May 30, 2015

Did Soapy Smith save his wife from a life of misery?

(Click image to enlarge)

id Soapy Smith save his wife
from a life of misery?

      Soapy met his future wife, Mary Eva Noonan, in November 1885 when she sang on the stage of "Big Ed" Chase's Palace Theater in Denver, Colorado. During their life together, and after Soapy's death in 1898, she is not known to have ever said a single disparaging remark of her husband, his family life, or his career choices of being a confidence man and crime boss. Except for her intense loyalty, I never really gave it much thought until very recently.
      One of my favorite books on the Denver criminal underworld is Hell's Belles: Prostitution, Vice, and Crime in Early Denver by Clark Secrest (2002). The book is an in depth study of prostitution and crime in Denver, with quite a bit on the Palace Theater and like places. According to the author, complete with examples, it was common for the young ladies working in such establishments to move into the world of prostitution and even crime. The newspaper in my own collection on the Palace Theater also show that injury, suicide, and death were also common possibilities and fears of those who worked Denver's variety houses and theaters. I am left to wonder if Mary had never met Soapy, would she possibly have met the same fate as so many of her peers?


Mary Eva Noonan

(posts sorted by relevance)

Mary Eva Noonan: pages 7, 19, 52, 104-08, 124-25, 139, 146-47, 167, 169-72, 197, 202, 281-82, 379, 407, 410-11, 417-18, 425, 428, 436, 442-44, 448, 451, 486, 495, 498-99, 503, 543-46, 554-55, 584-87, 592, 594.

"He was sprawled out with his Stetson lying there, but nobody dared put his feet together or place his hands over his heart. They didn’t dare show sympathy for fear somebody would pull out a gun."
—Bobby Sheldon
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 537.

MAY 30

1539: Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto lands in Florida with 600 soldiers to search for gold.
1783: The Pennsylvania Evening Post becomes the first daily newspaper published in the U.S.
1848: W. G. Young patents the ice cream freezer.
1854: The U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas are established.
1865: The first recorded celebration of Decoration Day (later called Memorial Day) takes place.
1868: Decoration Day officially becomes Memorial Day (see “1865”).
1879: William Vanderbilt renames New York City's Gilmore’s Garden, Madison Square Garden.
1883: Twelve people in New York City are killed attempting to get off the Brooklyn Bridge when rumored it was collapsing.
1883: Soapy Smith purchases a street vendors license to sell his prize package soap in Washington City, Iowa.
1885: Appache Indians attack a ranch near Hillsboro, New Mexico Territory.
1889: The brassiere is invented.
1896: The first automobile accident occurs in New York City.
1903: the first motorcycle hill climb competition is held in Riverdale, New York.
1911: Ray Harroun wins the first Indianapolis Sweepstakes. The 500-mile auto race is later named the Indianapolis 500. Harroun's average speed was 74.6 miles per hour.