March 24, 2013

McGinty was his name (Soapy Smith's petrified man)

Ashley Smith with "Sylvester"
Alias "McGinty"
Ashley is a great-great-granddaughter of Soapy Smith

Photo by Jeff Smith
(Click image to enlarge)

  just finished the book A Silver Camp Called Creede: A Century of Mining by Richard Huston (2005). It is specially a history of the mines and mining in the Creede area, which is turning out to be valuable. In reading the contents I have only made two notes of information I wanted to investigate or note, but I plan to also cross-reference the index with my files as Soapy has a few documents that mention certain mines by name, as well as a few he had monetary interest in. Naturally, if I find anything I will report it here. The two notes I made involved the date, February 6, 1892, that electricity was turned on in Creede. Electricity in the new camp last four months almost to the day when the June 5 fire destroyed the town, as well as the electric plant. It was 6 months before Creede had electricity again. The other note I made involved a mine, the McGinty lode. The first thing I thought of was McGinty the petrified man that Soapy purchased in Creede.

On page 58 the book published a quote from the Creede Candle newspaper as follows.

The McGinty lode, thought to be an extension of the Ethel, was taken up today by L. S. Cornell. The price was reported is $8,000. Denver parties purchased a half interest in the Stringer lode this week.
The Ethel was one of the first producing mines in Creede but found little information about it as well as the McGinty lode. I am left to wonder if Soapy named McGinty the petrified man after the McGinty mine. Why would he? Perhaps civic spirit, or could it be the location where the petrified man was "found?" Did Soapy possibly have an interest in the mine?

The book gave me a possible clue as to the naming of McGinty the petrified man. In studying the maps supplied in the book I was able to locate the McGinty, as well as the Delaware mines (see maps below) in which Soapy had an economic interest in (Alias Soapy Smith, p. 207). Just those few precious finds make the book a very valuable one to me.

Map showing early Creede mines and veins
Delaware Shaft circled in yellow
Based on Plate 26, U.S.G.S. Bulletin 811-B, 1929
(A Silver Camp Called Creede: A Century of Mining, p. 206)
(Click image to enlarge)

Official Surveys of Creede Camp 1903
Delaware and McGinty mines in yellow
(A Silver Camp Called Creede: A Century of Mining, p. 506-07)
(Click on image to enlarge)

Delaware mine: page 207.

"'Soapy' was as much talked about in his time as any person living in Colorado, and not because he was a public man, nor even because he was a gambler, but because of his peculiarities—because his mode of life and method of operation were different from those of others of his kind. He was an 'original' and therefore a 'character.' He was not an ordinary gambler—he was out of the ordinary."
— George T. Buffum, Smith of Bear City and Other Frontier Sketches, 1906.


1629: The first game law is passed in Virginia.
1664: A charter to colonize Rhode Island is granted to Roger Williams of London.
1765: Britain passes the Quartering Act that requires the American colonies to house British troops in public and private buildings.
1828: The Philadelphia and Columbia Railway is the first state owned railway.
1832: A mob in Hiram, Ohio tar and feathers Mormon leader Joseph Smith, Jr.
1834: John W. Powell is born. He achieves recognition while conducting an expedition in the plateau country of southern Utah and Arizona north and west of the Colorado River in 1869. A second trip down the Colorado was conducted by him in 1871 and in 1873.
1855: Manhattan, Kansas is founded as New Boston, Kansas.
1868: Metropolitan Life Insurance Company is formed.
1872: Four accused outlaws are lynched in Tucson, Arizona Territory.
1880: The first "hail insurance company" is incorporated in Connecticut, known as the Tobacco Growers’ Mutual Insurance Company.
1883: The first telephone call between New York and Chicago is made.
1884: Soapy’s brother-in-law, William S. Light, rides with a legal posse that tracks and kills local Texas outlaw, William Northcott.
1898: The first automobile is sold.
1900: Mayor Van Wyck of New York breaks ground for the New York subway tunnel that will link Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1900: The Carnegie Steel Corporation is formed in New Jersey,

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