Sunday, August 16, 2015

Samuel Soupcoff, Engineer and World Traveler

I posted earlier about two of Morris and Mollie Soupcoff's children who made national headlines--Anna "Beautiful Jewess" Soupcoff and Jacob "Insurance Fraud, So Change My Name" Soupcoff Lorenz.  Another of their children regularly appeared in newspaper articles--but for much better reasons.  He was a mining engineer who worked on some of the largest projects in the Western United States.
Samuel Soupcoff (from his obituary)

Samuel Magee Soupcoff was born on April 6, 1884 in the Russian Empire.  He came with his family to Pittsburgh when he was about two years old.

In 1903, he was listed as entering the Preparatory School of Allegheny College.  I contacted Allegheny College to see if they had information on him (mostly hoping for a place of birth) and was informed that:
At the time Samuel Soupcoff came to Allegheny's Preparatory School it was September 15, 1903, his address at the time was 1612 Center Ave, Pittsburg, PA, he was 18, and had no church affiliation.  His listed Parent/Guardian was Morris Soupcoff.  He is listed as being here through the Spring Term of 1905, with his fees being mostly $24.50 / term (an extra $2.50 included for Chemistry lab fees).  We have no record of him attending the college proper

He studied in the Colorado School of Mines, graduating with a degree in Mining Engineering in 1910, and then began a career that took him all across the Western US (and into Canada) running various projects.

After graduating, he went to work for a company in Wyoming:
Colorado Mines Magazine, March 1911

He seems to have started his career off quickly, moving from "a Burleigh drill" to being part of the surveying corps because of his position.  This alumni blurb also notes that he is soon to be married.

From Colorado Mines Magazine, August 1911
Colorado Mines Magazine, 1911
In August of 1911's edition of the Mines Magazine, Samuel and some friends are mentioned in their class notes when he saved himself and 6 women by constructing a raft during a forest fire in Porcupine (Ontario, Canada).  He was to move shortly to Alaska (after visiting his Pittsburgh family).

In 1917, Samuel is listed as living working as a mining Engineer in Seward, Alaska.
Quarterly of the Colorado School of Mines, 1917
In a November 1912 blurb, "Sammy Soupcoff" is said to have had a baby in Denver in early October.  This baby did not live very long and died on November 23 of that year.

 In 1919, Samuel stated that he was going to Mexico in between jobs in Salt Lake City.
Colorado Mines Magazine, January 1919
He also (revealed by a ship manifest) went to Venezuela.  On the way home, he lied again stating that he had been born in Pittsburgh (although he was a US Citizen by virtue of his father's naturalization).
Ship Manifest; Samuel Soupcoff, October 1919
Upon his return, he began working in Salt Lake City again.

1920 Boston Post; Sam Soupcoff Running Western Utah Copper Company Mines

By the 1920 census, Samuel (who claimed he and his parents had been born in Pennsylvania) was living with his wife Margaret and mother-in-law Mary Normile in Salt Lake City.
1920 United States Census; Samuel Soupcoff & Family; Salt Lake City (lines 59-61)
Samuel was a mining engineer working in the smelting industry.  He stayed in Salt Lake City until 1930, when he found a new job in New York where he would be working with a "New York investment banking and brokerage firm.":
Ogdan (Utah) Standard Examiner; July 26, 1930
Only two months later, the same newspaper had sad news:
Samuel Soupcoff died of a heart attack in Long Island, New York, aged only 46.
Colorado Mines Magazine
His alma mater published a very nice obituary--which also mention his son Tom.

Mollie Soupcoff, Samuel's mother, died only three days later.  Their obituaries are one after the other in Pittsburgh's Jewish Criterion.
Jewish Criterion, October 3, 1930, Pittsburgh
His death also made front-page news in Salt Lake City:
Salt Lake City Tribune; September 21, 1930
Samuel Soupcoff was buried in West View Cemetery in Pittsburgh, where many of his siblings would later be buried as well.

1 comment:

  1. Quite a family. Thanks for sharing the twists and turns of their must have been an adventure for you to uncover all this info!