September 22, 2017

Artifact #50: Offer to buy Soapy Smith's property in 1896.

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rtifact #50
An offer to buy the Smith home in Denver.


     It's been five years (September 4, 2012) since I posted the last letter artifact (#49) from my private collection. "Life" got in the way of posting the remaining 1/3 of these rare, previously unpublished heirloom and historical relics, but now I am free to begin again, starting with number 50 of approximately 160 ephemera total documents.
     Following is the contents of the letter.

Seattle, Wash., June 23rd, 1896
Mr. Jeff R. Smith,
       Spokane Falls, Wash.
Dear Sir:
     Being here on my way to Alaska on an excursion, I heard you were in Spokane, and would like to know the lowest cash price you will take for your residence, No. 1421 So. 15th St., Denver, Colo. I can get $6500. cash, and think you had better sell at that figure. If not, state your lowest cash price.
     Answer care George Fisher, 17th and Wazee Sts., Denver, Colo.
          (signed) A. R. Hamner
     I had no luck finding anything on "A. R. Hammner (or Hammer)." There was nothing in my files, in Google, or in Denver newspapers. 
     According to the 1897 directory (p. 1000) Soapy still listed his residence as 1421 S. 15th Street in Denver, Colorado, though he had not physically lived there since late 1895. It is certain he believed he would be able to return to Denver one day. I do not have a record of when he and/or Mary sold the property.
     George Fisher owned the saloon complex at 1535 to 1539 17th Street at the corner of Wazee Street in Denver, being at that location since 1879. Fisher was a friend of Soapy's, several letters from him exist in the Jeff Smith collection. Soapy opened a cigar store (front for big mitt [rigged poker games] swindles in a back room) at 1531 17th Street, just one or two doors from Fisher's saloon. It is likely that Fisher's saloon was used in lubricating intended victims of the Soap Gang.

Following are the last three links to the artifacts postings. If you wish to see the remaining 46 letters and documents then you will need to scroll back previous to April 2, 2012.
September 4, 2012: Artifact #49
May 4. 2012: Artifact #48
April 2, 2012: Artifact #47
June 11, 2010: Artifact #12 (George Fisher letter)

George B. Fisher: pages 122, 285, 421.

"he was one of the most kind-hearted men that ever lived. I will venture that there is scarcely a big city in the country where you couldn’t find some man that could tell you of a good act that Jeff Smith had done him."
—R. M. Eddy
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 590.


1789: U.S. Congress authorizes the office of Postmaster General.
1862: U.S. President Lincoln issues the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It states that all slaves held within rebel states would be free as of January 1, 1863.
1886: Famed lawman Bat Masterson has an altercation with a man named Bagsby inside The Exchange saloon in Denver, Colorado. Masterson strikes Bagsby, who draws a pistol and shoots Masterson in the leg. Neither men wish to make a complaint and no one is arrested. Masterson is a friend of bad man “Soapy” Smith’s.
1891: Sak, Fox, and Potawatomi lands are open for settlement in Oklahoma Territory.
1898: Gold discovered in Nome, on Anvil Creek near Cape Nome. The claim was filed by the "Three Lucky Swedes": Jafet Lindeberg, Erik Lindblom and John Brynteson. News of the discovery reached the outside world later that winter. The discovering occurs seventy-six days after the shooting of Alaska bad man Soapy Smith. Had he survived, it is likely Soapy would have made Nome another empire, perhaps meeting up with Wyatt Earp once again (they met in Tombstone).

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