The ship captain & crew with some
passengers pose near the ships pilot house.
Frank Robertson and Beth Kay Harris, authors of, Soapy Smith King of the Frontier Con Men, describe the event.
On another trip, aboard the City of Seattle, Soapy’s quick wit rescued another steamer captain from an embarrassing situation. The City of Seattle was one of the typical hell ships engaged in plying the Alaska route—over-crowded, poor quarters, stinking food, improper facilities for cleanliness—and all the passengers were on edge. One of them, fooling around the ropes, caused a heavy lamp to fall on his head, killing him instantly. The passengers held a meeting to discuss the possibility of suing the captain.
While they were confabbing, Soapy bent over the victim and pretended to search him, coming up with a wallet which he loudly proclaimed the dead man had stolen from him. Holding his “evidence” aloft, Soapy called the dead man a stowaway, a cheat, and a bum. “Now,” he said, “are you willing to throw this ship in turmoil for such a bum?”
City of Seattle docked at Moore's Wharf,
Skagway, Alaska, 1899.
- Yukon Archives Images Database (photographs of the City of Seattle).
- Robertson, Frank C. and Beth Kay Harris. Soapy Smith: King of the Frontier Con Men. NY: Hastings House Publishers, 1961.