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Alias Soapy Smith

Letters From Cornucopia.


The following items appeared in the Daily Silver State, published in Winnemucca, Nevada, under the standard heading, "Letter from Cornucopia." The correspondent in each case was "S.M.H."

Here are excerpts from those letters.


January 17, 1876

I will state that Woodruff & Ennor have opened the Mine Saloon in upper town, nearly opposite the Leopard dump, the same being under the management of Cap. Pierce, with J. M. Clark, of Carlin, whilom of Cy. Tolman's saloon, behind the bar; and notwithstanding his sixty-one years he thinks he can sell good whisky as smilingly as anybody. Winnemuccans when arriving here thirsty will do well to give him a call. The Blonger Bros., Sam and Lew, who keep The Palace and patronize the State, are fixtures here and can be relied upon for square drinks; and for square meals, W. H. Pierce on the Divide cannot be excelled.

NOTE: In the 1875 Nevada census, W. H. Pierce was listed as the head of the household that included Sam and Lou Blonger.


February 25, 1876

(In a serial recitation of the occupants of Main Street:)
But as we are not hungry, next we will go to Judge Bassitt's office, "mine got! mine got! who can tell me what the judgment of the Court or the verdict of the jury is going to be." Above the Justice's office is The Palace. Lew and Sam Blonger keep up their reputation, and why, because they are patrons of the State.


March 4, 1876

In the first place, I mention one grand event, that is the arrival of Hon. J. O. Ivory Esq. and Mr. Robert Hubbs, of the committee to locate the Owyhee bridge, veni vidi vici. The bridge is located at a feasible point on the Owyhee, below Power's place, a good site. All are now anxious that the works of the committee will meet its fruition and reward. When the honorable committee left us the Judge had two babies in his possession, which he had donated to him by Sam and Lew Blonger of The Palace. Adious, Judge; God bless you.
John Barrett is selling wood at $20 per cord. Judge Bassett is sending Chinamen to jail at Elko. Sam and Lew Blonger, at The Palace, are selling whisky and cigars as usual at two bits per drink. Jack Small now smiles upon us, but as yet there is no game for him. The Blue Jacket has lots of bullion snowed in at Bull Run. Smith Van Drillen will get it out in a few days.


March 16, 1876

Day before yesterday there was a large and rich strike in the Leopard. Those that know, say it is very rich. Within the last few days there has been a very rich development in the Texas mine, situated in the Grand Junction district. This district lies east of Aurora and north of Tuscarora, between the latter and Cornucopia district. The claim is owned by Mr. Madden, Mr. Culver, Sam Blonger, and others. It is exceedingly rich. Pieces of ore from the mine assay way up in the thousands. In fact, the mineral belt that runs through this section of country is wondrously rich with that material which gladdens the human heart. Most of the mines in that range, and in the four districts to wit: Cornucopia, Grand Junction, Tuscarora, and Aurora, pay from the top right along. Look at the Leopard. The old mill commence crushing in December, 1874, and I obtain entries made in Wells, Fargo & Co.'s books at his place that since then they have shipped from that mine the sum of $525,018.14, and have from this paid $125,000 in dividends; have never levied and assessment; lost one mill by fire; and built a new one; and in most every instance worked at great disadvantage being so far from the railroad. Notwithstanding all this, what other mine can say the same. Our future prospects are very cheering.


April 24, 1876

Cornucopia is still here, but we do not know whether the outside world is living or not. Looking around the town in the morning after getting your eyes opened, on the street you see Judge Bassett - for what I do not know. Savage swears like a trooper in Flanders. The Blonger boys at The Palace say they never saw such times. Hogle shook the mud off his feet, and left for Palisade; and A. A. Goff, his Lieutenant, says it is terrible to sell bacon and beans for cash. Meacham says there is not half the mail received that he would like to distribute to his many friends. Truett says the sale of goods is dull. Saloon keepers refuse liquids without money in sight on the bar; so many go dry, unless they go to the creek, and take snow water which flows down our main street. Fordham does not care, he has plenty of grub left, and is waiting for July or August.




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