Jefferson Randolph Smith – Organizer Of Facal Gambling In The Wild West

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March 3, 2022
9 minutes


The crime does not always push thirst for profit. For some, the deception turns into a lifestyle – euphoria from a successful scam becomes a drug. I don’t want to get rid of this dependency. Before jefferson randolph smith, many doors were opened. He preferred the way outside the law, azart and deception. The wild west began with texas, and ended in alaska. Together with his gang, a furist brought a rustle in fort worth, denver, creida and scarway.

Imphezhefferson randolph smith
nicknamesoap smith and the king of frontier screw
date of birthnovember 2, 1860
place of birthcutting county, georgia, usa
date of deathjuly 8, 1898
a place of deathskagway, alaska, usa


Smith was born in a wealthy family. Grandfather had its own plantation, and his father worked as a lawyer. After the civil war, the family went bankrupt. In an attempt to start a business from scratch, she moved to texas in 1876.

In the round-rock smith trained in various tricks and focus. Already then he began to deceive people with the help of cards. 1 year after moving the young man lost his mother. In 1878, jefferson watched the exection of the criminal sam bass. After that, he decided to leave the house in search of personal happiness.

First gang

Smith moved to fort worth – one of the 5 major cities in texas. Here he organized a gang of thieves and fake persons. The authority on the streets rapidly grew up, and by 22 years, smith began to call the frontira’s chairs king. Jack vermillion and ed burns joined the gang – famous people in the wild west.

Scammers began to travel around the cities. Quick and short games used for profit:

  • Thrust.
  • Three-card monte.
  • Big mitt – poker falley games.

Soap scam

In the late 1870s, randolph came up with a new large-scale scaper:

  1. He went to a busy street.
  2. Exhibited a showcase with soap. Sevel pieces with the audience he wrapped in a bill with a denomination from $ 1 to $ 100.
  3. After each product packaged in paper and stirred.
  4. Spectators offered to buy 1 piece of soap for $ 1.
  5. When the goods remained less than half, smith said that $ 100 is still in the game. Those surrounding with a greater hunt took part.
  6. When several pieces remained, the aution began.
  7. The chain always knew where $ 100 was located, so if necessary, he filed a signal to the accomplice – he did the biggest bet and won the prize.

Once randolf was arrested, but the offer in the site forgot, as the name of the criminal and wrote "soap".

Empire in denver

In 1879, randolp stopped rolling through cities. The size of the gang increased to such scales that too much money went on regular trips. Theten the chain stopped in denver, colorado.

Jefferson randolph smith with a historic photo

Soap smith began to immediately feed the local police and politicians. He quickly ascended the criminal throne, taking control of all the small gangs on the streets and illegal gambling. Very soon, denver media raised hype – journalists accused smith in the prosperity of corruption.

In 1888, a chain ​​opened the casino the tivoli club. Visitors met the sign with the inscription on latin: caveat emptor ("let the buyer beware"). A little later, smith’s brother joined him and began to manage the local store with cigars. The point served as a cover for underground gambling.

Jefferson earned on fake lotteries, sale of fake hours and shares of non-existent enterprises.

Denver mired in corruption. Even if several policemen refused to take a bribe, they were afraid to arrest smith. Santa lawyers could quickly rescue a fur driver from prison, and officers would dismiss for the creation of inconveniences.

In 1889, the mayor lost the support of the voter and freed the chair. Then the media again fell on the corruption and communication of the police with the mafia, but smith did not put forward official accusations. He left the city in 1892 – a new government began against gambling. Casino the tivoli club had to sell.

New house

Next stop – creed, colorado. Mining city met a chance with open arms. Warm welcome helped to provide curtains from denver. They are in the midst of the large owners of real estate on the side of smith, and the latter rented land on favorable terms.

To the team joined william sidney light – he got the role of a sheriff’s deputy in creid. By this time, the gang fully controlled life in the city.

Smith invested money in the casino again. Orleans club turned out to be such a popular place that there were queues every day. Then, for the sake of entertainment, randolf acquired petsense mummy mcgynti – for 10 cents it was possible to look at the exhibit closer. Visitors in the queue also offered to experience luck in a threecaded monte right outside.

After losing, people often left dissatisfied – suspected that they were inflated. If someone from them began to be brought, smith quickly expelled the ill-wisher from the city. To strengthen influence, the chain distributed money to the poor, built churches and engaged in another charity.

Orleans club burned down june 5, 1892.

Return to denver

In 1892, a majority of the business quarter in creida suffered because of the fire. By this time, a rumor came to smith about the completion of reforms in denver. He returned to the city to start another business.

A new enterprise specialized in the sale of preferential tickets for the train. Passers-by promised huge discounts. That’s just when they reached the ticket office, the seller did not turn out to be in place. The victim was held in different ways and offered to bet in a gambling game.
Smith became so self-confident that fears gave public interviews. In one of them, he confessed to fraud and called his activity more noble, the work of the middle hand policy.

In 1894, the post of governor colorado occupied davis hanson wate. As part of anti-corruption reforms, he fired three officials of denver. Then the local authorities had resistance. Colleagues on the workshop were frightened by dismissal and united in coalition. Smith took the side of denver officials and acted as a depeuty sheriff.

"Soy knew also the tricks, but he also understood that it was good for him, and did not true to hold people like a bet and i, who know him well," – wyett berry stepp erp about jeffersone.

The governor gathered a militia at the boundaries of the city, but the bandits had alady managed to take the central tower of the city hall. Resistance then turned out to be two calling cable, sniper rifle and dynamite. Fortunately, wait refused to take the city by force.

Court colorado ruled that the governor has the legal right to change officials in denver. However, for attracting militia and the beginning of a military confrontation, he received a reprimand. The conflict ended with the closure of gambling hoeses, salunoes and brothels. Smith, being an assistant sheriff, took advantage of the situation. He made a number of false arrests. Behind the grille hit the deceived players – they were offered freedom in exchange for silence.

Impact bulk smith’s eyes. Together with his brother, he scored a manager of one of the salunov. Local authorities refused to protect bandits. The young brother fell behind the bars, but the leader managed to escape.

In search of the heads smith offered a gang service to the president of mexico porfirio dista. The sinister was so confident in the success that even organized a military registration and enlistment office for a set of recruits, but the itea failed.

Golden fever

In the late 1890s, smith moved to alaska. In 1897, the gold fever began on klondike. Tens of thousands of adventurers headed in skagway and daia.

Soaping smith took up the old. He began to spend the game in a three-fold monte, but this time the authorities did not immediately go on the gang. Scherist driven and he did not return to alaska for almost a year.

In january 1898, smith came to the skagway city to establish his third empire. The gangster wondered by the support of the depeuty marshal and paid him a salary. For the deception of the inhabitants, a chain opened a telegraph station, but the wires did not leave on the walls.

Money from customers lured not only by sending false posts, but also the underground poker game. Due to swelling, the victims had no chance of winning.

The telegraph line has reached the city of scarway only in 1901.

In march 1898, salon jeff appeared. Smiths parlor. He became a new office for a furist, and for local residents – an unofficial counterday.

Members of the gang before salon jeff. Smiths parlor

Jefferson’s wards began to penetrate different areas of activity. They became reports, priests and handymen. Always friendly swells trid to get acquainted with new settlers. The main goal of friendship is to find the best way to pick up money. If the newcomer has resisted and possessed certain qualities, he was offered to join the gang.

During the spanish-american war in 1898, smith turned the gang to the army of volunteers, and prescribed himself as captain. He turned to 25 us president william mckinley and received an official permission – the influence of a fur officer in the city of scarway increased.


Members of the gang never stopped, especially if a large naval. John douglas stewart became the last victim. He arrived in skagway wort a gold bag worth $ 2,700 – today $ 89 136. Using the game in a three-fold monte, fraudsters quickly won most of money. When the victim did not want to pay, the gangsters grabbed his bag and ran away.

The city committee demanded to return the money. Smith refused, referring to an honest game. The next day, the rally began in skagway. A sweater went to the protestsers with a rifle. One of the four guards blocked the path to the rally – began a shootout.
Smith got three bullets – in the left leg, hand and heart. Eyewitneses argue that before the last shot, the scatter shouted:

"My god, do not shoot!"

Tomb of soap smith

Jefferson buried a few yards from the city cemetery. Three gang members who took the bag with gold, imprisoned.

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