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.


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