August 9, 2013

A treasure trove of new photographs!

Carte de visite of
Wife of Soapy Smith
Shelagh Moriarty collection

n 1998 I met my 2nd cousin, Shelagh Moriarty, for the first time, in Skagway, Alaska during the 100th anniversary of Soapy Smith's demise. I met her again in 2012 at the ninth annual Soapy wake at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California. She brought with her a few early family photographs that very much interested me. We promised to get together as she said she had more to share with me, but it was not until August 8, 2013 that we finally kept our commitment.

To say that it was a great visit would be an understatement. I did not know exactly what to expect, but I hoped there would be a few more early photographs of the family that she would share with us. What I found was in the neighborhood of 150 early photographs of the Smith, Little, Moriarty, and possibly the Dalton families dating from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.

It will take a while, but eventually, I would like to have these photographs posted for the family and friends to enjoy.

Carte de visite (rear)
Wife of Soapy Smith
Shelagh Moriarty collection

The rear of the carte de visite shows that it was photographed in St. Louis where Mary's mother lived. Someone wrote Mammy?? in pencil. Mammy was the name the grandchildren called Mary. Someone questioned if it is Mammy, but Shelagh had other numerous photographs of Mary, and between us there is no doubt that it is her. I am guessing that this photo was taken after Soapy and Mary were married, possibly taken about 1889 when Soapy sent Mary to live with her parents, due to the "war" declared on Soapy by the Rocky Mountain News.

Besides the amazing photographs, there were a couple more interesting discoveries during my visit.
  • FIRST, is the new information that Soapy's daughter grew up used to the finer things, nice clothing, money, etc. This tells us that Soapy obviously pampered his family with lots of money and gifts, which are hinted at in the surviving personal letters in my own collection. 
  • SECOND, is the discovery of possible photographs and identifications of several Dalton family members. It has been passed down through the generations in my family that Soapy's wife, Mary, is a relation to the Dalton outlaw gang. It will be interesting to compare notes with the current Dalton family historians.

Thank you Shelagh!

"I became acutely aware of the need to take old-timers' recollections of long past events with much salt when I attended conventions of my old WWII infantry company forty or fifty years after the war. When discussions arose about certain actions in which several of us were directly involved, none of us could agree on exactly how it went down. And these were important events, life and death matters, that one would expect to become embedded - accurately - in our memories the rest of our lives. I've taken this knowledge into my writing of western history. While often quoting the written or reported recollections of frontier veterans, I do not say or imply that what is said is gospel truth, but leave it up to the reader to accept or reject. "
— Robert DeArment


1678: Indians sell the Bronx to Jonas Bronck for 400 beads.
1790: The Columbia returns to Boston Harbor after a three-year voyage. It was the first ship to carry the American flag around the world.
1820: Robert C. Adams and James Bowe Boisseau duel with pistols over the honor for Ellen Stimpson Peniston, Soapy Smith’s grandmother. Both duelists are killed.
1831: The first steam locomotive begins its first trip between Schenectady and Albany, New York.
1842: The U.S. and Canada sign the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, solving the border dispute.
1848: Martin Van Buren is nominated for president by the Free-Soil Party in Buffalo, New York.
1854: Walden is published by Henry David Thoreau.
1859: The escalator is patented by Nathan Ames.
1865: The Civil War officially ends.
1878: One soldier is wounded in a battle with Bannock Indians in Bennett Creek, Idaho.
1887: Harry “the Sundance Kid” Longabaugh is convicted of grand larceny in Wyoming.
1892: Thomas Edison receives a patent for the two-way telegraph.
1893: Gut Holz, the first bowling magazine in the U.S. is published.
1910: A. Fisher receives a patent for the electric washing machine.

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