January 22, 2016

Who are these cute Smith kids - REVEALED

(Click image to enlarge)

ack on May 18, 2010 I posted a couple of photographs from the Mike Moriarty collection. I asked about the kids in one of the photographs (see above) but received no replies.

Fast-forward five years, 8 months:

I received a response from family member Jim Lynch, a great grandson of Soapy Smith's via Soapy's daughter, Mary Eva Smith II.

Hello, Jeff:

You and I are distant relatives as I, too, am a great grandson of Soapy Smith. His daughter, Mary Eva, was my grandmother (my mom’s mom.) We called her “Nana.” You have the attached pic on your website with the words “Who are these cute kids?” They are my Soapy’s grandchildren; Mary Eva’s children; my Aunt Geraldine and Uncle Greg Moriarty. The picture was taken in the back yard of the family’s home on Oakland Ave., in Milwaukee, WI. Aunt Gerl grew up to become a Catholic nun (died 1980), and Uncle Greg a police officer and firefighter (died 2011.)

If interested in additional photos, I have several of Mammy, Mary Eva, and a few of Mary Eva’s brother, Jeff. I’m guessing he would be Soapy Jr., and perhaps your grandfather??

Jim Lynch

Jim and I are talking family history and he sent along some fantastic early photographs, of which I plan to share in an upcoming post.

"The boys who had the money won it in a fair game and they should keep it." He also said he, "had a hundred men who would stand behind him and see that they were protected." The judge finally told him he [Smith] could not afford to stand up for a gang of thieves; but he [Smith] almost screamed—"Well, Judge, declare me in with the thieves. I’ll stay with them," and with that he passionately beat the table with his fist and left the room.
Daily Alaskan
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 529.


1864: Christopher Lower, David Renton alias "Doc Howard," and James Romain are found guilty in Lewiston, Idaho Territory for the murder of Lloyd Magruder. Billy Page, who was not involved in the murder plot but did help the murderers flee, turned state's evidence and was acquitted and released.
1872: Grand Duke Alexis of Russia arrives in Topeka, Kansas.
1872: The Society of Colorado Pioneers Association is founded in Denver, Colorado Territory.
1876: 125 miles east of Camp Supply the 5th Cavalry battles with Indians, killing 3 and wounding 4 on the Cimarron River, Indian Territory.
1877: Merritt Horrell is shot to death by John Higgins in the Matador Saloon, Lampasas, Texas, during the Horrell-Higgins Feud.
1879: James Shields begins a term as a U.S. Senator from Missouri. He had previously served Illinois and Minnesota. He was the first Senator to serve three states.
1882: Marshal George Brown is murdered in Caldwell, Kansas. He is replaced with Ben “Bat” Carr and his assistant Henry Brown.
1883: The Fifty Cent Act of Texas is repealed due to fraudulent speculation. The Fifty Cent Act, advocated in July 14 1879 provided for selling public land at fifty cents an acre. Proceeds were to be used to pay debts and establish a school fund. About fifty-two Texas counties were created from the sale of 3,201,283 acres for $1,600,641.55.
1884: The Northern Pacific Railroad completes the Bozeman Pass tunnel in Montana Territory.
1889: The Columbia Phonograph Company is formed in Washington, D.C.
1890: Montana pioneer and vigilante John “X” Beidler, 58, dies in Helena. His funeral draws 1,200 mourners to the Ming Opera House.
1891: Bad man Dick Hawkins, an ex-faro dealer for Soapy Smith, robbed the faro table at the Arcade club rooms in Denver, Colorado. He then did the same at the Nickle Plate, and successfully escaped.
1895: The National Association of Manufacturers is organized in Cincinnati, Ohio.

January 21, 2016

Jeff Smith's Parlor to re-open.

Skagway, Alaska
Circa 1940

Courtesy of Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
(Click image to enlarge)

pening May 6, 2016

Since December 2008 Soapy Smith fans have awaited the restoration and reopening of one of Skagway, Alaska's most famous buildings. the date is May 6, 2016. KHNS Radio interviewed Karl Gurke, a historian with the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. 

Jeff Smith’s Parlor is set to open in Skagway on May 6. The museum will feature thousands of Klondike Gold Rush-era artifacts, bringing visitors and locals back to the wild days in the Gateway to the Klondike.

Jefferson Randolph ‘Soapy’ Smith was perhaps the most notorious character in the motley crew that dominates history books about the Klondike Gold Rush.

“So, he was involved in prostitution, gambling and he was involved in a several saloons, but he was also involved in some interesting cons.”

That’s Karl Gurcke, a historian with the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. Gurcke says Soapy Smith came to Skagway in 1897 with no intention of staking a claim in Dawson City. He simply saw a chance to make a fast buck off hopeful, gold-seeking Cheekchakos.

Gurcke says one of his most famous scams was his telegraph company. Weary would-be gold miners could send messages and, if needed, money home. Smith would charge for each message out and each message received.

“Of course, as it turns out, that the telegraph wires just went a little bit beyond the house. They never went down to Seattle, so it was all a con.”

His nickname ‘Soapy’ also came from a con. He sold soap with the lure of a $10-bill wrapped inside, causing a frenzy. Of course, there was no money, and Smith’s soap stand was long gone when the mob came to protest. Remnants from those days and much more are set to be housed in the renovated museum, opening in May.

Ben Hayes is chief of interpretation and education at the Klondike Gold Rush Historic Park. The Park Service has been working since 2008 to restore the old parlor and refurbish a large collection of artifacts.The building dates back to 1897 when it was built to house the Bank of Skagway.

“In 1898, it was leased to Jefferson Randolph ‘Soapy’ Smith, who ran his con artist … his gang of nefarious people who were fleecing some of the stampeders from that very building until he was killed in a gun fight on July 8, 1898,” says Hayes.

The building served several different purposes over the decades, including as a bar, a French restaurant, and the Skagway Volunteer Fire Department’s Hook and Ladder Co. garage. Long after the death of Skagway’s top con man, the building was acquired by a German tour promoter. It became Jeff Smith’s Parlor museum in the late ‘30s and, back then, was even complete with working robots.

“Like robotic Jefferson Smith who would stand at the bar and greet you when you came in,” says Hayes. “He had a gun in one hand and a beer in the other. There’s this guy in the corner sitting, his name is Dangerous Dan McGrew, he kind of looks like Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses. He would greet you as well and then there was Lady Lou in the restroom, who, when you open the door would scream at you.”

When the overhauled museum opens in the spring it will include those old robots, though they’re past their gun-waving, bathroom-screaming primes.

“Unfortunately, at over 80 years old, we can’t operate them, but we did some interesting work with the community to figure out how they once worked, including we took them over to the Dahl Memorial Clinic and had the m X-rayed to figure out, without taking apart these handmade, delicate machines, how they functioned,” says Hayes.

The building was moved in 1963 to its current location on 2nd Avenue, across from the Red Onion Saloon. Hayes says refurbishing it has been a painstaking process.

“This building helped preserve that legacy and build a legend.”

The collection that came with the building includes 450,000 items. It was acquired, along with the building, by George and Edna Rapuzzi after the original museum proprietor died in the ‘40s. The Rapuzzis ran the museum in the ’60s and ‘70s. It then went to the Rasmuson Foundation, which transferred it to the Park Service and the Borough of Skagway in 2008.

Tours of the museum will be guided and cost $5. The fee to enter helps with cost recovery, Hayes says. The Park Service held a community forum last month in Skagway so people could weigh in on the decision to charge for a tour. The comment period is open until the end of January. But, Hayes adds that 19 free days are planned over the summer, including the entire first week of May and a week in mid-August when the Park Service celebrates its centennial.

Hayes and Gurcke agree that the rough and tumble Gold Rush history is still very much alive in Skagway, and with the opening of the revamped museum, visitors and locals will be able to experience it for themselves, without the menacing con men, of course.
Source: Legend of Soapy Smith lives on in Skagway

Restoration of Jeff Smith's Parlor
(This link contains posts since 2009, be sure to scroll) 

Kindhearted, generous Soapy Smith is known to many men. Many know him, too, as a man who would stand by his friends to the end. Many others know him as a bitter enemy. When he thinks he is right, he stands by it, and when it is the other way, he stands by that, too.
Denver Republican
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 213.


1789: W. H. Brown's Power of Sympathy also known as the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth is the first American novel to be published.
1812: The Y-bridge in Zanesville, Ohio is approved for construction.
1846: The first issue of the Daily News, edited by Charles Dickens, is published.
1853: Dr. Russell L. Hawes obtains the patent the envelope folding machine.
1861: Jefferson Davis of Mississippi resigns from the U.S. Senate. Four other southern senators also resign. Davis goes on to become president of the Confederacy.
1865: An oil well is drilled by torpedoes (dynamite) for the first time.
1872: In the excitement of his first kill of the day in Kit Carson, Colorado Territory, Russian Grand Duke Alexis kisses George Custer.
1874: Alfred Packer leads a group of prospectors from Utah to the valley of the Uncompahgre River in Colorado Territory. They arrive starving and out of food. Ute Indians find them and take them to Chief Ouray, who replenished their supplies.
1891: Bob Ford, killer of outlaw Jesse James, is shot and wounded in the foot during a shootout in Walsenburg, Colorado by J. D. Harden, who was shot twice, the should and the hand, by Ford. The two men were standing at a saloon bar when they started arguing. The two men were so close that Ford received powder burns on his face. Sixteen months later Ford will be shot and killed in Creede, Colorado. It is believed that bad man Soapy Smith had a hand in Ford’s death.
1908: The Sullivan Ordinance is passed in New York City making smoking by women illegal. The measure is vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr.

January 12, 2016

Soapy Smith vs Frank Reid: American Heroes Channel documentary

Scroll down just a bit to see the video.

IRS JANUARY 13, 2016

"All this about 'Soapy' Smith being alive, as wired to the newspapers from San Diego, and that he is in San Diego, is moonshine, said Arch Bodine, who has a restaurant at 1327 Fifteenth Street. Bodine was in Skagway last October [sic] when 'Soapy' was killed, and did not leave for several months afterwards. I was near him when he was shot, and I helped to put him in the wagon. After he was carried from the wharf to the morgue, he lay there for two days under a sheet, and hundreds of people saw him. There are lots of men in the west who look like 'Soapy,' but just paste it in your hat that Smith is as dead as a doornail. They didn’t take any chances on his coming back to life in Skagway."
—Arch Bodine
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 587.


1773: The first U.S. public museum opens in Charleston, South Carolina.
1872: Russia's Grand Duke Alexis departs St. Louis, Missouri for Omaha, Nebraska on a buffalo hunting expedition with General Phil Sheridan and Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.
1880: Bat Masterson resigns his position as Ford County Sheriff, as well as deputy U.S. Marshal of Kansas.
1883: Cheyenne, Wyoming turns on electric lights for the first time.
1889: The fight between two cities to become the county seat ends in violence, known as the Battle of Cimarron. A wagon of men from Ingalls, Kansas attempt to steal the official court records from the Gray County courthouse in Cimarron, Kansas, but are discovered and shooting breaks out. One resident of Cimarron is killed and several persons are wounded on both sides. The invaders climbed into their wagon with the records and speed off, leaving four men trapped inside the courthouse, including Jim Masterson, brother of Bat Masterson. The shooting concentrated on the building. After six hours of fierce fighting, a truce was made, which included allowing the four men to be able to leave the city unharmed. In 1893 Cimarron becomes the county seat.
1896: At Davidson College, several students take x-ray photographs, the first made in the U.S.

December 26, 2015

Soapy Smith sells soap in Phoenix, Arizona, 1883

Soapy's vendors license
Jefferson Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)


December 26, 1883 Soapy Smith purchases a street vendors license in Phoenix, Arizona to hawk his prize package soap to the unwary.

In my collection is a xerox copy of the receipt (photo at top) from the city of Phoenix, Arizona allowing Soapy to work as a soap selling vendor for the period of one month beginning December 26, 1883 and ending January 27, 1884 for the sum of $4.00. The document is signed by Mayor De Forest Porter, Recorder Knapp and Marshal Henry Garfia.

The information and the receipt showing that Soapy was in Phoenix is not new. The newspaper clipping below, is.

So why didn't I find this before?

When doing research for the book Alias Soapy Smith the amount of newspapers online, along with the quality of the search capabilities were poor. Over the years more newspapers have been added and the search editors have greatly improved. What will never change is the content of the newspaper themselves. In looking at the article below you will notice that "Soapy" or "Jeff Smith" are absent. this means getting creative. I type in words that such articles might include, such as "soap." While this is a good key word, it also means searching through a ton of soap ads, etc. It's time consuming and most of the time I come up empty handed, but not today. I hit the jackpot.

The following clipping was published just three-days into the one month time span of the license. This article is also one of the very few in which the reporter did not publish that the prize package soap sell was a swindle. Did this reporter not realize it was a scam, or was he/she paid off to stay quiet. From what I can tell, Soapy was not arrested during this trip to Phoenix. However, the article does make mention that this is not Soapy's first trip to the city.  

The Soap Man.

Transcription of the clipping: 
Arizona Weekly Citizen
December 29, 1883

The Soap Man.

This morning a soap man, who has been here before, held forth on Congress Street. Like all of his profession, he is a glib talker, but this time he has a new racket, which he is working for all it is worth.

Little pieces of soap about an inch long are wrapped up in pieces of paper. He says one-half of them contain greenbacks denominations from $1 to $20. Some of them certainly do contain some currency. You are invited to try your luck for fifty cents; you get soap, if nothing else, and you stand a chance of making $20. To keep the excitement of the crowd at fever heat every once in a while the manipulator of lye-and-grease would unroll the packages, exhibit the greenbacks, and then, picking up several packages, offer to give any man $10 who would pay $10 for them. This offer would excite the laughter of the crowd, and some individual would accept the offer. His astonishment would be great to see that he sold back to the soap man $50 or $60 in clear currency. The trick works well.

Soapy in Phoenix

Phoenix: pages 40-41.

"I was at Circle City when a Skaguay newspaper brought the news…. Though we were almost one thousand miles from the scene of the tragedy, the news came like an electric shock. The single copy of the newspaper was carried off to a big gambling hall, and everybody in town was packed into the place listening eagerly while the story was read aloud. A deep sigh of relief went up when the audience learned that 'Soapy' had 'cashed in.'"
—Harry Suydam
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 583.


1620: The Mayflower, with 102 passengers, arrives at New Plymouth, Massachusetts to create the Plymouth Colony, with John Carver as Governor.
1776: The British suffer a major defeat against the Colonial Army in the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolution.
1859: 173 Texas Rangers and 165 U.S. regulars attack the outlaw position held by Juan Cortina in Rio Grande City. Hand-to-hand combat forces Cortina's retreat.
1861: Confederate irregulars defeat pro-Union Indians at Chustenahlah, Indian Territory.
1862: 38 Dakota Indians are hung in Mankato, Minnesota for their part in an uprising. The mass execution is the largest in U.S. history.
1863: A Denver brothel, the Highland “Aunt Betsy’s” House, is burnt down by a mob of soldiers. Bill Duffield, a soldier is shot and killed by Joseph Kittery when told they could not enter. The following day a mob of soldiers obtained the deceased from inside and then burnt down the brothel.
1865: The coffee percolator is patented by James H. Mason.
1866: Lieutenant Colonel George Crook leads a company of the 1st Cavalry against Indians at Owyhee Creek, Idaho Territory, killing 30 and taking 7 prisoners while losing only one soldier.
1867: A detachment of Company K, 9th Cavalry, near Ft Lancaster, Texas, is attacked by Indians. Three soldiers are killed during the two days of fighting.
1869: Lieutenant Howard B. Cushing with Company F, 3rd Cavalry, from Ft Stanton, New Mexico, along with 28 citizen volunteers, attack a Mescalero Apache Indian village at the old stage stop of Pine Spring in the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas. One officer is severely wounded.
1874: The first commercial buffalo hunt is conducted in Texas by Joe McComb.
1880: Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garret deposits his prisoners, including Billy the Kid, in the Las Vegas, New Mexico, Territory jail.
1883: Soapy Smith purchases a street vendors license in Phoenix, Arizona for selling his prize package soap.
1909: Western artist Frederic Remington dies at age 48 in Connecticut.

December 22, 2015

Joe Simmons shoots W. M. Shuck...or did he?

Taking care of the problem.
(Click image to enlarge)

ambler Joe Simmons

Not a whole lot known about Joe Simmons. He is mentioned on twelve pages of Alias Soapy Smith. This blog covers post about Joe (link below), including information on his son, directly from his descendants.

In the book The Reign of Soapy Smith (William Ross Collier and Edwin Victor Westrate, 1935) there is mention of Joe Simmons taking a glancing shot at a man. No source, no details, just a glancing mention! After Alias was published I found this mention in the "local brevities" of the Rocky Mountain News, November 9, 1890.

W. M. Shuck of Lyons was not struck by Dick Hawkins, as was at first supposed. Mr. Hawkins was not anywhere in that vicinity. Shuck was shot by Simmons, supposed to be proprietor of Soapy Smith's place [Tivoli Club]. The revolver was a 45 Colt. Glancing shot.

I just found this newspaper clipping below. This is the first mention of the shooting, published in the Rocky Mountain News on the previous day, November 8, 1890. I actually found this by accident. I never found it in past searches using a "search engine" as "Dick Hawkins" is the only name mentioned in the article and I looked under everything but "Hawkins." 

Hawkins and His Gun.

Last night at about 7:30 the notorious Dick Hawkins, the shell worker who deals faro at the Texas house on Seventeenth and Market streets, got into a dispute with a drunken bobo over a poker game in the house, and to keep up his dead tough game he hit his opponent over the head with a loaded pistol, which went off and the bullet flattened itself against the wall, and caused a stampede in the house. The fellow he hit ran out of the house more frightened than hurt.

Here is the details from these two clippings:

W. M. Shuck of Lyons, Colorado walked, or was led, into the Tivoli Club and got swindled in a "big hand" (rigged) poker game. When he complained, Simmons hit the man over the head with his pistol. The weapon discharged, but the bullet hit no one, nor went outside the room, becoming a threat to any innocents outside.

The following day's revamp of the article states that "Shuck was shot by Simmons" in a "glancing shot." This is a far cry from being hit on the head and remaining uninjured.

What's going on?

Great! In finding the latest clipping I solved a few mysteries, only to open a couple more. It seems pretty obvious to me that the first newspaper reporter was paid off to make the victim out to be a "drunken hobo," in an attempt to belittle the severity of the crime and accompanying violence.

In the first report the bullet hits no one and even "flattened itself against a wall." Sounds to me like the reporter wanted the weapon discharge to sound like 'just an accident" and that no harm had been done. The victim is said to have run in fright, but not injury. I have read plenty of accounts in which someone is hit over the head with a revolver and do not recall any of them escaping injury. 

Did Dick Hawkins hit the man with his revolver, or was he getting the blame, to keep Simmons, the manager of the Tivoli Club, from being arrested? Hawkins did deal faro for Soapy but was let go for insubordination. According to what I have read, Hawkins was not a particularly popular person. He ended up robbing the faro table at the Arcade and the Silver Plate club rooms in Denver, and then the Mint club room in Creede.  

Joe "Gambler Joe" Simmons?
Unidentified tin-type
Believed to be Joe Simmons and Joe Palmer
Jeff Smith collection

signed, "from Jeff Smith" and was sent to his daughter Eva around 1892.
Kyle Rosene collection
(Click image to enlarge)

The Poem, Jeff and Joe was written in 1892 in Creede, Colorado and is based on the death of Joe "Gambler" Simmons and how hard Soapy Smith took it. It is this poem that is responsible for the fallacy that Jeff and Joe were cowboys together when they were young. There can be no doubt that Jeff valued the poem for after his death in 1898 in Skagway, Alaska, a copy of the poem was found in his trunk.

Joe Simmons (there are numerous posts, scroll)

Joe Simmons: pages 33, 89, 131, 210, 214, 225-29, 273, 594.

There is not a man on the Denver police force who did not breath a sigh of relief when he read that “Soapy” was dead. It was bound to come, and all realized that, but the question bothering the police officials was how long “Soapy” was to go about killing other men.
Rocky Mountain News
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 584.


1775: The Continental naval fleet is organized in the American colonies under the command of Ezek Hopkins.
1807: The U.S. Congress passes the Embargo Act, designed to force peace between Britain and France by cutting off all trade with Europe.
1856: Captain Richard W. Johnson and Company F, 2nd Cavalry, from Camp Colorado attacks a Comanche Indian camp along the Concho River in Texas. Two soldiers are killed and two wounded. Three Indians are killed and three wounded. Thirty-four horses are captured and a Mexican captive is recovered.
1864: During the Civil War Union General William T. Sherman sends a message to President Lincoln from Georgia, which reads, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah."
1872: Texas Jack Omohundro, who is appearing with Buffalo Bill in a stage show, The Scouts of the Prairie, in Chicago, Illinois, falls in love with Giuseppina Morlacchi, an Italian dancer in the show.
1877: The American Bicycling Journal is published.
1877: The Sam Bass gang robs a stagecoach heading towards Fort Worth, Texas. Soapy Smith would later witness the shooting death of Sam Bass in Round Rock, Texas.
1878: Outlaw Billy the Kid surrenders to sheriff George Kimball in Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory, but escapes a short time later and heads for Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory.
1887: “Big Ed” Burns is the defendant in the first recorded court case of the shell game in Los Angeles, California. He soon leaves for Colorado where he joins the Soapy Smith gang.
1888: Annie Oakley appears in the stage show Deadwood Dick: or the Sunbeam of the Sierras.
1890: 294 members of Sitting Bull's Indian tribe surrender in Cherry Creek, South Dakota.
1894: The U.S. Golf Association is formed in New York City.
1900: The Sherman Tunnel in Wyoming, on the Union Pacific line is completed.

December 18, 2015

Blood Feud: Soapy Smith vs the vigilantes.

Add caption
(Click image to enlarge)

Soapy Smith vs the vigilantes.

My "talking head" Soapy Smith episode airs January 13, 2015 on the American Heroes Channel (formerly known as The Military Channel).

Yukon GOLD RUSH War Premieres Wednesday, January 13 at 10/9c This epic GOLD RUSH showdown pits legendary conman Jefferson "Soapy" Smith and his loyal "Soap Gang" against town organizer-turned-vigilante Frank Reid and the Committee of 101, in a battle to bring justice to the lawless Alaskan Frontier.

Bill the Butcher vs. John Morrisey. The Hatfields vs. the McCoys. Soapy Smith vs. Frank Reid. These are the rivalries that defined American history, as foes became fatalities in the ultimate street fight for honor, power, and pride. AMERICAN HEROES CHANNEL (AHC) digs deep into these epic vendettas and more in BLOOD FEUDS, an all-new, original series centered around our nation's most iconic rivalries. Premiering Wednesday, January 6 at 10/9c on AHC, BLOOD FEUDS features six action-packed stories chock-full of simmering tensions, brutal struggles and bitter hatred - from racist street gangs battling for territory to former friends turned mortal enemies.

Brought to life using dramatic recreations, expert interviews, and heart-pumping storytelling, each 60-minute episode of BLOOD FEUDS features some of the most compelling characters, action-packed conflict, and adrenaline-fueled showdowns from our nation's past.

The first night they slept near the lake and remained in hiding all the next day. Saturday night, almost famished with hunger, they hit the trail again and came down to the slaughterhouse with the hope of escaping by boat or of getting back to friendly cabins. It seemed too risky to attempt to pass the lines of armed patrolmen, however, and shortly after 2 o’clock they started back up the trail. Tripp, who is an old man, was tired out and refused to go back. His companions expostulated with him for an hour, but he stuck to his declaration that he “would rather be hung on a full stomach than die of starvation in the ____ ____ mountains.” So he was at length permitted to return.
Daily Alaskan
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 564.


1787: New Jersey becomes the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
1796: The Monitor of Baltimore, Maryland is published as the first Sunday newspaper.
1856: Lieutenant James Witherell of Company C, 2nd Cavalry, and two officers from the 8th Infantry, battle with a party of Apache Indians while scouting by the Rio Grande from Ft. Clark, Texas. 
1862: The first orthopedic hospital, the Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled, is organized in New York City.
1865: Slavery is abolished in the United States with the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1894: Soapy Smith and John Bowers are arrested in Denver on complaint from Thomas Moody. Soapy pays a $300 bond to get them out of jail.
1898: A new automobile speed record is set at 39 mph.
1899: President McKinley commutes the sentence of Soap Gang member “Slim Jim” Foster in the robbery of John D. Stewart in Skagway, Alaska, after one year due to his having contracted consumption.
1903: The Panama Canal Zone is acquired 'in perpetuity' by the U.S. for an annual rent.
1912: The discovery of the Piltdown man in East Sussex is announced. It will be proved a hoax in 1953. Bad man Soapy Smith had a petrified man found in Creede, Colorado 1892. It was not proven to be a hoax until 2012, when it was determined that the corpse was intentionally mummified.

December 15, 2015

Klondike Saloon token sells for ...

First saloon in Skagway, Alaska
One historian believes the man standing is Frank H. Reid.

(image: San Francisco Chronicle, August 21, 1897)

Hammers to highest bidder for $680.00!

Oh how I would have loved to have this token, but it is just a tad over my budget. I will have to be satisfied with having a digital one.

The following is from Alias Soapy Smith,

Another saloon in which Jeff is believed to have had a controlling interest was the Klondike. Located in a tent near the northeast corner of Broadway and McKinney (5th Avenue), it was advertised under the proprietorship of Ira Coslet [sic?] and Ward. By the end of December they moved the saloon to a two-story structure at the corner of Broadway and Holly (6th Avenue today) and added “Music Hall” to the name. A December 31, 1897, Skaguay News advertisement billed the Klondike as “the largest and best equipped place in Skaguay,” with “Scotch and Irish Whiskies, fine wines and all the leading brands of cigars.” It had clubrooms for gambling and furnished rooms upstairs for lodging. A dance hall and theater were connected with free entertainment every night.
Frank Reid is believed to have been a bartender at the Klondike when it was only a tent, and that this is where Jeff and Reid first met. On July 8, 1898, Jeff fired the rifle shot that eventually killed Reid.

Soapy Smith is believed to have had a connection to the Klondike Saloon, perhaps even owing an interest. He could have taken an interest of the business as part of a protection racket or by attaching his gambling business. Considering that the Klondike was the first saloon in Skaguay (now spelled Skagway), it is reasonable, at the very least, to assume that he met and knew owners Cosslett and Ward. It is likely that Soapy centered his gambling activity around the saloon. Old timers in Skagway claimed that Soapy held an owing interest in the Klondike. Frank H. Reid, one of the vigilantes who shot Soapy during the gunfight on Juneau Wharf, worked as a bartender at the Klondike Saloon, and this is probably where Soapy and Reid met.

The token (side A)
The Klondike Saloon
Cosslett and Ward

The image at the top of this post shows two men next to the Klondike Saloon. I would guess that these are Cosslett and Ward, the proprietors. However, author M. J. Kirchhoff believes that the man standing is Frank Reid.

Skaguay News man E. J. Stroller White reports of one shootout that took place at the Klondike Saloon. His account is published in Alias Soapy Smith, pages 441-42.

One night a man was killed in the Klondike Saloon and the stranger who did the shooting fled to the street, pursued by a crowd of enraged friends of the deceased.” White had been sleeping underneath the printing press in The News building when five shots were fired after the man “just as he passed the printing office.” Two of these hit the sidewalk, but three flew into the building. The next morning White secured “several sheets of boiler iron with which to surround” his sleeping area.

The token (side B)
There's always "the other-side-of-the-coin."
Cosslett and Ward

Klondike Saloon: pages 439, 441, 456-57, 531.

It was not generally known how many were included in Smith’s gang. Dr. Whiting and Keelar, the “Money King,” later compiled a list of the roughnecks who were supposed to have belonged, and both those men were in a position to judge fairly well. There were 192 names on their list, all of them suggestive of the underworld and many of them unprintable. The sobriquets range from “Soapy” Smith and the “Lamb” to “Moon Face Kid,” “Slim Jim,” “Blackjack Doctor,” “The Queen,” “B. S. Jack….”
—Clarence Andrews
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 564.


1791: The first ten amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, are ratified by the state of Virginia.
1815: Jane Austen's Emma is published.
1854: The first street cleaning machine is put into operation in Philadelphia.
1863: The first U.S. bank robbery is committed by lone postal employee Edward W. Green, who held up a bank in Malden, Massachusetts.
1869: Deputy John Thomason and three other men surround the Samuel family farmhouse in Clay County, Missouri in search of outlaws Frank and Jesse James. The men are in hopes of collecting a $3,000 reward for the brothers but they are not there.
1877: The Dodge City Times of Dodge City, Kansas reports that “Sheriff Bassett has been appointed by Mayor Kelly to assist Marshall Ed Masterson in preserving order and decorum in the city.”
1877: Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.
1880: Outlaw Charles Bowdre states in a letter to J. C. Lea of Fort Sumner, New Mexico Territory that he is running and is thinking about turning Billy the Kid over to Sheriff Pat Garrett in return for his freedom.
1881: Charles Earl “Black Bart” Bowles robs the Downieville-Maryville stagecoach four miles from Dobbins, California. At the conclusion of the robbery he leaves behind an unusual calling card: a poem.
1883: Marshal Henry Brown kills gambler Newt Boyce in Caldwell, Kansas.
1890: Chief Sitting Bull, Indian leader of the Hunkpapa Teton Sioux, is killed by Indian police at his home in a remote corner of the Standing Rock Reservation in Grand River, South Dakota along with 11 other tribe members, allegedly while resisting arrest.
1901: Outlaw and Wild Bunch member Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan is captured in Jefferson City for the shooting of Knoxville policemen William Dinwiddle and Robert Saylor.