"Soapy" Smith, infamous bunko man

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 01/29/06 12:15 AM

Hi gang,

I am new on this forum. I wanted to introduce myself, and also introduce my new website on my great grandfather, Jefferson Randolph ("Soapy") Smith, the infamous 19th century con man supreme. Please do visit my site. I think you will find it very informative and amusing.

You can also read about the theory (not held by the Smith family) that Claude Alexander Conlin shot Soapy Smith. visit The Friends of Soapy Smith

Postby Guest » 01/29/06 08:35 AM

Hey Jeff,

Congratulations on a great site! I first read about your great grandfathers exploits in the S4Ss Notes on the 3CM. Your site really gives a lot of great history and insight, and is well worth a visit. I especially like the photo of Soapy as grand marshal of Skagways July 4th parade. That beats all!


Postby Guest » 01/29/06 08:43 AM

Nice to see you here, Jeff....Real nice web...

I have had no luck tracking Soapy in Ft Worth, but I will keep it in mind. Surely, if he had been arrested there, a record would exist. Do you have any specific dates he was there? And any specific arrest dates? If so, I could possibly check some newspaper records from the period...


Postby Guest » 01/29/06 09:51 PM

Even tho I only had time to take a quick look, I found the site very well done and I am definately book marking it for future reading.
One thing, the fact that you emphesise that you will focus on Soapy's bad side, I think, does a disservice to history. If the man did good things he should be noted for them.
Just my two cents worth. Other than that I look forward to immercing myself into this site.


Postby Guest » 02/02/06 01:57 PM

Thank you everyone all for the nice comments on my Soapy Smith website. It is my first attempt, and is built using a template, which limits what I can actually do.

The main purpose of the site is to get the word out that the Smith family is in existance and knows the history of this infamous badman.

To Opie: I have no dates from Fort Worth, regarding Soapy yet. I have some from other gang members who were there, but there is no mention of my great grandfather.

To Gord: I agree with your comments on being a "disservice to history" by not including the good charity works, etc., that Soapy performed, but space was an issue, the second issue had to do with being recognized as an unbiased source for facts on Soapy Smith. I have many past correspondances in which historians accused me of trying to sugar coat the criminal side of Soapy. The website cannot be accused of that in my opinion. My reputation as a legitimate historian is important to me.

All the good and bad marks regarding Soapy will be published in my up coming biography. This is explained on the website as well.

Postby Guest » 02/02/06 02:14 PM

Jeff, you are very right in not trying to show the good side of Soapy. He did not offer his saloons to preachers on Sundays, out of his religious beliefs; it was good business...If he was like most of the real con men I grew up around, he probably did not have too much of a good side...

I will keep my eyes peeled for any mention of Soapy in Texas...


Postby Guest » 02/03/06 02:56 PM

Hi Opie-

Regarding Soapy's saloon on Sunday's: Actually, in Denver, saloons were forced to close on Sunday's when Soapy owned the Tivoli Club. It was Denver's Rev. Tom Uzzell that Soapy helped out the most. Uzzell was non-denominational and that is the church's Soapy helped out in Denver & Creede, Colorado, and then up in Skagway, Alaska

According to an out of town visitor and congregation leader of Uzzell's, they were being given a tour of the lower criminal parts of Denver when Tom Uzzell happen upon Soapy. Tom introduced Soapy to his visitors, as "the most famous con man in the west...and my friend."

Soapy Smith had a very generous side that is well documented. I am not just saying this because I am a relative. I have hundreds of contemporary newspaper accounts and letters from business leaders, friends, gang members, police officers and clergy that tell of his charity to the poor, in Denver and across the nation.

I always tell people, "when Soapy was good, he was very charitable, but when he was bad, murder was not above reproach."

Postby Guest » 02/03/06 03:42 PM

Ah, good story; thanks for that info....

My dad was loved by those who were close to him and knew him, but, of course, those he conned never really got close to him....hehe


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