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 Robert Thompson Smith

Robert Thompson Smith

Death 8 Sep 1880
Utah, USA
Burial Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Plot E_33_3
Memorial ID 152677 · View Source
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The Salt Lake Daily Tribune
Thursday, September 9, 1880
page four


The Tragedy at the Depot Yesterday Morning

Dr. Snedaker Shot and Instantly Killed

Death of R. T. Smith at 9:15 Last Evening

Conflicting Stories as to the Origin of the Affair

Probably Important Correspondence at Present Secret

The terrible tragedy which yesterday threw the city into an excitemet such as it has not experienced for months past, rested all the day on the people like a pall and effectually shut out all other topics of conversation and indeed all interest in else save the particulars which attend the death of one man certainly and the death of another without doubt. Dr. Snedaker is gone and he whose bullet dispatched his soul to the great hereafter lies in a condition which forbids any, the smallest hope of his recovery.


There are four parties implicated in the trouble. Of course Dr. Snedaker and Mr. R. T. Smikth are two of these. The other two are of the family of Daniel Davidson and are Mr. Davidson himself and his daughter. Dr. Snedaker has been in this city for about two years, coming to Salt Lake in 1879. His school of medicine was that of the Eclectics and he had built up a considerable practice in this city.

Mr. R. T. Smith has been widely known throughout the Territory as a miner and mine operator. He was formerly connected with the Stormont mine, at Silver Reef, and was one of the owners of the same when it was sold to the company now working the property. He is about forty-three years old, and was a splendid specimen of vigorous manhood, till the work of yesterday laid him on a bed helpless.

Mr. Daniel Davidson is a man on the other side of sixty, is very wealthy and is known as the possessor of the largest flock of sheep in Utah. His sheep number 48,000 head, and from this and other sources he has an income far up in the thousands. Both he and Smith are of Scotch (sic) origin.

Davidson's daughter Agnes, who unfortunately must figure in the sad affair, is a young lady of about twenty years. Her connection with the events of yesteray will appear at the proper time.


About the time of his arrival in Utah Dr. Snedaker became acquainted with Mr. Davidson and became the physician of his family. He had frequent meetings with Mr. Davidson, until the friendship became very close, and in the end the intimacy became so marked that Davidson furnished Snedaker with pecuniary means and in other ways demonstrated his friendship. This at least is the story of Mr. Davidson's friends. Mr. Davidson's good feeling increased until he became impressed with the belief that Dr. Snedaker was using his professional relations to foul and despicable ends. When he came to believe this, of course the friendship ceased and was supplanted by a deep hatred.


Dr. Snedaker is dead and cannot speak; but fortunately there are many to whom he has told in detail the particulars of his relations with the family of Mr. Davidson.

Miss Agnes Davidson, the daughter of Mr. Davidson and the affianced of Mr. Smith. She was engaged to be married to Smith in a short time, and this fact will explain how he came to be mixed up in the affair. Agnes' story, as told by her father: She was shortly to marry Mr. Smith, and before doing so told him: Dr. Snedaker has been our family physician, and I trusted him because he was an aged man and a man of family. Sometime since he called me up to his office, saying that I must take some medicine. I went, and in his office he drugged me and then ravished me. Of course I was innocent, but I thought you ought to know before I married you.

Another story is that Miss Davidson sought treatment, unknown to her father, who was not happy when he learned of the 'secret' doctor visits.

A third story is that Davidson owed the doctor for services, but refused to pay the outstanding bill, and insinuated some violence to keep the doctor at bay.

A confrontation ensued between Smith and Snedaker a week before the shooting.

So threatened, Dr. Snedaker resolved to go with his brother to Cottonwood, and was poised to take the train when the shooting exchange occurred at the train depot. Although Smith was shot by Snedaker first, it was his return fire that killed the doctor instantly, while Smith suffered a few hours before his death.




  • Imported from: UT State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 152677
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Thompson Smith (unknown–8 Sep 1880), Find A Grave Memorial no. 152677, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Utah State Historical Society (contributor 4) .