shooting. The woman who saw everything as it happened, used the "ugly weapon" phrase. It baffles me why this and other authors insist on adding additional fiction to the story knowing, but apparently not caring, that it would change history. He had a chance to tell his readers what really took place, yet chose to fictionalize it. Why?

Paragraph 3: Soapy may or may not have been in Creede when O’Kelley shot and killed Ford. Soapy had left Creede and returned to Denver in April 1892 but still owned properties as well as ownership of the Orleans Club which were destroyed in the fire of June 5. With the Denver newspaper reporting of the fire Soapy claimed to be returning to Creede to check out the situation. There is speculation, but no provenance, that Soapy talked O’Kelley into killing Ford. One important question left unanswered is why. It is known from friends that Soapy and Ford did not like one another but is that enough of a reason to have a man killed. It remains a mystery with missing information. There is no provenance that Soapy protected O’Kelley from a lynch mob. No doubt authors got this story from a like incident that occurred in Skagway, Alaska six years later when Soapy protected John Fey from vigilantes.

Paragraph 5: The fire that destroyed Creede's business district started in Kinneavy’s not Kirmeary’s. I can just image that this mistake was one of reading a poor Xerox copy of a Creede or Denver newspaper.

Page 62

Paragraph 4 and 5: The petrified man hoax was NEVER exposed. The author mentions the name of Bob Fitzimmons. This comes from an interview where a person claimed to be a witness but it is my belief that the person had read the book, The Reign of Soapy Smith by William Collier and Edwin Westrate, 1935 and pretended to have been there in Creede. The name of Bob Fitzimmons shows up in the larger biographies, but as a victim in Denver, not involved in any way with the petrified man. There are many assumptions made by early biographers and writers, one being that the Petrified man was made of cement. Actually it was a real human corpse and my book has great detail on the factual history. With the mention of J. J. Dore I can tell that the author viewed the Creede newspaper article about it. It baffles me why he did not use the information in the newspaper rather than the fictional babbling of authors who did not see the newspapers.

Paragraph 6 and 7: Another example of the author unwisely not following the newspapers involves the name of the corpse. Soapy named it McGinty and the authors mentions this, but then goes with the "Colonel Stone" name given to McGinty by fictional authors. Pretty much everything the author writes regarding McGinty is fiction.

Page 63

Top: I have seen the P. T. Barnum reference several times over the decades. Obviously some 2nd rate historian writer knew that P. T. Barnum had a petrified man (The Solid Mudoon) and when they saw that Soapy had one they just assumed it was the same one. Actually, history has numerous petrified men and women being reported in newspapers all across the west.

Paragraph 1: Yes, Creede's first church was held in a tent, but it was loaned for Sunday morning services by one of the saloons. This is reported in the Creede newspapers.


Bob Ford
July 26, 2011
September 16, 2010
February 7, 2010
September 20, 2009 
October 14, 2008

March 4, 2011
September 28, 2010
September 16, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 3, 2010 
March 18, 2009

Ed O'Kelley
December 29, 2009

Creede: pages 200, 207, 218-19, 226, 229, 231, 234, 394, 424.
Bob Ford: pages 216, 218-21, 246, 273.
Ed O'Kelley: page 246.


Soapy Smith bronze statue.

Fantasy conception of Soapy Smith bronze

On a number of old west blogs and forums there are stories regarding several brand new statues being erected throughout the United States which include Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, and Pat Garrett.

It got me thinking. Skagway, Alaska has several memorial statues and plaques, including the location where the Shootout on Juneau Wharf took place. Skagway needs a statue of it's most famous citizen, "Soapy" Smith. The restoration of Soapy's saloon is scheduled to be completed in 2013, which is time for a plan to come together so that they can coincide with one another.

What do you think? Can this be accomplished? What I need to do right now is talk with some of these people who have completed such a project, to see what it entails. I need ideas, suggestions, anyone?

1891: Soapy’s mock auction house opens in Denver (surely one of numerous).


March 24, 2012

The story of Vena Blanchard: Employed by Soapy Smith?

How Soapy wants you to see him
fantasy art by Jeff Smith

June 15, 2012

riend, Leah from Old West Rogues tells me of a book she read in which Soapy employed prostitutes. She was reminded of the story when reading about my post on Soapy in Astoria, Oregon in 1882. Following is what she had to say.

... And speaking of my neck of the woods. There was a madam in Yakima City called Vena Blanchard. Vena was said to be a beautiful woman who wore very elegant, very demure, high necked evening gowns. She always wore a necklace, a single emerald on a gold chain that had been presented to her by a former "employer" in Creede Colorado. A gentleman named Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. Have you heard this before? I don't recall it in your book and I was looking into some "working " women and came across this tidbit.

The story is from a book titled "Those Naughty Ladies of the Old Northwest" It was written by Gary and Gloria Meier. There are no footnotes. A few of the ladies covered are known to me (Vena is not one of them) and the information on them is basically correct. Information that I have from other sources.

The book is Those Naughty Ladies of the Old Northwest, Gary and Gloria Meier, Bend, Or., Maverick Publications, 1990. I do not have it and could not locate the text online. I responded on the Old West Rogues board that there is no evidence that Soapy operated or controlled any prostitution rings. He was consistently in court posting bail for members of the Soap Gang, friends, and other associates, but no known prostitutes. I did not elaborate on the subject as I was thinking in terms of full on proprietorship, however, it slipped my mind that on numerous times in his lifetime he utilized the ladies of the night for his ends and Creede, Colorado just happens to have been a well reported case. Basically, at the start of Creede's silver boom in 1892 Soapy hired and sent in some Denver soiled doves to "gently" purchase leases at reasonable prices from lot owners so that Soapy and his friends could build and operate saloons and gaming houses. Unfortunately, the book authors above did not include footnotes or sources so this very well may be sheer coincidence and luck on their part.

I tried Googling Vena Blanchard and found one that worked as a sex surrogate and another who worked as an actress in porn films, but both are from this century and still alive and the Blanchard we are looking for was an adult in the 1890s. I sincerely doubt she would be still alive, let alone working as a surrogate or a porn star.  Not finding her on Google should not be considered "proof" one way or the other.

The actual leases Soapy obtained in Creede may be viewed in the links listed below.

Creede leases:
September 16, 2010
December 30, 2010
January 6, 2011 
January 29, 2011

Creede Leases: pages 201-202.
Using "ladies" from Denver: page 205.

1884: Soapy’s brother-in-law, William S. Light, rides with a posse that tracks and kills local outlaw, William Northcott in Texas.


March 23, 2012

"It pays to be polite" or "a fool and his money..."

Soapy Smith prominently named
Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, Seattle
(photo from The Q Family)

It pays to be polite, or, "a fool and his money are soon parted," which all depends on which shoes you are wearing when the story is told. During the Klondike gold rush more than a few of the newly rich, gold laden stampeders landed in Seattle, Washington on their way home. For many this was the first time they had stepped foot outside of the gold fields for over a year. On their way into the Klondike no one paid any attention to them, but now that they were rich it seemed the whole town was down at the dock just to see them. Sudden fame and riches does strange things to people and Seattle became the epicenter of these rich "strangers." There are numerous stories of stampeders throwing gold nuggets and money out hotel windows to the masses below. Following is a great contemporary example posted on a forum by Kenny Vail.    

It Pays To Be Polite.

Jimmy Brennan, 11 years old, and son of Police Officer Brennan, of Seattle, was standing on Yester Way, when a stranger came along. He looked like a man who had just returned from a logging camp.

“Boys,” he said, “where’s the Butler Hotel?”

”I’ll tell you for a quarter,” said one of Jimmy’s companions.

“Say, I’ll do it for five cents,” remarked a third.

“Mister,” said Jimmy, “I’ll point out the Butler to you for nothing.”

“You’re my man,” said the rough-looking stranger, and the two went down Yester Way together, while Jimmy’s companions stayed behind to call him a chump. Jimmy led the stranger to the Butler.

“Come in here,” said the man, and he led the boy into a clothing store. “Give this boy the best suit of clothes in the house,” said the stranger. Jimmy simply opened his mouth. Soon he had on a fine suit.

“Now give him an overcoat,” said the stranger, and Jimmy’s eyes tried to pop out of their sockets. The clerk adorned Jimmy with an overcoat.

“Now a hat,” said the stranger. Jimmy wanted to cry. He thought it was Christmas time, and that he was by the side of a grate fire, reading Anderson’s fairy tales.

Soon he was arrayed in new hat, new suit, new overcoat. The stranger paid for all. Jimmy started out of the store. He was so bewildered that if several goblins had put in their appearance he would have joined them in their fairy-land festivities.

“Just a minute,” said the stranger. Jimmy waited. If the stranger had said: “Go roll in the dust of the street,” Jimmy would have done it.

The stranger went down in his pockets and closed his dealings with Jimmy by giving him a five dollar gold piece and a gold nugget worth about five dollars.

Then Jimmy thanked the stranger and went off to tell his companions about the man whom he showed the Hotel Butler “for nothing.”

The stranger was a Klondiker, supposed to be Patrick Galvin, who returned from Rosalie, with a fortune estimated at about $20,000. It pays to be polite. If you don’t think so, ask Jimmy Brennan.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 30, 1898


March 22, 2012

Tombstone Epitaph reviews Alias Soapy Smith.

The October 2011 Tombstone Epitaph had the following review of my book by historian and author, Gary Ledoux. Below is the complete text.

Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel – The Biography of Jefferson Randolph Smith II
by Jeff Smith
Published by Klondike Research, Juneau AK
Copyright 2009 628pp. $26.00 paperback only

Reviewed by Gary Ledoux

I first “met” Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith while doing research about the gold-rush era town of Skagway, Alaska. In the summer of 1898, Soapy Smith held sway in Skagway’s underworld. He was portrayed as a con-man, swindling miners, robbing the unwary, and allegedly going so far as to pick the pockets of the victims of an April avalanche. He was portrayed as one-dimensional – and it was all bad. One of Soapy’s contemporaries, former Tombstone Epitaph editor John Clum, also in Skagway during that period specifically noted in his diary that Soapy was… “a leader in the shell-game racket.”

What I didn’t know, and great-grandson Jeff Smith covers in exquisite detail in his book, Alias Soapy Smith – The Life and death of a Scoundrel, is that Soapy was a most charismatic underworld leader in Denver and Creede Colorado way before Skagway. But most intriguingly, Soapy had a very soft side, helping the poor, the indigent and having an especially soft spot for children. In his twenty or so years as a con man and hustler, Soapy Smith made an outrageous amount of money, even by today’s standards, and either gambled it away or gave it away to those less fortunate. Sometimes, after he had swindled a man out of his last nickel, he would feel sorry for his “victim” and give him enough money to buy a boat or train ticket out of town.

Jeff Smith has done an outstanding job showing the many sides, the many adventures, and ultimately the controversial death of his ancestor with an incredible amount of primary sources including unpublished family records and transcripts from recordings made in the 1970’s of people who saw and knew Soapy in Skagway. Letters, documents and even newspaper clippings kept by Soapy himself bring this fascinating story to life with vivid accounts of the sometimes seamy, and sometime illustrious life he led during some turbulent times.

One thing that I didn’t know until reading this book, and I am sure few people know, is that more than anything, Soapy wanted to be viewed as a legitimate businessman – to be seen as a benefactor to the community. He wanted the legitimacy, but he also wanted to act politically on his own behalf to make sure the laws regarding his real profession remained lax and their enforcement even more so.

Whether he was trying to raise an army of American mercenaries in Denver to fight rebels in Mexico, or trying to raise a company of Alaskan soldiers to fight the Spanish in Cuba, or just running a quick game of three-card monte on a Denver street corner, Soapy Smith was certainly one of the most interesting and captivating personages of the-then disappearing frontier of the 1890’s.

“My God – don’t shoot” were reportedly Soapy Smith’s last words. Alias Soapy Smith is certainly the last word on the life of one of history’s most colorful characters and the times in which he lived. Jeff Smith is now counted among the ranks of those writers and historians who take the time to seek the truth, and then display it in a most compelling fashion.

Alias Soapy Smith belongs on the book-shelf of anyone interested in the old west, the Klondike/Alaskan gold rush, early Alaskan history, Denver political history, or the study of “consmanship” and gambling at the turn of the 20th century.

Mr. Ledoux, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed my book, and that you shared that enjoyment with the world. If you just read the review and think you might like your own copy of Alias Soapy Smith, or perhaps would like to read what others have said then follow the links.


March 21, 2012

Jeff Smith's Parlor (Soapy Smith's saloon) restoration: Part 10

Park Service crew work on roof restoration
Jeff Smith's Parlor Skagway, Alaska
Photograph by Bob Lyon

Restoration of Soapy Smith's saloon (Jeff. Smith's Parlor) in Skagway, Alaska by the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park has resumed the process with the coming of spring. National Park Service Historian Bob Lyon is so kind to keep us informed of the progress. Last week the crew worked on the roof (see photographs) and Bob explained some of what they did. 

Some pics attached. The new roof went on a week ago. The blueskin is water proofing and the blue mat allows air to circulate under the shingles. Not exactly 19th C., but it'll preserve what we've got left.

More later, rushing here.
Bob Lyon
National Park Service

Blue skin applied to roof
Water-proofing and air circulation
Photograph by Bob Lyon

Thank you Bob for taking time out of your very busy schedule to keep us informed. This is exciting stuff!

We are still looking at a probable two years before the Parlor is opened to the public. There is rumor that it could be completed within a year's time but I would not hold your breath. If you can hold out it will surely be worth the wait.

The original shingles
Photograph by Bob Lyon

Replacement shingles
Just in time, it's snowing!
Photograph by Bob Lyon

Jeff Smith's Parlor restoration

February 4, 2009 (Part 1)
February 19, 2009 (Part 2)  
March 31, 2010 (Part 3)  
August 7, 2010 (Part 4) 
February 11, 2011 (Part 5) 
April 5, 2011 (Part 6)
May 8, 2011 (Part 7)
May 17, 2011 (Part 8)
November 20, 2011 (Part 9)



March 20, 2012

1853 - 1859 Calling cards for Emily Dawson Edmundson

(Click image to enlarge)

These kind of days make all the work of being president of the Soapy Smith Preservation Trust worthwhile.

I received an email from family member, Kyle Rosene, and the first thing he writes is, "Are you sitting down?" I knew I was in for a treat. Kyle's great grandmother was Eva Katherine Smith, Soapy Smith's sister, which makes Kyle a great-grandnephew of Soapy. Kyle is the family member who let me use a number of fantastic photographs of Soapy for the book Alias Soapy Smith. Some of those photographs show Soapy's parents, Jefferson Randolph Smith Sr., and Emily Dawson Edmundson, the latter being today's topic.

Here's what Kyle had to say.

Are you sitting down? I have another discovering in my mother's things. I was looking in a briefcase which contained a old coin collection. Much to my surprise was a old card holder with two old cards inside. One for Mrs. J.R. Smith and the other for Miss Emilie D. Edmundson. I will send you several emails with pictures of the find.

Kyle Rosene 

It took a few seconds to realize what I was looking at, two of Emily's calling cards, one before marriage and one after. Not only did Kyle find the cards, but the original box as well!

(Click image to enlarge)

Visiting cards, or calling cards, were an essential accessory to any 19th Century middle class lady or gentleman. They served as tangible evidence of meeting social obligations, as well as a streamlined letter of introduction. They also served as an aid to memories that were no stronger than they are today. The stack of cards in the card tray in the hall was a handy catalog of exactly who had called and whose calls might need to be returned. They did smack of pretentiousness however, and were not generally used among country folk or working class Americans. (source: Introduction to 19th Century Etiquette [pdf]. Center for History).

The photograph at the top of this post is Emily's premarital calling card. I am guessing that she obtained her first calling cards in 1853 at age 16, and immediately updated them upon her marriage to Jefferson in 1859.

Are you one of the hardcore family historians who noted the discrepancy of her name? Don't feel bad if you didn't catch it, I didn't either until Kyle brought it to my attention. The card reads "Emilie" but the family history (that I have at least) reads "Emily." Upon making a quick search I realized I don't have any hard evidence as to the correct spelling of her name. I have no copies of letters from family, no records except for the 1870 Federal census which lists her as "Emily" but most genealogists will warn us not to depend wholly on census records for numerous reasons. So, was this a printers error or have the family genealogists been wrong in spelling her name?

Does anyone in the family know? Are there letters, a death certificate, etc.? It'd sure be nice to know. 

(Click image to enlarge)

(Click image to enlarge)

Emily Dawson Edmundson
May 29, 2010
April 8, 2010
April 7, 2010

Emily Dawson Edmundson: pages 22, 27.

March 20
1893: As a side occupation, Soapy presides over the gambling room at the Ingersoll Club. It is not known how much, if any, control he had over the business.