February 25, 2021

Soapy runs the soap racket in Tombstone, Arizona, 1882

Soapy Smith - "street fakir"
The Daily Nugget
January 28, 1882
Tombstone, Arizona



 

 
 STREET FAKIR WAS WORKING THE 'SOAP RACKET'"

It's been a number of years that we've known that Soapy Smith went to Tombstone, Arizona. I knew that he operated swindles there, likely the prize package soap sell racket, but never had any solid provenance, until now. Good friend, author, and Tombstone historian, Peter Brand came across a report in The Daily Nugget and sent it to me. Below is the entire page he sent. 

The Daily Nugget
January 28, 1882
Tombstone, Arizona
Article is in 1st col, 8 par

(Click image to enlarge)

The notice states that a "fakir" operated the "soap racket" on the corner of "Allen and Fourth streets" on January 27, 1882. This is one day after Soapy signed the register at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, so there is hardly a doubt that the "fakir" was Soapy. He also signed the register of the same hotel on January 31st and February 16th. There may be more newspaper stories waiting to be discovered.
     I have xerox copies of one of Soapy's personal notebooks. Soapy returned to Tombstone and sold his prize package soap beginning on December 17, 1883. In his own handwriting, he wrote up a week's tally.

Sales in Tombstone.
A.T. Dec. 1883
Dec 17th Mon. .......$65.00
Dec 18th T [Tue] ....$58.00
Dec 19th W [Wed] ..$53.00
Dec 20th T [Thur] ...$57.00
Dec 21st F [Fri] .......$23.00
Dec 22nd Sat ...........$58.50
_______________________
................................$314.50

$314.50 is the equivalent of $8,808.09 in 2020 dollars, for five days of work! Not a bad haul for selling soap!
     In looking at the map below we see that the corner of Allen and Fourth is just steps away from the Cosmopolitan Hotel. It is also the same distance from the Grand Hotel, where the "cow-boys," the Earp enemies, were registered. It is easy to imagine Soapy swindling one of the cowboys made famous via movies, such as "Tombstone."


Tombstone, Arizona
Red circle show the corner Soapy worked

(Click image to enlarge)


Tombstone, Arizona - 1886
Sanborn map
Red circle show the corner Soapy worked

(Click image to enlarge)

     Numerous times I have walked this corner, not realizing how close to unholy ground I was.I always get a photo taken in front of the wooden fence where the Cosmopolitan Hotel stood, and now I will do the same at Allen and Fourth Streets. I need to run the prize package soap sell racket there!


Allen and 4th Streets
Tombstone, Arizona - Today
Corner where Soapy operated
Google maps

(Click image to enlarge)

 

Jeff Smith
Where the Cosmopolitan Hotel stood
Tombstone, Arizona

(Click image to enlarge)



SPECIAL THANKS TO FRIEND PETER BRAND
(Historian/author who discovered and shared the article with us.)
Check out his books at
Tombstone Vendetta.










Tombstone, Arizona
March 23, 2009
September 25, 2009
November 13, 2009
August 19, 2010
December 26, 2010
April 24, 2017
September 4, 2020







"Your best chance to get a Royal Flush in a casino is in the bathroom."
—V. P. Pappy







February 23, 2021

Soapy Smith in San Francisco, again

Soapy at the Brooklyn Hotel, San Francisco
San Francisco Examiner
October 30, 1882

(Click image to enlarge)



 
oapy in San Francisco, at the Brooklyn Hotel again.

It seems Soapy went to San Francisco more than previously believed. He also seems to have preferred staying at the Brooklyn Hotel when operating in San Francisco, California. It is known that Soapy had been in San Francisco in 1881, being arrested TWICE for operating his prize package soap sell racket, and was there again on November 13, 1882 (see February 22, 2021). Note that this time he lists his residence as "New York," and each time he registers he changes that resident city. Likely this is for self-defense purposes ("I've never operated in S.F. before."
     While it is possible that this is a different "Jeff R. Smith," it is known that Soapy was traveling between San Francisco and numerous cities in Oregon during this period. The fact that he went back and forth between the two is "normal" for Soapy, perhaps simply for the reason of staying out of jail, as often times, the city police and courts gave bunco men the option of leaving town rather than facing trial and jail-time. Due to the lack of quality record keeping, city courts and police departments had short memories, giving Soapy the opportunity to leave a city and return, as a "different person," giving him the chance of being given the opportunity to "leave town" again, as opposed to being thrown in jail as a repeat offender.
    
 
Again in San Francisco, at the Brooklyn Hotel
San Francisco Examiner
November 23, 1882

(Click image to enlarge)

Twenty-five days later (November 23, 1882) Soapy is back at the Brooklyn Hotel in San Francisco, and this time registering his residence as "Fort Worth [Texas]." As stated above, Soapy registered at the Brooklyn on November 13, 1882 as well. While possible, It is not likely that Soapy stayed in town for ten days. His normal routine during this period is one or two days in each town, then off to another town. Then again, could it be that Soapy found a distraction, a reason to stay in town, perhaps a female companion? 
     Interesting to note is that Soapy had stayed at the same hotel again, close to three years later, on February 22, 1884, listing his residence as "Denver, Colorado.
 
The Brooklyn Hotel
San Francisco, California
Circa 1875
Archive of California, Bancroft Library

(Click image to enlarge)










San Francisco: pages 40-41, 60, 82, 85, 109-10, 118-19, 152, 242, 361, 409, 411-12, 418, 425, 428-29, 432-33, 450, 463-65, 472, 492, 504, 527, 545, 574, 587.





"No wife can endure a gambling husband unless he is a steady winner."
—Lord Dewar







February 22, 2021

Artifact #76: Letter from Emmie L. Smith to Jefferson R. Smith III

Artifact #76 - Letter A
From Emmie L. Smith to Jefferson R. Smith III
October 16, 1912
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)



 
 
 
 
t don’t look like we will ever get any trace of Bascom"


 
 
 
 
Artifact #76 - Letter B
From Emmie L. Smith to Jefferson R. Smith III
October 16, 1912
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
Artifact #76 is a letter from Emma [Emmie] Lou [Lu] Smith, Soapy's sister, to Jefferson Randolph Smith III, Soapy's son.
     We know that Emma died on May 3, 1915, but her date of birth is a mystery. Interesting enough, each federal census, her year of birth changed.
  • 1870 Census: Emma is listed as being born in 1867.
  • 1880 Census: About 1870.
  • 1900 Census: Oct 1873.
  • 1910 Census: 1880.
The content of the letter is personal family matters, with mention of politics and of Bascomb (spelled "Bascom" in the letter) Smith, her and Soapy's brother.
 
Emma Lou Smith

 
Below is the transcribed letter.
 
Waco, Texas
Oct 16th 1912.

My Dear Nephew:

I was very glad to received your long looked for letter, was glad to learn all was well. Crops have turned out very good this year fruit and vegetables very plentiful. Cool weather has come and it is raining now and very cool for this time of the year. You asked who was the favorite for President. Wilson of course as Texas has been in the Democratic Columns always. I deplore the attempted assassination of Ex president Roosevelt and hope he will soon recover. I heard from Temple kins. Willie Jeff is Back in Temple and all was well. Emmie Taylor, my niece paid us a visit this Summer. Would be pleased to received the photos. It don’t look like we will ever get any trace of Bascom [sic]. Mr. Garner [Emmie’s husband] is fairly well and sends his regards to you all.

Love top all, your Loving Aunt
Emmie Lu Gardner
927 Franklin Street.
Waco, Texas
 
The letter speaks of family items, and about midway mentions the "attempted assassination of Ex president [Theodore] Roosevelt," which occurred two days prior to Emmies letter, on October 14, 1912.
     While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Roosevelt was shot by a saloonkeeper named John Schrank. The bullet lodged in his chest after penetrating his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick (50 pages) single-folded copy of the speech he planned to give that day, which he was carrying in his jacket. As an experienced hunter and anatomist, Roosevelt correctly concluded that since he was not coughing blood, the bullet had not reached his lung, and he declined suggestions to go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt. He spoke for 90 minutes before completing his speech and accepting medical attention. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose." Afterwards, probes and an x-ray showed that the bullet had lodged in Roosevelt's chest muscle, but did not penetrate the pleura. Doctors concluded that it would be less dangerous to leave it in place than to attempt to remove it, and Roosevelt carried the bullet with him for the rest of his life.
     
Artifact #76 - Envelope
From Emmie L. Smith to Jefferson R. Smith III
October 16, 1912
Jeff Smith collection

 (Click image to enlarge)
 
Emmie goes on to say, "It don’t look like we will ever get any trace of Bascom." Young Jefferson Smith no doubt asked if she might know of his whereabouts, but she did not. It is believed that Bascomb Smith died of a drug overdose in Omaha, Nebraska, previous to September 7, 1909 (see post Sept 24, 2020), three years previous to the writing of this letter. Between Bascomb's drug use and the family moving around, Bascomb would have had a hard time finding his siblings and nephew. 
     The envelope is addressed to "Mr. Jeff Smith, c/o The Times [St. Louis Times] Editorial Dept." The notes in the upper left corner are illegible. They were probably added after delivery, by Jefferson.
  

Lot where Emmie and husband's
home stood in 1912

Assuming addresses didn't change
 
(Click image to enlarge)










Emma Lou Smith
May 22, 2010











Emma Lou Smith: page: 22, 121, 377, 397, 403-04, 589.





"A number of moralists condemn lotteries and refuse to see anything noble in the passion of the ordinary gambler. They judge gambling as some atheists judge religion, by its excesses."
—Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia, 1832








Soapy Smith in San Francisco, 1882.

Soapy, Taylor and Waller at the Brooklyn Hotel
San Francisco Examiner
November 13, 1882

(Click image to enlarge)


 

 

 

OAPY IN SAN FRANCISCO, 1882.
  NEW DISCOVERY!

 

I knew that Soapy had been in San Francisco in 1881, being arrested TWICE for operating his prize package soap sell racket, and I knew he had gone through in the late 90s, but 1882 is brand new information as of this posting.

Soapy signs the register at the Brooklyn Hotel, along with

  • John Taylor: whom early authors described as Soapy's mentor in Texas.
  • John T. Waller: Spelled as "J. F. Waller."

 

The Brooklyn Hotel
San Francisco, California
Circa 1875
Archive of California, Bancroft Library

(Click image to enlarge)

The Brooklyn Hotel was on Bush Street, near Montgomery. The photo is Bush Street looking west from Sansome Street. Hacks and hotel stagecoachs (called "buses") bring hotel guests to and from the hotel. Circa 1875.
     Interesting to note is that Soapy stayed at this same hotel about three years later, on February 22, 1884, listing his residence as Denver, Colorado.

SOURCE:

  • San Francisco Examiner, November 13, 1882
  • Photo: Archive of California, Bancroft Library










San Francisco
October 6, 2009
December 26, 2009
December 26, 2009 (part 2)
January 3, 2012
February 23, 2021











San Francisco: pages 40-41, 60, 82, 85, 109-10, 118-19, 152, 242, 361, 409, 411-12, 418, 425, 428-29, 432-33, 450, 463-65, 472, 492, 504, 527, 545, 574, 587.





"Even as I approach the gambling hall, as soon as I hear, two rooms away, the jingle of money poured out on the table, I almost go into convulsions."
—Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Gambler, 1866






February 17, 2021

Soapy Smith in Parsons, Kansas, 1880

Soapy registers at the St. Elmo Hotel
Parsons, Kansas
Parsons Daily Eclipse
March 31, 1880


(Click image to enlarge)



 

arsons is a city in Labette County, Kansas. The town was named after Levi Parsons, president of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) Railroad. The town was founded in 1870 and incorporated the following year by the railroad. The location for the town was chosen because it was where the two branches of the railroad being built from Junction City, Kansas and Sedalia, Missouri would meet, and was on a ridge between Labette Creek and Little Labette Creek, which were soon dammed to provide a water source. The railroad commenced building a massive rail yard, foundry, and locomotive shop at Parsons, which for many years was the third largest railroad facility west of the Mississippi River with only Kansas City and Los Angeles being larger. Settlers from nearby towns uprooted and moved to Parsons, and new settlers arrived on every incoming train. Parsons soon became a major hub for several railroads including the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railroad, Parsons & Pacific Railroad, Kansas City & Pacific Railroad, and the Memphis, Kansas & Colorado Railroad. 

As Parsons was a large railroad town, my guess is that Soapy stopped over for a night or two, operated his swindles, and then got back on a train continuing on his way to other better prospects. I could not find anything on the St. Elmo Hotel. 


Parsons, Kansas
Forest Avenue (now Broadway Ave)
August 4, 1873
Courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society
 
(Click image to enlarge)





Main and 18th Streets
Parsons, Kansas
Colorized postcard

(Click image to enlarge)
 

"When a gambler picks up a pack of cards or a pair of dice, he feels as though he has reduced an unmanageable world to a finite, visible and comprehensive size."
— Annabel Davis-Goff, The Literary Companion to Gambling








"Poker Alice" Tubbs and Joe Palmer's shootout with the “Louisiana Kid.”

"Poker Alice Tubbs"
Dealing faro
staged photo

(Click image to enlarge)




 
 
on’t shoot anymore! Don’t shoot anymore! You’ve knocked both my thumbs off!”

On February 11, 1892 Soap Gang member Joe Palmer shoots it out with the “Louisiana Kid.” Both of Palmer’s thumb-tips are shot off and the “Kid” receives upper body wounds, but escapes. It is believed the “Kid” was found deceased and became the corpse used in the manufacturing of McGinty the petrified man.

The famous professional female gambler, "Poker Alice" Tubbs, who dealt Faro across the street from the Orleans Club in Bob Ford’s Exchange, gave her firsthand account of this same gunfight in an interview she did in 1927 with the Saturday Evening Post (December 3, 1927):

. . . I was returning to my little log cabin in Creede when suddenly, from both sides of me, shots began to spurt in the semidarkness of the little town. Vaguely I saw a man behind a woodpile and another opposite, each with a revolver and each pulling the trigger with intent to kill. I did the natural thing—I made for the first and nearest saloon, since saloons were about the most plentiful of business houses in the town. Steve Scribner’s place was handiest, and while Steve tried to push the door closed to lock it I pushed as enthusiastically to get in, while the shooting went on behind me.
     “Let me in!” I shouted. “It’s only Poker Alice!”
      There was nothing else, incidentally, for Scribner to do; I was jammed in the door by this time. Wilder and wilder the shooting became, suddenly to cease that the noise of exploding cartridges might give way to heightened wailing.
      “I’m a son of a gun!” said Steve Scribner beside me in the darkness. “is that one of those fellows who’s just been shooting to kill? He’s bawling like a baby!”
     The sound grew louder, accompanied by words:
     “Don’t shoot anymore! Don’t shoot anymore! You’ve knocked both my thumbs off!”
     Then the battle, which had been intended a moment before as a struggle unto death, became quickly an affair of humor.
     “Listen to the big baby cry!” shouted the man who had shot off his assailant’s thumbs.
     “Oh, what a baby!” echoed the spectators, flooding now from behind barricades and other selected spots of protection. The howling man, mourning the loss of his thumbs, found himself the owner of a new nickname. He was 'Baby Joe' and 'Baby Joe' he stayed as long as I can remember. [1]
     Now if someone happens to get both thumbs shot off in a gunfight, I’d say they are entitled to a bit of crying, but apparently, people were a tougher lot and things were a bit different in Creede in 1892. Another eyewitness to this scrape gave an account that showed Joe Palmer in a more favorable light:

      “In those days,” said the man with the broad white hat, “Creede was a booming camp. You can make books on that. And it was a camp that it pleased an old timer to set foot in. Tenderfeet were not stacking up against the fellows then. It was a reminder of Deadwood and Leadville. It was reminiscence of forty-nine."
     “But as I was saying, that fight that Joe Palmer made against the ‘Orleans Kid’ ['Louisiana Kid.'] was as good and game a fight as a man ever saw. . . . Down in Creede he ran a house for Jeff Smith. The Kid came in there one night and got noisy and abusive. The fact that he had killed four men didn’t cut a figure with Joe, and he politely but firmly told him to get out. The Kid left sulkily, and we fellows at the tables watching the play between turns of the cards, just took a flier, in our inner consciousness, that there’d be trouble before morning.
     “Joe stepped out of the place a little afterward. He was gone but a moment or two when we hear a shot. We sprang up from our chips, leaving our bets on the layout, and rushed outside. And there we saw a fight!
     “Palmer was standing in the middle of the street right under the electric light. In the bright glare he was the fairest of targets. The Kid was by the corner in the shadow of the stores. Both of them were blazing away at less than 30 paces. The Kid’s second bullet struck Joe in the thumb of his pistol hand, and the gun fell to the ground. Joe picked it up with his left hand and went on shooting. Another bullet from The Kid struck Joe’s left thumb, and the six shooter dropped again. We all thought Joe would run then for sure, because we couldn’t see how he could ever cock his gun to keep up the fight. He stooped over, as cool as you please, grabbed his gun in his right hand and cocked it by rubbing it downward against his leg.

“When the two men had used up all the cartridges and the fight was over, the Kid staggered away. He had lost. Four of Joe’s six bullets had hit him . . .” [2]

 SOURCES:

[1] Cooper, Courtney Ryley, The Saturday Evening Post, December 3, 1927, p. 109.
[2] Colorado Daily Chieftan, March 2, 1895.
HAUNTED CREEDE: Special thanks to Kandra Payne, author of Haunted Creede, who made me aware of this article in The Saturday Evening Post.









Joe Palmer and the Louisiana Kid:
November 9, 2016










Joe Palmer and the Louisiana Kid: pages 212-213, 220, 245.





"My last piece of advice to the degenerate slot player who thinks he can beat the one-armed bandit consists of four little words: ‘It can't be done.’"
—John Scarne



 





February 13, 2021

John T. Waller, early bunko partner of Soapy Smith

John T. Waller and Jeff R. Smith
Las Vegas, New Mexico
Daily Gazette
November 8, 1881

(Click image to enlarge)





 
 
 
OHN WALLER
Early bunco partner of Soapy Smith

New research on confidence man John T. Waller leads to new information on Soapy Smith. This is the first clue that Soapy operated in New Mexico. 
 
John T. Waller was one of the few known confidence men who is believed to have retired comfortably wealthy and is not known to have spent much time in jail. The last letter within Soapy's circle of friends and associates states that Waller had moved to Key West, Florida where he successfully operated short cons. Around 1895, according to his obituary, he moved to Dade City, Florida and invested his money in property and perhaps keeping a link to his past, he also invested in several traveling circuses. He still held a sizable estate upon his death in 1915 at age 65. [1]
     According to the 1900 census, Waller was born in August 1850 in Ohio. According to his obituary Waller was an early settler in eastern Pasco County, Florida, created in June 1887, matching his arrival there. As of now, the earliest known connection between Soapy and John Waller was in New Mexico territory, just shy of fours months after the shooting death of Billy the Kid. On November 7, 1881 confidence men Soapy Smith and John T. Waller arrive in Las Vegas, New Mexico. It is certain that the two buncos worked the town for a tidy profit.
 
LAS VEGAS, NEW MEXICO
1882
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

(Click image to enlarge)
 
John Waller gives his residence as "Denver," and Soapy gives his as "Fort Worth, Texas." Eight days later, on November 15, 1881 both gentlemen register at the Exchange Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
 
Santa Fe Daily
Santa Fe, New Mexico
November 16, 1881
 
(Click image to enlarge)
 
The two newspaper clippings are new but the existence of con man John T. Waller is not new. Up until now, it was known that Soapy and he most likely were close friends, but there was no evidence, until now, that the two operated swindles together. Though it was assumed that Waller and Soapy had a history working together, the two clippings predate what was known.
     
 
The Exchange Hotel
Santa Fe, New Mexico
circa 1890
(Soapy stayed here)

(Click image to enlarge)
 
Previously, the earliest date was December 24, 1881 when Soapy received a letter from John Waller in Tombstone, Arizona, using stationary from Nellie Cashman's Russ House.

Friend Jeff
      I received your card. I shall not stop in El Paso. You never said what you had been doing. Can you not take time to write a letter and give me some news. I am afraid that you will get busted before you get home. If so send me word [–] as long as I have a dollar you can have half of it. I am doing a good business here. I sold $82.75 yesterday. I took in $43.50 last night and it was so cold that I came near freezing. I shall only stay here 2 or three days longer. I got in here last Wednesday. I saw Taylor & his girl on the stage that day going out. I wish you a Merry Christmas & a happy New Year. Address Colorado City, Texas.

Yours truly,
John T. Waller [2]

Below is a copy of the letter.
 


(Click image to enlarge)
 
 
     On July 5, 1883, a letter to Soapy (in Denver) from C. C. Lamos of Chicago, head of a retail and supply company from which Soapy purchased cheap watches for use in various swindles.

Friend Smith
      Yours came to hand. And I must say I had given you up as gone. I had asked several old boys and they think you are an “angel from Colorado.” Some one said the other day that the Kid died in Colorado. John Waller is doing big work in Montana. I sent him two lots the 3rd. He was in Deer Lodge, Montana, and sent him a big freight order to Portland, Oregon. John has made some big money since he left Chicago.
      Well Jeff I sent catalogs … but you can’t tell much about them. Anything you want let me know and I will make the price all o.k. you know that.
      Hoping you are doing well and catching on good.

I am yours only
C. C. Lamos
Fair lists are not ready yet. [3]

Lamos supplied gambling equipment (known as sporting goods) and spurious personal items such as jewelry and watches for use by “cheap John” men. This letter shows that Soapy had become a well-liked, repeat customer. It also shows that confidence man John Waller was also a well-respected member of the bunco fraternity. The last comment about “Fair lists” refers to schedule dates for state and county fairs throughout the country, vital information for an ambitious traveling bunco man. It probably cost a sizable amount. That this list was important to Soapy indicates that he was not blindly traveling the west but rather to targeted locations.
     Lamos next wrote to Soapy in Denver on December 4, 1883, with an apology and a mention of John Waller.

Friend Jeff
      Am dam [sic] sorry the watches did not pan out all ok.… You must always send them back at my expense as I hate like the duce [sic] to have any of the old boys kick on me. I had rather pay the difference myself. 6 oz white watches nice ones 4.25 each, is the best anyone can do. They are nice ones. Just got in a fine lot today. The Silver watches I have just [illegible] up to the Waltham agency here and will see what they say.
      He sends this reply and you can’t get any made I don’t think this season as they are very busy at the factory for holidays. [John] Waller is still in Oregon doing well as usual he is making big money this year. Wishing you the best of good luck.

I am yours only
Lamos [4]
 
C. C. Lamos writes a response letter to Soapy, on October 20, 1884, mentioning Waller.

Friend Smith
      I got an order today from Waller, was a little surprised to see him in Texas. I have written to Balding [—] also to Wilkinson Hq [Headquarters], and other parties for them to send you their bottom cash prices on roller skates and guess they will attend to it at once.
      Am glad to hear you are still on earth, and catching on. I suppose Waller is worth from 25 to 30,000 by this time and we shall hear of him starting a Bank one of these days.
      I should think Denver was a good place for business and it would be a fine town to stick to. Let me hear from you at any time, whether you want goods in our line or not.

Tom Lamos [5]
 
     A letter from John Taylor in Los Angeles, dated January 25, 1887, arrived in Denver, with a mention of Waller.

Friend Jeff
      I received your letter this morning and was glad to hear from you. I went to a sale yesterday and worked the shells and I turned a party for twenty dollars. There was another party there and they win $90 from a sucker and he caused a great fuss. … There is three or four shell mobs here working besides the body backed [by “protection”]. It is desperate to think it will last very long as the papers are turning loss on them. I have not received a letter from John Waller…. I will now close with my regards to all the boys. I hear from Tom Murphy [that he] was here in Los Angeles last year. I hope these few lines find you and your wife in good health.

From your friend,
John Taylor [6]

Taylor spoke a little too soon about not receiving a letter from Waller. He received Soapy's letter, replied, and enclosed a letter to forward to Taylor. Waller had been traveling the country but had settled in Key West, Florida. Waller and his gang were reported doing well on the island, taking about $300 a night from short cons. In the letter, Waller invited Taylor to Key West, and if he did, Waller would set up a meeting with the marshal so that Taylor could operate. [7] Taylor declined the invitation as he was repenting his ways, turning to religion.
     The known mentions of John T. Waller and his operations end soon after he relocated to Florida. He died in 1915, age 65 with a "sizable estate."
 
John T. Waller's obituary and transcription.
 
John T. Waller's obituary
The Dade City Banner
June 4, 1915

 (Click image to enlarge)

OLD CITIZEN FOUND DEAD IN HIS HOME
Body of John T. Waller Found Dead In His Home Last Sunday

      Mr. John Waller, sixty - six years old, was found dead at his home south of town last Sunday morning, May 30th, by sons of Mr. C. Brunt.
      The boys had called to see about some goats and after knocking on the door and receiving no answer, entered the house to find Mr. Waller lying dead upon the floor. From all appearances the body had been lifeless for several days and decomposition had set in.
      Mr. Waller came here twenty odd years ago and bought valuable property, much of which he still retained up to the time of his death. He owned eleven hundred acres of land near Pasadena, including three orange groves.
      He also had an interest in several traveling carnivals, having a partner said to be a French Count, who looked after these but who is now reported to be sick in a hospital in Oklahoma.
     No funeral services were held. The interment was in Dade City cemetery. The deceased leaves she that was Mrs. Waller, now divorced, and a married daughter, who reside at Pasadena, Cal.

The exact date of death can only be stated as, "a few days previous to May 30, 1915," as Waller was found dead on May 30, 1915, but “from all appearances the body had been lifeless for several days and decomposition had set in.” 
 

Waller's grave marker
Dade City Cemetery
 Pasco County, Florida, USA

Grave marker inscription:

TO
JOHN T. WALLER
Found sleeping at
Pasadena, Fla.
MAY 30, 1915
___
In memory of
His honor and
Character
From his friend
C. BALDASSARRE

 


SOURCES:
Find-A-Grave, profile for John T. Waller
[1] Dade City Banner 06/04/1915.
[2]: Ltr fr John T. Waller to Jeff R. Smith II, 12/24/1882. Geri Murphy col. The name Taylor in the letter may be that of John Taylor.
[3]: Ltr fr C. C. Lamos to Jeff R. Smith II, 07/05/1883. Jefferson R. “Little Randy” Smith col.
[4]: Ltr fr C. C. Lamos to Jeff R. Smith II, 12/04/1883. Jefferson R. “Little Randy” Smith col.
[5]: Hand-written Ltr on company stationary fr Tom Lamos of Lamos & Company to Jeff R. Smith II, 10/20/1884. Jefferson R. “Little Randy” Smith col.
[6]: Ltr fr John Taylor to Jeff R. Smith II 01/25/1887. Jefferson R. “Little Randy” Smith col.
[7]: Ltr fr John Waller to John Taylor 01/23/1887, Geri Murphy col.












John T. Waller
Sept 25, 2009










John T. Waller: pages 40, 42-43, 110-111, 137-38.





"One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds."
— Dan Bennett