September 17, 2021

Artifact #86: Soapy Smith's son contacts the Sourdough Reunion, 1951

First response from the Sourdough Association
to Jefferson R. Smith from Clara Johnson
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)




  
 
 
lease try to attend and thus forward the spirit of the Sourdough."
 
Soapy Smith's son contacts the Sourdough Reunion, 1951


     Seventy years ago, at some date previous to February 15, 1951, Soapy Smith's son, sixty-five year old Jefferson Randolph Smith III wrote to someone about the upcoming Twentieth Annual Convention of the International Sourdough Reunion to be held in San Francisco on August 16-19, 1951. Jefferson was living at 2341 Portland Street in Los Angeles. Since 1951 the house was torn down and an apartment building erected. 
     A "Chilcoot Tram" Hawks forwarded Jeff's letter to Alaska Weekly reporter Lulu Fairbanks. Lulu forwarded the letter to Clara Johnson, secretary of the Sourdough-Oakland Sourdough Association in Oakland, California who typed a response to Jefferson on February 15, 1951.

Envelope to first response letter
to Jefferson R. Smith from Clara Johnson
Postmarked February 17, 1951
no legible markings on the rear of the envelope
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)

Oakland, California
February 15, 1951
 
Jeff R. Smith
2341 Portland Street
Los Angeles 7
California
 
Dear Mr. Smith:
 
     News of your interest in the Sourdough Convention to be held in San Francisco, August 16-19 has reached me through Lulu Fairbanks, ALASKA WEEKLY reporter, who received it from "Chilcoot Tram" Hawks.
 
     At the present time, our plans are only in the making, but as soon as printed information is available we will send it on to you.
 
     Please try to attend and thus forward the spirit of the Sourdough.
 
Very sincerely
Clara Johnson - secy.
San Francisco - Oakland
Sourdough Association
 
     Since a very young age Jefferson had written to many people who knew his father, seeking to learn as much as he could, considering he was only nine years old when his father was shot and killed in Skagway, Alaska, July 8, 1898. Over the decades he had the pleasure of meeting people who had personally known his father so it is likely he wished to attend the Sourdough convention in hopes of meeting more individuals who knew, or had met his father. I can't help but wonder if he considered that he might run into some victims of his father's gambling games and swindles.
 
Second response letter - official invite
To Jefferson R. Smith, from C. O. Sivertsen
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)
 
     Five months later, on July 17, 1951, an official printed "cordial invitation" brochure from the Alaska-Yukon Sourdough Association located in San Francisco was sent out to Jefferson. Chairman C. O. Sivertsen wrote the invitation, including the following statement of inevitability.
 
     We SOURDOUGHS are decreasing each year, so we would like to have you all make and extra effort to MUSH ON to SAN FRANCISCO and meet those OLD FRIENDS of YEARS AGO, who are dear to all of us, and bring back fond memories of the happy days spent in the Far North. 

     On the inside and rear of the brochure are drawings and photographs of San Francisco sites attendees may wish to visit.
     Unfortunately, I was unable to find out if Jefferson attended the reunion convention. I tried locating records of attendees but had no success.
 
Envelope to second response letter - official invite
Postmarked July 17, 1951
no legible markings on the rear of the envelope
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)
 
 
Inside portion of brochure
drawings of San Francisco sites
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)
 
 
Rear and front portion of brochure
Photographs of San Francisco
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)
 







 









Jefferson Randolph Smith III
 
Aug 19, 2021









Jefferson Randolph Smith III: pages 7, 107-08, 167, 417-18, 546, 584, 587-89.





"No dog can go as fast as the money you bet on him."
—Bud Flanagan








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