Friday, April 4, 2014


Historical integrity at stake

Special Denver History Convention trip:
Funds estimate: $1,500

I need help obtaining the necessary funds so that I can personally attend the Wild West History Association Roundup (annual convention), July 22-27, 2014. The reason is that Cathy Spude, author of "That Fiend In Hell": Soapy Smith In Legend, will be giving a presentation on Soapy Smith. This is not a good thing for the family and friends of Soapy. Her presentation will be a continuation of her ongoing mission to convince the historical community that the history of Soapy is mostly fiction, and that he was "nothing more than a small-time crook," a point she brings up exactly 25-times in her book.

Because Mrs. Spude has an academic degree most people are prone to automatically assume she is correct, and thus agree with her. This is most likely what happened when the producers of the TV show, Mysteries At The Museum, used her book as the source on Soapy Smith. It is a perfect example of the harm Mrs. Spude has been able to bring to bear on Soapy's history. Obviously they did not realize that she has personal motivation in seeing the interest in him decline. I have known Mrs. Spude for about a decade. I know from out many conversations that one of her ambitions is to see a rise in historical interest for J. M. Tanner, one of the vigilantes in Skagway, Alaska who helped capture the Soap Gang after being appointed a Deputy U.S. Marshal after Soapy was killed. Mrs. Spude feels Tanner is not nearly as famous as he should be. Over the years, she has admitted to me, on more than one occasion, that "Soapy is in the way" of Tanner's historical fame. I am convinced that she has made a mission of convincing the historical community, and the public, that Soapy's life is mostly fiction, and that he was "nothing more than a small time crook." If she can dismantle Soapy's notoriety and place on the historical ladder of fame, Tanner will somehow replace him in interest and recognition.

Please donate

Is it really that important?

I cannot stress how extremely important it is that I personally attend the convention in Denver, in order to counter Mrs. Spude's mistakes, omissions, misinterpretations, misstatements, whether they be mistakes or intentional fabrications. I am the key person who can rebuttal and disprove her claims. It is largely my book and my personal research that Mrs. Spude assails, and if I'm not there in Denver, she will most certainly increase the magnitude of her attacks.  It is imperative for me to be there, as her presentation will be covered by Colorado media, historical societies, and the interested public. The magnitude of her carnage could be nation-wide, depending on the reach of the media. If successful, she could very well remove Soapy as a subject of historical interest in Denver and Colorado. After her delivery there will be the usual public question and answer period, and that is when I can offer a counter to her misrepresentations. Obviously, I won't be able to cover all my points in the few moments I will be allotted, but at that time I will also make it known to all, that I have a display table of artifacts, photographs, and research materials, where I can continue my rebuttal, and give my own presentation, allowing the members of the press, the historical societies, and the public, a view into the real man known as "Soapy."

Ad for the Roundup

Why is Denver so important?

One might ask, why is this one convention in Denver so important? What happens when she gives another presentation in another state? Does Jeff think he needs to attend every talk Mrs. Spude's gives on Soapy? Naturally, I have talked with people who have read only Mrs. Spude's book, as well as read both her book, and mine (Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel). Those who have only read her book assume it is accurate, however, thus far, I have not met one person who has read both mine and her book, and still believed her book to be very accurate. Denver, Colorado is a special case as it is where Soapy gained his fame. He was a political and criminal power for as long as 16-years. Amazingly, no bookstores in Denver carry my book. This is largely due to the fact that I signed a contract with a smaller publishing company and as a regular practice, most bookstores carry books put out by the large firms. This is not a good thing, but it is not devastating. Devastating would be having Mrs. Spude convince Denver and the world that Soapy's history is not worth academic interest. Everyone knows that first-impressions make the biggest impact, and for the majority of Denver, her presentation will be just that.

My plan:
  • Attend the Wild West History Association, where Cathy Spude is speaking on Soapy.
  • Rent a table to display artifacts, perform some magic/con games as "Soapy." All-the-while educating the attending public and officials on the true, well-sourced Soapy. It is here in which I will be able to "set the record straight" with the press, Denver, and Colorado, especially if the chance to express my views is not given time during Mrs. Spude's presentation.
  • I will attend Cathy's presentation, which will be covered by the media and Colorado historical societies. I will present proof to any false or/and inaccurate statements.
  • Obtain interviews with Denver newspapers and other media.
  • Offer (in advance) to give presentations and display artifacts to the Denver public library, the Colorado Historical Society, etc.
Trip Costs:

I have no interest or plan to profit from this trip. My only goal is one of historical integrity. A big fan of Soapy has offered his services to help, and honestly, I can use all the help I can get, as I do have a major back injury. What-ever funds I am left with, I would like to pay him for his help.

In order to bring the artifacts I will need to drive my vehicle. Gas, hotel, food, table rental, convention costs, etc. I am putting together an expense sheet and will gladly share this with anyone who is interested in donating. I am not ruling out the idea of loans either.

Battling to keep the authentic history relevant has taken its toll, and there is only so much I can do alone. Will you please help?