November 28, 2017

Artifact #58: Son of Soapy Smith seeks military career information on his father from War Department

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efferson R. Smith, was commissioned an officer of the U.S. Volunteers of the War with Spain.
Artifact #58

Transposition of artifact #58.
June 26, 1936
(A.G. 201
Smith, Jefferson R.
(5/28/36) ORD

Major General E. T. Conley,
The Adjutant General,
Washington, D. C.

Dear Major General:
     Your letter to Honorable James R. Claiborne, House of Representatives, requests additional information regarding our belief that my father, Jefferson R. Smith, was commissioned an officer of the U.S. Volunteers of the War with Spain.
     I am enclosing copies of a number of papers. At the same time we are making additional search for more of them bearing on this matter. We have several clippings from California newspapers which speak of my father being named a captain of U.S. Volunteers. However, we feel this would throw no light as to official records.
     We thank you very much for the kindly interest you have shown in this matter.

Very truly years,
Jefferson Smith.

123 Adele avenue,
Ferguson, Missouri.

John Randolph Smith
the author's father
grew up at 123 Adele Ave.
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     This is an interesting and tough one to properly decipher. Jefferson Randolph Smith III, the 49 year old son of bad man "Soapy" Smith attempted to get official military recognition for his father, "elected" Captain of the Skaguay Military Company.
     It would appear that the son (this authors grandfather) wrote to his Missouri representative, James Robert Claiborne, in 1936. Mr. Claiborne wrote to the Adjutant General of the Army, Major General Edgar T. Conley and Conley wrote back to Rep. Claiborne on May 28, 1936 requesting more information. On June 26, 1936 Jefferson wrote his response (above) to Major General Conley.

Deciphering the document:

At the top of the letter is the following
(A.G. 201
Smith, Jefferson R.
(5/28/36) ORD

"A.G." is likely the initials for "Adjutant General." The number "201" may be a letter/document number for filing purposes. The name of who the letter is addressed to, the date of the letter and "ORD." I looked online trying to find the abbreviation for 1936 military purposes but had no luck. I did find military abbreviations but cannot be certain they are the same. Following are what I located  

  1. Operation Ready Date.
  2. Order
  3. Operational Requirement(s) Document
  4. Office of Research and Development.

Note: the two long oval stains are from a paperclip.
     Jefferson was hoping that in locating the original copies of the minutes and volunteer roster Soapy had sent to President McKinley, along with the positive response from the War Department, that the government might honor Soapy with acknowledgement of (attempting to) serve his country in time of war. The documents were eventually found but as the Skaguay Military Company was never officially accepted by the military, it could not be given official honors.

     Jefferson spent much of his life trying to clean up the negative stories about his father and this series of letters to the Adjutant General was most likely part of this attempt. The first known attempt was in 1919 with the release of the American black and white silent film, The Girl Alaska. It is believed to be the first motion picture that portrayed a mention of Soapy on film. The film was shown at a local theater in Ferguson, Missouri and it caused the son, a newspaper man and political power in St. Louis, Missouri, personal anguish and supposed loss of respect. Jefferson hired the legal firm of McCarthy, Morris and Sachritz to take up a legal battle of written letters meant to eliminate objectionable parts from the film, or he would sue for malicious libel. The film company, George Kleine Motion Pictures offered to cut offensive scenes out but later reneged on the offer. The one copy of the film that exists at the Library of Congress does not appear to be that offensive and may be one of the copies with the objectionable scenes cut out.

CONLEY, Major General Edgar Thomas Conley (Adjutant General)

Edgar Thomas Conley made assistant to the Adjutant General on June 1, 1933, and was appointed The Adjutant General on November 1, 1935 and remained in that position until 1938. He probably took a personal interest in the Smith letters and research of the Skaguay Military Company as he himself was a Lieutenant when he joined Company G, 21st Infantry, and went to Cuba during the Spanish American War. On July 1, 1898, Conley was cited for gallantry in battle at Santiago, Cuba, in which he was awarded the Silver Star.


CLAIBORNE, James Robert (House Representative, Missouri)

James Robert Claiborne, a Representative from Missouri, was a lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1933 he was elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1933-January 3, 1937).


General search of blog for "Skaguay Military Company
(Note: there are numerous posts. They are not in any particular order of importance.) 

Skaguay Military Company: pages 79, 471, 486-90, 494-95, 498-502, 505, 510, 514-15, 595.

"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
— William Shakespeare.


1869: Texas Outlaw Samuel “Bob Hays” Hassells is shot and killed. He is identified as one of the men who robbed the post office in Separ, New Mexico Territory in October 1869. A posse of lawmen cornered the gang at the Diamond A ranch, and Hassells was killed during the ensuing gun battle.
1872: Modoc Indians, refusing to move off their homelands, to Oregon's Klamath Reservation, fight back against Captain Jack Jackson and 38 members of the 1st Cavalry.
1878: After 14-years of use, Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, is abandoned. It was never attacked by Indians.
1888: Jacob “Sleepy Jake” Kasenhelm and two other Denver con men are arrested in San Francisco, California for trying to swindle a man of $3,200 in the purchase of a machine that makes gold coins out of burmese metal. Soapy Smith robbed this confidence man by way of a fake highway robbery as the two men walked discussing business.

November 27, 2017

Artifact 57: Receipt for Skaguay Military Company.

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ype writing receipt
Skaguay Military Company.

     Not a whole lot to research and explain here. "Soapy" Smith paid Dr. Lewis Garrison $10.50 to type up "8 copies of the minutes, enrollment, letters," for the meeting(s) held for the formation of Soapy's private army, the Skaguay Military Company. The original minutes, enrollment, letters that Soapy had typed up can be seen HERE. Thus far, all I could find on Dr. Garrison is a mention in a story on Skagway, Alaska resident, Peter Winfield Sparks that appeared in the February 28, 2014 edition of the Skagway News.

Winfield Sparks bought property in Skagway as early as 1898, “this indenture made between Christ Ludwig and H.W. Reinhart….according to the plat thereof made by Frank H. Reid, civil engineer, recorded this 19th day of April, signed by Christ Ludwig, witnessed by Paul L. Lovell and Lewis Garrison.

I own one of the original copies, the one sent to Alaska District Governor John G. Brady. Another family member owns another copy. A copy resides with the National Archives. The other five copies are missing. If it still exists, one should reside in the Alaska Governors collection as one copy was sent to Alaska Governor Brady.

General search of blog for "Skaguay Military Company
(Note: there are numerous posts. They are not in any particular order of importance.) 

Skaguay Military Company: pages 79, 471, 486-90, 494-95, 498-502, 505, 510, 514-15, 595.

"Even villains are human. You do a good job bringing Soapy's human qualities to life. We all sin and come short of true goodness."
— Carol Buchanan, author


1779: The College of Pennsylvania is renamed the University of Pennsylvania, the first legally recognized university in America.
1839: The American Statistical Association is founded in Boston, Massachusetts.
1862: George Armstrong Custer meets his future bride, Elizabeth Bacon at a Thanksgiving party.
1868: Cheyenne Indian Chief Black Kettle and his wife are killed by troopers led by George Armstrong Custer, despite flying the American flag, during the Washita Massacre.
1885: Fire, starting above the Junction Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas, destroys a block of the business district, including The Junction, the Opera House, the Long Branch and Bob Wright’s store, are gutted. It is rumored that the prohibitionists intentionally set the fire, and while the embers still smoldered, Wright shot three bullets into Mike Sutton’s home, a leader among the anti-saloon crowd. He later claimed that he was firing at a prowler trying to get into Sutton’s house.
1887: U.S. Deputy Marshall Frank Dalton, the oldest of the famous outlaw brothers, is killed in the line of duty near Fort Smith, Arkansas. Dalton and Deputy J. R. Cole went to the Cherokee Nation to arrest Dave Smith on horse stealing. Dalton stepped up to the tent that contained Smith and his cohorts, and was immediately shot by Smith. Deputy Cole returned fire, killing Smith, but was then shot and wounded by one of the other men inside the tent. Cole escaped, believing Dalton was dead. Dalton, however, was still alive, and engaged the outlaws in a short gun battle. One of Smith's cohorts was wounded, and a woman who was in the camp was killed during the crossfire. Frank Dalton was killed by two additional rifle shots by from Will Towerly. One wounded man was captured but Towerly escapes unhurt. Towerly flees to his family's home near Atoka in Indian Territory where he is later killed by lawman Bill Moody.
1889: Curtis P. Brady is issued the first permit to drive an automobile through Central Park in New York City.
1894: A gambler’s petition signed by Denver businessmen starts losing signers when it is learned that famed confidence man Soapy Smith is behind the petition. His response to the Rocky Mountain News is, “I beg to state that I am no gambler. A gambler takes chances with his money, I don’t. I had nothing to do with the businessmen’s petition, and under no circumstances would I sign such a document. Hoping that the clergy will kindly leave me out of that “class…”

November 26, 2017

George Brackett's Cutter and Frank Clancy's hack.

Text transposed below

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rackett’s Cutter and Clancy's Hack
Seattle Daily Times
April 2, 1898


1898 Gaff Cutter

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A cutter is one of several types of sailboats, typically a small, but in some cases a medium-sized, watercraft designed for speed rather than for capacity. Traditionally a cutter sailing vessel is a small single-masted boat, fore-and-aft rigged, with two or more headsails and often a bowsprit.

Various 19th century hacks

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The Hack or Passenger Wagon was the coach builder's smaller, less-embellished version of the late nineteenth-century public transportation vehicles used for short distance travel in rural areas.
      Frank Clancy and his brother John were partners in the saloon business with "Soapy" Smith in Skagway. George Brackett owned the Brackett Wagon Road. So, without further explanation enjoy the following transposition of the above newspaper clipping.




The First Road Conveyance to Appear at Skagway.


     Frank Clancy is taking the first hack to Skagway. Therefore it follows, according to some people’s way of thinking, that Clancy is a hero. There is always a certain amount of celebrity attaching to first things, and the big-hearted dance hall manager of Skagway is getting his share. Three months ago if Clancy had taken a hack to Skagway he would have been laughed at, because hacks would have been useless. Now that the snow is gone along the broad avenues of Skagway town hacks will be in demand, and there will be more to follow Clancy’s vehicle shortly. This hack episode recalls that hacks were not the first up-to-date vehicles to peer at Skagway. Mr. George Brackett of wagon-road fame took the first cutter to Lynn Canal ports, and it was a “dandy.” It cut quite a figure about town and along the ice road of Skagway River during the winter. Brackett’s cutter, however, passed without comment, because it came as a matter of course. It was a necessity, a luxury and a big wagon road advertisement combined. As naturally has come Clancy’s hack. It will be a necessity during the summer months between the landings and the hotels and business places at Skagway. The real honor for first things in the traveling line that Skagway belongs with the Brackett family.
     Mr. Brackett presented Skagway’s first church society with an organ, the gift probably being the first thing in the musical line of its kind to appear at the Lynn Canal metropolis. Brackett’s cutter was a stylish affair in use for conveying the family and friends on pleasure jaunts and business trips in and about the city.
At this writing the organ donated by Brackett remains a mystery.

Frank Clancy: April 16, 2011, December 27, 2010, June 24, 2010, April 14, 2010, August 20, 2009, July 4, 2009, June 7, 2009, October 5, 2008.
George Brackett: May 14, 2013, June 29, 2011, April 1, 2010, April 3, 2010.

Frank Clancy: pages 455, 461, 471, 515, 521, 552-53.
George Brakett: page 519.

"Saluting the memory of Soapy Smith, forever inseparable and significant to the Old West history of the Mile-High City."
—Robert Bandhauer


1716: The first lion to be exhibited in America goes on display in Boston, Massachusetts.
1789: U.S. President Washington sets aside this day to observe the adoption of the Constitution of the United States.
1825: The first college social fraternity, Kappa Alpha, is formed at Union College in Schenectady, New York.
1832: Public streetcar service begins in New York City.
1853: William Bartholomew “Bat” Masterson, a good friend of Soapy Smith’s, is born in County Rouville, Quebec, Canada.
1856: Capt William R. Bradfute of Company G, 2nd Cavalry, from Ft Mason, Texas attack a party of Comanche Indians along the Concho River. One soldier is wounded, four Indians are killed, two wounded, and six horses captured.
1867: J. B. Sutherland patents the refrigerated railroad car.
1869: The last stagecoach between Denver and Cheyenne is run as the Denver Pacific Railway to Denver, Colorado Territory is completed.
1884: Montana's Northern Cheyenne Indian reservation is created from the Crow reservation by executive order of President Chester A. Arthur.
1886: One thousand men are employed as laborers by the Rock Island Railroad in Hutchinson, Kansas.
1891: First building in Bachelor, Colorado is constructed.
1891: Denver and Rio Grande Railroad extends narrow gauge track to Creede, Colorado.
1898: In a series of editorials titled “Unpunished Denver Murders,” The Denver Evening Post places Bascomb Smith’s shooting of Harry Smith on the list at number 10. Bascomb is the younger brother of bad man Soapy Smith.

November 24, 2017

Seattle Daily Times: Soapy Smith's Skagway Guards, April 2, 1898.

The text is transposed below
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mith’s Skagway Guards
Seattle Daily Times, April 2, 1898.

Within seven days of the Committee of 101’s distribution of handbills warning Soapy Smith and his gang out of Skagway, Soapy created his own Alaska army unit with himself as captain. Soapy named his all-volunteer militia, the Skaguay Military Company, in response to President McKinley's call for volunteer companies at the start of the Spanish-American War. Soapy held meetings and volunteer drives, sending the minutes to President McKinley, to which he acknowledged receipt of, and thanked Soapy for, via the War Department. Soapy also sent the same package to Governor Brady of the District of Alaska, offering his services in keeping law and order in Skagway, Dyea and the two trails, basically making Soapy the law. The Skaguay Military Company under command of Captain Jeff Smith, what amounted to his own private army, could quell any “disturbances,” such as vigilantes might cause. The 101, with no stomach to oppose an organized unit of “Patriots,” shrank behind doors and bided time. It is surely interesting to imagine how Soapy's history might have played out had either McKinley or Brady accepted his offer.
     Below is the transposed text of an article published in the Seattle Daily Times, but originating from a reporter for the Port Townsend Call. The story is about the outright robbery of new recruits, and is still believed to be just another fictional story that gave birth in the account published below, which appears to be the first accounting of this story. In Alias Soapy Smith (2009) I published that the story first appeared in a Vancouver newspaper and was republished in the San Francisco Call, June 3, 1898. In November 1898 the Denver Evening Post published a more detailed version, however the facts do not add up.
No other known reports of men complaining that they had been robbed in this way are known. In fact, not even any reports of “physicals” are known. Jeff wanted the Company to be a force in which its members, the town, and not least of all himself could take pride. Such a force could hardly be sustained if its men were robbed as a first experience. Even Collier and Westrate [The Reign of Soapy Smith, 1935], who document nothing and present many details and stories about Jeff and the Soap Gang that could not be true, reject that Jeff was behind the robberies. They counter the story, however, with what appears to be another fabrication: “This dastardly work was reported to Soapy, who wrathfully ordered the perpetrators rounded up and hauled before him.” The perpetrators “attempted to laugh off their performance as a practical joke,” but “Soapy” was not amused and “compelled them to disgorge their ill-gotten booty on the spot and return it to the rightful owners, after which they were forced to apologize to their victims.” That the Company remained active for nearly four months strongly suggests that the men were not abused, at least not as told in the story of its recruits being robbed. —Alias Soapy Smith, p. 491
For your enjoyment and research, following is the original story as it came out in April 1898.



How “Soapy” and His Gang
Display Patriotism.




Open a Recruiting Office, Make
Applicants Strip for a Physical
Examination and Remove All
Valuables From Their Clothes.

A correspondent of the Port Townsend Call, who seems to have wandered away from home without his mother, got as far as Skagway, where the much-maligned “Soapy” Smith appears to have pressed his button, while the gang did the rest.
     The article published below is taken from the above named paper, and merely shows the remarkable resources of men who live upon their wits and who are smart enough to take advantage of every opportunity presented for fleecing the tenderfoot. The article is as follows:
     A special correspondent of the Call at Skagway, writing under date of March 19, sends a grist of information that will be of interest here. Conspicuous among the news furnished is concerning the town itself, which he pronounces to be, without doubt, the toughest town on the face of the earth. The lawless element prevails there, says the writer, and all you have to do is listen to hear pistol shots after nightfall. “Skin games” are thicker than fleas on a dog, and the following of the notorious “Soapy” Smith is reaping a rich harvest from the unsophisticated.
     “The latest, and probably most amusing while at the same time serious game that is being perpetrated upon the unwary is entitled ‘Soapy’ Smith’s Cuban Army, and only goes to demonstrate the vast resources of those who prefer to make money without work.
     “Immediately following the first news of impending trouble between the United States and Spain over the Havana horror, it was announced that a company of militia would be raised at Skagway, outfitted, provisioned and sent to Cuba at once. One of the ‘Soapy’ gang took the matter in hand, and inside of three days 150 men had enlisted.
     “Smith, it was understood, was to put the bills and the organization was to be known as ‘Smith’s Skagway Guards.’ People who had hitherto harbored a bad opinion of the Prince of gamblers applauded the movement, and it was on this account solely such opportunity for fleecing was given.
     “I heard rumors of crooked work in the matter, and determined to find out by enlisting. Dispensing with everything of value about my clothes, and taking nothing but a couple of dollars, a jackknife and a plug of tobacco, I presented myself.
     “The recruiting officer was pleased to see me, and asked me if I was willing to enlist and die if necessary for my country. I told him I was, and he then administered an oath covering the above. At the proper moment the ‘major’ arrived. The recruiting officer said:
     “’Major, this is private S — —, whom you will take to surgeon so-and-so to be examined as to his physical qualifications. Instruct the surgeon to spare no pains in the examination, though we want none but first-class men in Smith’s Skagway guards.’
     “I was led into a dark room, and told to address. I did so, placing my clothes on a chair in plain view. That did not hinder me being robbed, for presently my eyesight was tested on a display card at the back end of the room. After a short delay I was told I could not pass, and the doctor withdrew. I at once went to my clothes, and found as predicted that I had been robbed. There was no one in the front room, so I was compelled to depart by a side entrance, which had been left conveniently open. While I lost only $2 and a jackknife, I am reliably informed that in several instances men have been ‘enlisted’ to the tune of several hundred dollars, in fact relieved of everything they were so shortsighted as to carry with them to the recruiting station.”


Skaguay Military Company: May 4, 2011, Nov. 11, 2017, June 30, 2010, June 3, 2010, April 1, 2010.

Skaguay Military Company: pages 79, 471, 486-90, 494-95, 498-502, 505, 510, 514-15, 595.

"Captain Jeff R. Smith, Captain Co A, 1st regiment National Guard of Alaska, recd [received] a communication directly from President McKinley yesterday, notifying him that an order had been issued to make out and forward commission for officers and enrollment of men in Co A Skaguay Guards. Capt Smith was not advised whether the services of himself or men would be required in the coming unpleasantness.

We can only suggest that if the president thinks he is going to have any real warm work, a few men like Jeff Smith would be a comfort."
Daily Alaskan, April 27, 1898


1715: Sybilla Thomas Masters becomes the first American to be granted an English patent for cleaning and curing Indian corn.
1758: During the French and Indian War, the British capture Fort Duquesne at what is now known as Pittsburgh.
1783: The British evacuate New York, their last military position in the U.S., during the Revolutionary War.
1837: William Crompton patents the silk power loom.
1846: Carrie Amelia Moore is born in rural Kentucky, to George and Mary Moore. Carry eventually marries Dr. David A. Nation, and becomes Carry Nation, the famed temperance radical. Her daughter, Charlien, suffers from mental difficulties, which Carry blames on her first husband's alcoholism. Charlien is eventually committed to the Texas State Lunatic Asylum (the same asylum Soapy Smith’s father was institutionalized in). In 1889 Carry begins her radical temperance life, starting a local branch or of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
1850: Texas relinquishes one-third of its territory in exchange for $10 million from the U.S. to pay its public debts and settle border disputes.
1867: Alfred Nobel patents dynamite.
1884: J. B. Meyenberg receives the patent for evaporated milk.
1867: Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer's court-martial ends at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
1868: Outlaw William “Elzy” Ellsworth Lay is born in McArthur, Ohio. He would later join the outlaw gang of Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch.
1876: Indian Chief Dull Knife's village in the Bighorn Mountains near the Red Fork of the Powder River is destroyed by Colonel Mackenzie's troops during the Great Sioux War. Over 200 lodges are burned and items from Custer's 7th Cavalry are found in the camp.
1882: Fort Point in San Francisco, California, is renamed Fort Winfield Scott.
1902: Frank “Buckskin” Leslie, at 60-years-old, accidentally shoots himself in the leg when his gun fell out of his pocket while bending over in a San Francisco saloon.

Artifact #56: Edwin B. Smith writes to Soapy's son, 1908.

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he reason I did not answer your letter
was because it failed to reach me.
Artifact #56

     Another letter from Edwin Bobo Smith to his first cousin, once removed, Jefferson Randolph Smith III, Soapy Smith's son. Born February 8, 1887 means that at the date of the letter son Jeff was 21 years old, and Edwin Bobo Smith, born May 10, 1859 was 49 years old. Edwin writes,

Mar 23, 1908

Dear Jeff:

The reason I did not answer your letter was because it failed to reach me. I have been living in Baltimore since last August working on the Balt. American. Sooner or later I expect to go back to Washington where the rest of the family are. I trust you are doing well and I will always be glad to hear from you. I have a very close friend in St. Louis, by the name of Dennis J. Canty. Some day I wish you would look him up and give him my best wishes. He is I think in the brokerage business with a man named Price or Prince can tell you where to find him.

How is your mother and sisters? I suppose the sister is married by this time. Give them my love.
Sincerely Yours,
Ed B. Smith—

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     The stationary comes from the Hotel Rennert in Baltimore, Maryland. It was common in the 19th-20th century for people to utilize "free to customers" stationary from hotels, saloons, and other businesses stationary. Edwin may have obtained some, or even possibly lived in the hotel.
     The Rennert, located at the southwest corner Saratoga and Liberty streets, was built by Robert Rennert in 1885.

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Hotel Rennert postcard

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     The hotel contained 128 "chambers," all of which had fireplaces and 40 of which had private baths. The building was illuminated by both gas and electricity. Hydraulic elevators whisked guests and staff between floors and to the roof, which contained a garden and offered splendid views of the city, especially at night. The Rennert closed in 1939 and was torn down in 1941.

Where the Hotel Rennert once stood
now a parking lot
courtesy of Google maps

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     In 1951, a five-story parking garage was built on the site and aptly named the Rennert Garage. It was torn down in 1996 and replaced by a parking lot. A fence of steel and brick that follows the outline of the long-gone hotel is the only reminder of its existence on the site.

Jefferson Randolph Smith III (Soapy's son): pages 7, 107-08, 167, 417-18, 546, 584, 587-89.

Edwin Bobo Smith
: pages 20, 22-30, 35, 32, 36, 333, 425, 428, 444-49, 589.

"Brooks took my freight out a mile along the trail and dumped it there for a better offer to haul whisky. There was a clause in the contract that if he didn’t deliver, the pack train was mine. He just laughed at me and said, “What are you going to do about it?” He was fond of drink and had so much money he didn’t know what to do with it.
     I went back to Skagway and I was boiling mad. Soapy Smith was clean and he was intelligent looking. I thought he was the most perfect gentleman there. He looked like a minister and had this soft southern drawl. Soapy was my hero, and I went to him for advice. I told him what had happened and how I owed $8,000 and had to get this gear to Dawson.
     “I’ll see what I can do for you, Belinda,” he said.
     He picked up a good tough bunch of men and we lit out with his crew and took possession of the pack train, unloaded the whisky and packed my freight. Brooks had a pinto he rode all the time and I took that for myself. That’s what Soapy did for me and I liked him."
—Belinda Mulrooney
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 591.


1853: Famed Buffalo hunter, lawman, gambler, newspaper writer, and friend of bad man Soapy Smith, William Barclay "Bat" Masterson is born in Quebec, Canada.
1859: Denver Rocky Mountain Brewery makes the first batch of beer in Denver, Colorado. William Byers of the Rocky Mountain News writes that it is “a drink not deadly in its effects,” and would “decrease the present consumption of strychnine whiskey and Taos Lightning.”
1860: Denver, Colorado gambler Charley Harrison shoots and kills rancher James Hill during an altercation in the Criterion saloon. Details of the shooting vary and in the end charges of murder were dropped.
1863: The battle for Lookout Mountain begins in Tennessee, during the Civil War.
1864: Colonel John Chivington assumes command of an expedition against Indians living at Sand Creek, Colorado Territory.
1864: Kit Carson and his 1st Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, attack a camp of Kiowa Indians in the First Battle of Adobe Walls.
1869: Captain Edward Heyl and a detachment of Companies L and M, 9th Cavalry, skirmish with Apache Indians near the Llano River in Texas. Heyl is wounded and one Indian killed. Six horses are captured.
1870: Against outlaw Jesse James's wishes, his sister, Susan James, marries former Quantrill raider Allen Palmer.
1871: The National Rifle Association is incorporated in the U.S.
1874: Joseph F. Glidden is granted a patent for a barbed fencing material.
1882: Charles Earl “Black Bart” Bowles robs the Lakeport-Cloverdale stagecoach, six miles outside of Cloverdale, California.
1889: Famed con man John L. “Reverend” Bowers marries Bella Banning in Denver, Colorado.
1891: The Amethyst (Creede, Colorado) Creede’s first newspaper, is published.) Creede is where bad man Soapy Smith operated his second criminal empire.
1903: Clyde J. Coleman receives the patent for an electric self-starter for an automobile.
1924: Famed lawman Bill Tilghman is killed in the line of duty in Cromwell, Oklahoma. He was 71-years-old.

November 21, 2017

Soapy Smith arrested Oct. 15, 1889.

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eff R. Smith for assault with intent to kill, 
as soon as he arrived in the city last night.

     Mid 1889 marks Jeff’s first sequence of violent behavior and his first reported use of a knife and a gun. All within a month and a half, there had been fist-fighting, man caning, destruction of property with a knife, threatening a man with a knife, and a fierce shootout. The causes of these events are not hard to account for. The Logan Park affair that had gone so badly awry; the Rocky Mountain News declaration of war on Jeff and his businesses, including unrelenting public insult of Jeff and his circle; legal peril (and cost); and an explosive, sudden, and nearly successful plot against his life. Any of these events could have released the safety catch on Jeff’s behavior. In matters large and small, violence seems to have become much closer at hand.
Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel

     The above newspaper clipping from the October 16, 1889 edition of the Denver Daily News opened a new mystery in the Soapy Smith annuals. Seven days later Soapy was held by the grand jury to answer for assault with intent to kill. 
He was present yesterday in the criminal division of the district court and gave a bond of $1,000, John Kinneavy becoming his bondsman. —Rocky Mt. News, 10/17/1889
     In Alias Soapy Smith, this was question, "another bond for $1,000?" It was originally believed to have been a carry over from Soapy's July attack on newspaperman John Arkins, but this may not be the case.
     On July 30, 1889 Soapy attacked John Arkins, owner and managing editor of the Rocky Mountain News for mentioning his wife and children in with an article attacking Soapy's criminal empire. The trial continued into August but never seemed to come to an official end, at least one published in the newspapers. The News had declared war on the bunco men and then the saloons and gambling. They were successful in pushing a temporary reform movement in Denver which closed up many saloons and gambling houses, including Soapy's Tivoli Club.
     On August 28, 1889 the News reported an altercation in one of the gaming houses in which Soapy slashed a faro layout with a dirk, and then held it to the throat of the dealer.
     Two days later, on August 30, Soapy, his brother Bascomb, John "Shoot-Your-Eye-Out Jack" Vermillion, John Fatty Gray" Morris, and possibly “Auctioneer Roberts” as well as J. W. Allen, are involved in a shootout at the Pocatello, Idaho train depot.
     On October 15, 1889, forty-six days after the Pocatello gunfight, Jeff comes back in Denver and is immediately arrested.Originally it was thought that the arrest had to do with the beating of John Arkins, but it is likely that this new arrest and charge is for the knife at the dealers throat incident just before leaving Denver. So how did it end? That's the mystery at this time. The case seems to have simply vanished.

"Never play cards, or shoot pool, with a guy nicknamed after a city."


1620: The Mayflower, with 102 passengers, arrives at Provincetown, Massachusetts from Plymouth, England.
1789: North Carolina is the 12th state to ratify the Constitution.
1860: Tom Horn is born in Memphis, Missouri. During his life he worked as a Cavalry scout, Pinkerton detective, range detective, and an outlaw. In 1888 he won a championship steer roping contest. In Wyoming he is tried and hung for the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell, a crime that some believe he did not commit. While awaiting execution, Horn made the rope used to hang him, one day before his 43rd birthday.
1867: Carry Amelia Moore's (Carry Nation) wedding in Missouri is delayed due to her drunken groom, Dr. Charles Gloyd, a severe alcoholic. The couple has a daughter, Charlien, who suffers from mental difficulties. Their marriage ends in 1869. Carry believed that her husband's alcohol consumption has caused her child's problems. Charlien is eventually committed to the Texas State Lunatic Asylum (the same asylum Soapy Smith’s father was institutionalized in). Carry meets and weds Dr. David A. Nation in 1877. In 1889 Carry begins her radical temperance life, starting a local branch or of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
1871: M. F. Galethe patents the cigar lighter.
1871: The corpses of two stagecoach robbers, named Taylor and Burns, are brought to Cimarron, New Mexico Territory, after being killed by Bounty hunters on October 31, 1871 near Fort Union.
1877: Thomas A. Edison announces the invention of the phonograph.
1880: Outlaw Billy the Kid, and four of his gang, steal eight horses from the Grzelachowski ranch in New Mexico Territory.
1883: Chet Van Meter, accused of beating his family and threatening others, is shot and killed by Deputy U.S. Marshal Cash Hollister and Ben Wheeler in Caldwell, Kansas. Upon seeing the approaching lawmen, Meter fired his revolver at them. They returned fire, killing Meter with five wounds to the chest.
1884: Denver, Colorado Police Chief William Smith shuts down every gambling house in the city. The reform lasted one month.
1887: The first Montana Central train arrives in Helena, Montana, in a snowstorm.
1891: Bat Masterson marries Denver Palace Theater song and dance performer Emma Walters. It is in the Palace Theater that bad man Soapy Smith and Ed Chase met their wives as well. Ed Chase operated the Palace, which was described as “a death-trap to young men, a foul den of vice and corruption.” In 1887, Chase partnered with bad man Soapy Smith in opening the Tivoli Club, a saloon and gaming house.
1900: Wild Bunch outlaws Robert Leroy “Butch Cassidy” Parker, Harry “The Sundance Kid” Longabaugh, Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, Ben “The Tall Texan” Kilpatrick, and Will Carver sit for the famous "Fort Worth Five" photo, in Fort Worth, Texas.