Showing posts with label Idaho. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Idaho. Show all posts

May 2, 2013

Is this Jeff Smith, our "Soapy?"

A fantasy piece showing Soapy Smith running the
prize package soap sell racket on a city street
(created by Jeff Smith)
(Click image to enlarge)

ne might think that a common name like Jeff Smith would be a researchers nightmare. In using the newspaper archives I do run into numerous Jeff Smith's but seemingly few criminal ones. That does make my search a little easier but none-the-less there are many instances in which I have no provenance that a Jeff Smith mentioned in a newspaper article is our Smith. I give you two examples.


Jeff and Charles Smith were fined yesterday for carrying concealed weapons, the former $25 and the latter $20.
 Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), May 13, 1896

This first one is not really the best example but I decided to keep it in my files along with a clear note that it may not be Soapy Smith. There has been a previous clue that Soapy went to Boise several times, including July 3, 1895 when the Statesman reported a Jeff Smith being arrested, but still, the Jeff Smith mentioned may very well be another bad man of the same name. The name Charles Smith caught my eye. It is simply a guess that this could be Soapy's younger brother, Bascomb Smith, or even gang member, John Bowers, who some historians believe went by the name of Charles at times.


Alleged White Cappers Acquitted.

Special to the Kansas City Times.
Marshall, Mo., Feb. 9.—Jeff Smith, Hary [probably Harry] Hight, Hardin Baily, John Dickerson, John Harbolt and John Simms were tried today for white-capping the McGinnis brothers of this county ten nights since, but were turned loose on account of insufficient evidence. The men who did the deed were masked.
Kansas City Times, February 10, 1895

Once again I want to make sure you understand that this may not be Soapy. Times were tough for him in 1895 but would he have turned to outright masked robbery if he and the boys were desperate? Another interesting "maybe" for the files.

Soapy possibly in Boise, Idaho: April 3, 2013

"The day I stop making mistakes is the day I stop learning."
—Miley Cyrus


1776: France and Spain agree to donate arms to American rebels fighting against the British during the American Revolution.
1853: Franconi’s Hippodrome opens at Broadway and 23rd Street in New York City.
1863: Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson is wounded by his own men in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia. He dies 8 days later.
1865: President Andrew Johnson offers a $100,000 reward for the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
1873: The first legal hanging takes place across from the schoolhouse in Yuma, Arizona Territory.
1875: Isaac “Hanging Judge” Parker arrives in Fort Smith, Arkansas as the new judge.
1885: Good Housekeeping magazine begins publication.
1887: Hannibal W. Goodwin applies for the patent for celluloid photographic film, which later will be used for making movies.
1890: The territory of Oklahoma is created.
1902: A Trip to the Moon, the first science fiction film is released. It was created by magician, George Melies.

April 3, 2013

Soapy Smith arrested in Boise, Idaho 1895

Fantasy rendition of Soapy Smith waking up in jail
(Click image to enlarge)

irst, I would like to apologize for the lack of posts. It is certainly not for lack of content as I am surrounded by literally thousands of stories waiting to be told, most never having been published before. My problem is simple procrastination mixed with a big load of overwhelmingness. The good news is that I have a drive growing within me to get my life together, especially my paper life and by that I mean filing and putting everything where it belongs. I guess you could call it spring cleaning.

Today's post involves a "Jeff Smith" arrested in Boise, Idaho for being drunk and carrying a concealed weapon. There is no certainty that this is our Jeff Smith but the time table is correct. In June 1895 Soapy was traveling around the country, staying on the move, waiting and hoping to hear from his attorney in Denver that a case against him for attempted murder was to be dropped down to a lesser charge. In late June Soapy took on the fists of two St. Louis detectives and came out pretty bruised up. On July 1 he returned to Denver for a court date only to get a needed one week delay and once again he was on the road (Alias Soapy Smith, p. 383). Texas, Mexico, St. Louis and back to other parts of Colorado were on Soapy's agenda, never staying in one location for more than a few days at most. It is known that he traveled to Spokane Falls at least once in 1895 so he could have very well stopped off in Boise, Idaho. Until such a time that there is better provenance the following newspaper article may or may not be talking about our Jeff, but will be filed under the realm of possibility.


Police Magistrate Randall had Jeff Smith before him yesterday on a charge of being drunk and disorderly, using vulgar and obscene language in the presence of women and children and carrying a concealed weapon. Smith was arrested Monday, and when confronted with the multitudinous charges pleaded not guilty. Yesterday he withdrew that plea and substituted a plea of guilty. In view of Smith's inebriation and other considerations, the court touched him up for a very light fine-$28.
Idaho Statesman, July 3, 1895  

"Hi Jeff! Just got my April 2013 edition of 'Wild West' magazine, and I immediately sat down and read your article, 'Soapy Smith's Showdown with the Vigilantes,' from beginning to end. As always when I read your work, I'm totally impressed with your research and just excellent writing. Thank you, and it was fun to revisit the historic tale about your great granddaddy's shootout."
— Roscoe Tarwater Beaumont


1513: Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon lands in what would later be named as the state of Florida.
1776: George Washington receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard College.
1817: Famed Texas Ranger William “Big Foot” Wallace is born. In 1842 Wallace was one of 159 prisoners ordered shot by General Santa Anna. The officer held a raffle of sorts by putting 144 white beans and 16 black ones into a gourd and shot only those who drew a black bean. Wallace survived, dying at age 82 in 1899.
1829: James Carrington patents the coffee mill.
1860: The first Pony Express rider leaves St. Joseph, Missouri towards Sacramento, California. The riders were paid $125 a month and were expected to ride 30 to 70 miles a day with the total ride taking nine days. Despite numerous dangers from Indians and robbers only one mail rider was killed (by Indians) during the Express's 19 months existence.
1861: Cadet George Custer receives three demerits for throwing snowballs near the West Point barracks, New York.
1865: Union forces occupy the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.
1866: Rudolph Eickemeyer and G. Osterheld patent a blocking and shaping machine for hats.
1868: A wood chopping party is attacked by Indians in Rock Creek, Wyoming. One woodcutter is killed.
1882: Outlaw Jesse James, age 34, is shot in the back of the head and killed in his home in St. Joseph, Missouri by Robert Ford for a $5,000 reward.
1885: 2.75 million acres of land in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Dakota Territory are opened for settlement.
1898: An avalanche at Sheep Camp on the Chilkoot Pass, Alaska, kills approximately 70 men.
1910: Mt. McKinley in Alaska, the highest mountain in North America, is successfully climbed.