September 15, 2020

Artifact #67 envelope addressed to "Capt. Jeff. R. Smith" July 14, 1898


Capt. Jeff. R. Smith
Artifact #67

Envelope - front
Jeff Smith Collection
(Click image to enlarge)






apt Jeff. R. Smith
Skaguay, Alaska





Artifact #67 is an envelope sans the content letter, addressed to "Capt. Jeff. R. Smith, Skaguay, Alaska." The stamp and the front postmark are present, reading, "San Francisco Cala, Jul 14 - 6 a.m.," meaning that it left San Francisco at that hour. 

Soapy went by "captain," his rank in his personal militia, the Skaguay Military Company, created for use in the Spanish-American War of 1898. 

Capt. Jeff. R. Smith
Artifact #67
Envelope - back
Jeff Smith Collection
(Click image to enlarge)

The back of the envelope has the postmark, showing that it arrived in Skagway, Alaska on July 24, 1898. Note that postmark reads "Skagway" while the address on the front of the envelope reads "Skaguay."  The original spelling was "Skaguay" with a "u." In 1898 the postmaster in town decided that it should be spelled "Skagway" with a "w." Many towns people did not appreciate the change of spelling to THEIR town, and the spelling varied between the two spellings into the 1900s. Also take note of the wax sealer.





"I asked him [Soapy Smith] to let me see his guns, and I noticed that they were Colt 38-calibre with the heavy stock of the 45. He said he liked the heavy stock because it was steadier in the hand."
—Saunders Norvell, Forty Years of Hardware, 1924








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