August 31, 2012

Reenactment of hiking the Chilkoot trail, 1897 style.

Sterioview of the Chilkoot trail
(Click image to enlarge)






ack on September 25, 2011 I posted part one of a six part documentary made in the late 1970s about four men who hiked the Chilkoot trail to Dawson using the same technology used in 1897-98. Without actually hiking the pass yourself, it is the best way to experience what the Klondike gold rush stampeders had to do to get to the gold fields.



I have been looking for all six episodes since then, when a friend on Facebook posted it. Now you can view them all at Yukon Passage.  Enjoy!














September 25, 2011






"Bold as brass and full of fire, there in the midnight sun,
Soapy went straight at the mob, though he was only one.
He’s waiting in the pits of hell now with his guns in hand,
He’ll hunt them through eternity – that vigilante band."
―Ed Parrish



AUGUST 31

1852: The first pre-stamped envelopes are created with legislation of the U.S. Congress.
1865: Mining operations begin in Lincoln Gulch, Montana Territory.
1881: Outlaw Black Bart robs the Roseburg, Oregon-Yreka stage nine miles out of Yreka, California.
1881: Three soldiers and five civilians are killed in an Apache Indian attack near Fort Apache, Arizona Territory.
1881: The first tennis championships in the U.S. are played.
1887: The kinetoscope is patented by Thomas Edison. The device was used to produce moving pictures.






August 29, 2012

Bob Lyon to speak on Parlor restoration: Jeff Smith's Parlor restoration part 14

Bob Lyon
National Park Service Historian








ur very special friend, Bob Lyon, will be giving a presentation on Jeff Smith's Parlor in Anchorage, Alaska for the Alaska Professional Communicators if you are in the area. The APC has speakers of interest at their monthly luncheons and Bob's is entitled,“Soapy Smith and the Historic Preservation of his Skagway Saloon.” The event is open to the general public and that's one presentation I would love to hear!


Here is the general information.

Place: Kinley's Restaurant, 3230 New Seward Hwy., Anchorage, Alaska.
Time: September 6, 2012, 11:30 am until 1:00 pm
Cost: $19-$25
Contact person: Barbara Brown
E-mail: akpc@gci.net
Website: http://www.akprocom.org/meetings.php

About Bob Lyon

Bob Lyon started with photography by learning to do wet-plate tintypes, the kind of photography done during the Civil War. He now specializes in large-format photography using a 100-year-old 4²x5² Korona. Much of Bob’s large-format work has been for historic surveys for the National Park Service. His latest project is photographing the preservation efforts of Jeff Smith's Parlor, Soapy Smith’s saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Bob has kindly included us in sharing some of his photographs of the Parlor work. 

Bob has worked in photojournalism—having work published in the Washington Post, Rugby Magazine, Der Speigel, Civilization Magazine, Mother Jones, L’Express, and the International Herald Tribune, among other print media. Much of Bob’s large format work has been for the National Park Service in the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record programs. These photographs are filed at the Library of Congress-‐think of the last scene in the first Indiana Jones movie—except these photographs are available online at www.loc.gov.

His projects have varied from Anasazi ruins in New Mexico to Minuteman III missile complexes in South Dakota. He also visited all 100 Air Force Missile Launch Control Centers in the 1990s to document their artwork. The missile crews painted their underground facilities, rather similar to nose art on bombers in World War II.

From Colorado and a resident of Anchorage for two years, Bob hasn’t produced many local images yet, but he is enthusiastically photographing the Alaska scene. To see some of his work go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo4X5000


















Bob Lyon
Jeff Smith's Parlor restoration

February 4, 2009 (Part 1)
February 19, 2009 (Part 2)  
March 31, 2010 (Part 3)  
August 7, 2010 (Part 4) 
February 11, 2011 (Part 5) 
April 5, 2011 (Part 6)
May 8, 2011 (Part 7)
May 17, 2011 (Part 8)
November 20, 2011 (Part 9)
March 21, 2012 (Part 10)
March 30, 2012 (Part 11)
June 20, 2012 (Part 12)
August 8, 2012 (Part 13)










"I find people putting their money into savings banks. Now, this is dead wrong. The faro bank is the only safe bank. It is run by honorable, high-minded men, who would scorn to do evil."
―Jefferson R. “Soapy” Smith,
Rocky Mountain News, September 25, 1894.



AUGUST 29

1828: The patent for Robert Turner’s self-regulating wagon brake is issued.
1858: Twelve soldiers under Captain G. McLane, joined by 22 Mexicans, battle 300 Navajo warriors near Bear Springs, New Mexico Territory. Ten Indians are reported killed, four wounded, and four captured.
1865: An Arapaho village is destroyed in the Battle of Tongue River, Wyoming Territory.
1879: William Elliott, alias “Colorado Bill,” is hung in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Elliot was wanted in four states for murder. In commenting on Elliott the Elevator noted that "He will hardly be wanted by any other state after they get through with him here."
1885: The first prizefight under the Marquis of Queensberry rules is held in Cincinnati, Ohio. John L. Sullivan defeats Dominick McCaffery in six rounds.
1886: In New York City, Chinese Ambassador, Li Hung-chang's chef invents chop suey.
1892: Billy “Pop” Shriver of the Chicago Cubs catches a ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.
1900: The Wild Bunch outlaw gang robs the Union Pacific's Train Number 3 in Tipton, Wyoming. The bandits take more than $50,000, the largest haul taken by the gang up to that time.






August 28, 2012

Jerry Turner reviews Alias Soapy Smith

She knows good reading








ecieved a nice book review for Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel in the Mexia News and the Hubbard City News, both in Texas. The reviewer is Jerry Turner who lives near Waco and writes for the Mexia News. The entire review follows.





Soapy Smith - The Life and Death of a Scoundrel
Book review by Jerry Turner.

In June, my wife and I went to Skagway, Alaska. As soon as we got off the ship, we began hearing of “Soapy Smith.” We took the historic tour and the main topic was Soapy Smith. “Soapy lived here, his gambling house was there,” on and on. We even went to his grave. I knew I needed to know more about this fellow. I called Klondike Research in Juneau, and talked to Art Petersen, editor of the organization. He was very friendly and said that he would like to have a Texan to look at Soapy. He sent a copy of Alias Soapy Smith - The Life and Death of a Scoundrel written by Soapy’s great-grandson, Jeff Smith. Soapy, today, would probably be called a “Godfather.”

Jeff faced some real problems as writers do when they decide to write about a relative. Do they make the subject look like a saint or is he made to be the baddest fellow ever? Jeff does a great job in telling an objective story based on actual letters, family records, period newspapers, and memories of those who knew Soapy. Soapy hated to be called Soapy, he preferred and forcefully insisted on being called Jefferson Randolph Smith or Jeff. A policeman gave him, the nickname when booking him into jail. The officer couldn’t remember “Jeff.”

Jeff’s favorite and profitable scam was the selling or “auctioning” small bars of soap. He would wrap the soap bars and pretend to tuck money in the packages. The spectators would see him place bills from one to one-hundred dollars in the wrappers of soap. The smiling and personable crook would dump the soap into a box. His cohorts would buy a bar and would find money, encouraging the audience to try their luck. Of course, no money would be found. Another scam was the famous shell and pea game, where a customer would try to find the pea under the walnut shell. Soapy was a master of this fast, hand moving shuffle of three shells.

Soapy was born in Georgia in 1860, but his family moved to Round Rock, Texas when he was a young child. He claimed to be a witness to the shooting of Sam Bass by the Texas Rangers in 1878. His family moved to Belton and later to Temple, but Soapy having learned much of the con man trade went to Colorado. He stayed there for a number of years, but he moved on by becoming involved in gambling and other underworld activities. He bribed police and politicians, but moved on when he learned about the discovery of gold in Alaska.

In Skagway, Soapy developed an underworld operation in which he was active in politics, charities, and gambling. He used his connections to protect his criminal activities and friends. While Soapy was a criminal, he was friendly and used some of his money to help the less fortunate. But he and his men, known as “bunco-men” would greet the arriving gold hunters to get their money. His organization was growing and becoming rich, more powerful, fulfilling his dream of being a leader in politics, charity, and overall leader in the community. But Skagway had enough and formed a committee to put Soapy and his gang out of business. Old timers claimed that if “Hell froze over, it would be Skagway.”

On a dock called Juneau Wharf, Soapy and a member of the committee got into a fight. The man’s gun did not fire, the first time, but did fire two times hitting Soapy in the leg and arm. Soapy shot the man with his large bore rifle. As Soapy lay on the dock, another man came up, got Soapy’s rifle and shot him in the heart, killing him instantly. The fight was disputed and there are as many stories about Soapy, his activities, and death as there are tellers. He had many good qualities, but he would steal and cheat you whenever and however he could.

If you have an interest in Old West criminals, frontier histories of Texas, Colorado, and Alaska, and swindles practiced, get a copy of Alias Soapy Smith. It is a readable, well researched, objectively written, and just plain reading fun. It has 660 pages, 54 images, 28 pages of a double-column index, price is $26. It can be ordered from Klondike Research at editor@klondikeresearch.com












"Even villains are human. You do a good job bringing Soapy's human qualities to life. We all sin and come short of true goodness."
Carol Buchanan, author



AUGUST 28

1609: Delaware Bay is discovered by Henry Hudson.
1774: The first American-born saint is born in New York City. Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton was canonized in 1975.
1830: "The Tom Thumb" is demonstrated in Baltimore, MD. It is the first passenger-carrying train of its kind to be built in America.
1865: Fort Reno (also known as Fort Connor) in Wyoming Territory is established.
1868: Three settlers are killed by Indians in Kiowa Station, Kansas.
1872: James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok stars in the Grand Buffalo Hunt at Niagara Falls, Ontario. Native American and Mexican cowboys present a display of roping and riding in Canada's first Wild West show. The show is a financial failure.
1881: Policeman Morgan Earp is accused of being in league with “Big Ed” Burns, a bunco man and future member of the Soap Gang.
1897: Soapy Smith sends $1500 to his wife Mary from Skagway, Alaska.






August 23, 2012

Was Soapy Smith better known that Wyatt Earp? Cathy Spude's concern.

The "good-old-days"







athy Spude's endeavor to prove Soapy Smith was nothing more than a small time crook continues. A few days ago she created a new page on her website with the focus of disproving an old post of mine. Her page is entitled, Soapy graphs: Soapy Smith and Wyatt Earp: Who was Better Known? and revolves around a discovery I made back on October 3, 2010 under the title, Was Soapy Smith more well known than Wyatt Earp?



I acquired the idea of using the Google newspaper archives as a simple comparison tool from a friend who used it on a Tombstone forum to show all the newspaper articles pertaining to Wyatt Earp between the years 1880-1970. I have always heard that Wyatt Earp was not real well known when he was alive, and that his fame came much later. Because of that I invariably wondered if Soapy might have been more well known than Wyatt, while the two men were alive (1860-1898). When I saw the comparison graph on the Tombstone forum I thought it would be interesting to show a comparison between the two men using the articles in the same Google newspaper archives. This was never meant to be a precision study as no online data base contains every newspaper ever published, let alone all the issues of the titles they do have, plus, these online data bases consistently add to their collections, so for this reason I did not bother to show the X and Y axis comparisons. This comparison was just a simple case study. Because of this I did not bother to publish every newspaper title, of which there were many, all across the United States, which included Arizona, where Wyatt Earp was most famous, and Colorado, where Soapy Smith was famous, along with most of the other states, but did not include Alaska, where the figures for Soapy would have dramatically increased. Per a request I performed separate comparisons for New York and Los Angeles.

This does not sit well with Cathy, who writes,
If you take a look at his bar graphs, prepared by Google News Archives, you will see that there are no scales, and no idea of what database of newspapers the articles come from. In other words, we don't know if the Wyatt Earp scale is the same as the Soapy Smith scale, and we don't know if Google News's 1880's newspapers were mostly large cities only (including Denver) and didn't include the smaller towns such as Tombstone, Dodge City and the cow towns where the Earp name would have been more familiar.

Checking up with Google News today, almost two years after this posting was made, it is impossible to determine how Smith came up with his data. The graphing feature he cites doesn't exist and Google News does not talk about its database of newspapers.
Again, it was just a comparison of what Google had available, which was quite a lot. At the time I did not wish to write down every single newspaper title as there were just too many. It never dawned on me that anyone would question the graphs because they were easy to do and figured anyone could do their own study in short order, plus the fact that I knew that new titles would be added as time went on.

Cathy did decide to perform her own comparison and writes,
What I CAN do is provide the kind of data that I found missing on Smith's graphs. GenealogyBank.com is a database of over 6,100 historic newspapers that can be searched on-line for a very reasonable yearly subscription fee. They have made an effort to cover every state for all time periods for both large and small population towns.
Cathy is mistaken when she writes, "they have made an effort to cover every state for all time periods for both large and small population towns." I enjoy reading old newspapers looking for clues to fill in the gaps as to where Soapy traveled. I have thoroughly checked out GenealogyBank.com's list of newspaper titles and I can vouch that some key cities and newspaper titles are missing from their data base. There are enough missing to warrant my not using their service. Even so, if you take a look at her graph, you can see that in the 1880s and 90s Wyatt and Soapy are close together, not a "landslide" as Cathy reports.

On January 23, 2012 I performed another comparison, this time using Gale Primary Source Media and Archival Solutions, the largest data base of digital newspapers in the United States. I used the same method as I did in 2010, between the dates 01/01/1860 - 12/31/1899. Once again Soapy beat out Wyatt, by 210% Wyatt's score is 164 while Soapy won with 345.Although the largest data base it is far from complete so again this is just a simple comparison. Apparently Cathy did not see this comparison study as she does not allude to it on her website. She does, however, try to disprove my graphs with another comparison graph of her own, between Soapy and J. M. Tanner. Cathy writes,
Now, to show you why its all a function of what newspaper base you're looking at and how you ask the question, the graph below shows you the number of newspaper articles about Soapy Smith and J. M. Tanner in Alaskan newspapers in the three decades that Si Tanner lived in Alaska. If Jeff Smith's reasoning is correct, the number of newspaper articles written about a man shows how well known he was known in the place he lived. As you can see, Si Tanner was much better known than Soapy Smith.
The main flaw in her reasoning is that she starts her graph in 1900, AFTER Soapy was deceased and at the RISE of Tanner's career as a lawman and politician in Skagway. Naturally, Tanner would have been mentioned in the newspaper a lot more than Soapy, because Soapy was dead. What would have been interesting is for her to include the years 1897-1898 in her comparison, when Tanner was a complete unknown.









"Saluting the memory of Soapy Smith, forever inseparable and significant to the Old West history of the Mile-High City."
―Robert Bandhauer



AUGUST 23

1838: The first class graduates from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts, one of the first colleges for women.
1842: Explorer John C. Fremont carves his name in Independence Rock, Wyoming.
1858: "Ten Nights in a Barroom," a melodrama about the evils of drinking, opens in New York City at the National Theater.
1868: Three members of the 31st Infantry are killed by Indians near Fort Totten, Dakota Territory.
1868: Eight settlers are killed by Indians between Pond Creek, Kansas and Lake Station, Colorado Territory.
1873: Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez is involved in the “Tres Pinos Massacre.” He is believed to have killed 42 men. On March 19th 1875 Vasquez is hanged for the murders committed during the “Tres Pinos Massacre” at San Jose. California
1877: John Wesley Hardin is arrested by Texas Ranger John B. Armstrong on a train for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb in 1874. Armstrong killed Jim Mann and pistol-whipped Hardin until he was unconscious.
1882: Two murders are lynched from a tree in Globe, Arizona Territory.
1892: The printed streetcar transfer is patented by John H. Stedman.
1945: Lawman Elfego Baca dies at age 80 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.






August 16, 2012

Gold Mountain: A Klondike Mystery. Book review







OLD MOUNTAIN: A KLONDIKE MYSTERY
BOOK REVIEW







Author: Vicki Delany
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Dundurn
Date published: April 23, 2012
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1459701895
ISBN-13: 978-1459701892
Price: $17.99
Vicki Delany's website
Purchase book on Amazon

Gold Mountain: A Klondike Mystery is the third and latest novel in the Klondike Mystery series from Canadian author Vicki Delany. I chose to review this book because Soapy Smith plays a minor role, while fictional character and member of the Soap Gang, Paul Sheridan, plays a major role within the story.

I admit I am not a huge fan of fictional novels, but I do enjoy some "historical novels," fictional stories composed around an actual event. I can sincerely state that I positively enjoyed Vicki Delany’s vivid, yet easy to read and follow, storytelling approach. I found myself captured in each moment and anxiously awaiting each coming page to witness just how her memorable characters managed to cope and deal with one another’s predicaments and schemes, not to mention the unforgiving landscape and harsh environment in which the characters found themselves. One not need read the two previous books to thoroughly enjoy this third edition, but I so enjoyed the author’s fun, suspenseful style that I recommend reading all three books in chronological order.

Book 1: Gold Digger: A Klondike Mystery
Book 2: Gold Fever: A Klondike Mystery
Book 3: Gold Mountain: A Klondike Mystery

Vicki Delany’s story revolves around the 1897-98 Klondike gold rush and Fiona MacGillibray, the beautiful, brave mother and Dawson dance hall proprietor, and her struggles with kidnapper, Soap Gang member Paul Sheridan who has been obsessed with her since first meeting in the American boom town of Skagway.

Fiona, the main character, had hoped to open a theater in the boom town of Skagway, Alaska but she quickly discovered that the town crime boss, Soapy Smith, would not allow her to open unless she worked for him. Not willing to sell her dreams short, Fiona and her 11-year-old son, Angus move across the border into Canada, and head to Dawson in the Klondike, Yukon Territory where Soapy had no control. While in Skagway Fiona had gained the admiration of Paul Sheridan a member of Soapy’s gang. Paul later shows up in Dawson unannounced, with a plan for Fiona to marry and follow him on a wild chase for riches based on a secret treasure map Paul obtained under shadily circumstance. When Fiona proves to be uncooperative, Paul forcefully abducts her and sets out unprepared on a quest through uncharted territory with the hope that she would change her mind once they found the mysterious Gold Mountain. Does the mountain of gold really exist or is it simply another Klondike stampede myth? Or is there something else, something unexplainable and mystic?

Once kidnaped, Fiona’s son, Angus and her love interest, Corporal Richard Sterling of the North-West Mounted Police, and an odd assortment of townspeople, follow Paul’s tracks to rescue Fiona. In between all the frenzy drama, Fiona’s character fills the reader in on the details of her youth, leading up to her arrival in Alaska and the Klondike. I so enjoyed the jog of realization that I experienced when time periods changed as they related to Fiona’s physical and mental state as the transitions are cleverly disguised so that the reader suddenly realizes that Fiona has lapsed into deep thought of times passed.

“The word Chaos has been invented to describe Skagway in the late summer of 1897.”

Author Vicki Delany knows her history. I have spent over a quarter-of-a-century researching the Klondike gold rush and I found no historical mistakes on the author’s part in this book, and that is no small accomplishment. I found her adherence to history a very pleasing addition which transported me back to 1897-1898 and kept me there throughout the entire book.
“Suspense, intrigue, greed, romance, historical detail, colorful characters, and a warm-hearted tale of a single mother struggling to scrape out a living in a time and place where women had little or no rights,” Not my words but fittingly accurate.

I fully enjoyed Vicki’s description of Fiona’s arrival in Skagway. A time before the wharfs for ships to dock meant goods and animals, horses and humans were “unceremoniously dumped.” Fiona sees her arrival in Alaska as “sheer horror” and the author portrayed the scenes splendidly for the pleasure of my mind’s eye. Soapy Smith makes his appearance in chapters 7 through 10 (pages 50-71). His name pops up here and there afterward as Soapy Smith the bad man, and then as Soapy the horse she names and rides while a captive of Paul Sheridan. This book is a great read for fans of Soapy Smith as well as history buffs of the Klondike gold rush, brought to full life in a novel setting.










AUGUST 16

1777: The Battle of Bennington takes place. New England's minutemen route the British regulars.
1812: Detroit falls to Indian and British troops during the War of 1812.
1829: 18-year-old "Siamese twins," Chang and Eng Bunker, arrive in Boston, Massacusetts for exhibition. They have been joined at the waist since birth.
1858: A telegraph message from Britain's Queen Victoria to U.S. President Buchanan is transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable.
1861: U.S. President Lincoln prohibits Union states from trading with the states of the Confederacy.
1878: Lawman John Beckwith is involved in a shooting in the home of his father, Henry, who had killed his son-in-law, William Johnson, during an argument in the ranch house located in New Mexico Territory. John had tried to intervene and was almost shot by his own father. Earlier in the year John was among those who killed rancher John Tunstall, setting off the infamous Lincoln County war.
1896: George Carmack discovers gold in the Yukon starting the Klondike gold rush.
1899: Outlaw “Black Jack” Ketchum stopped a Colorado & Southern train near Folsom, Arizona Territory. After robbing the train, conductor Frank Harrington fired at him with a shotgun but apparently missed. The two men continued exchanging shots and both men were wounded, Ketchum receiving buckshot in the chest, but he managed to escape. Ketchum was found the next day alive and propped against a tree. He was taken to Santa Fe where he was tried and sentenced to death.
1923: 20 members of the Denver Blonger gang are arrested in a raid that ends Blonger rule in the city. The Blonger’s were Soapy Smith’s successors to the underworld throne in Denver.
1924: Former Doolin-Dalton outlaw gang member Roy Daugherty, alias “Arkansas Tom,” is killed in a shootout with lawmen in Missouri.






August 11, 2012

Photos from the Rapuzzi collection: Parlor restoration part 13.

Locked Horns in Battle
Taxidermy Moose from Jeff Smith's Parlor Museum
Soapy Smith's bar (?) on far right.
(photo by and courtesy of Bob Lyon)
(Click image to enlarge)






ational Park historian, Bob Lyon continues to amaze us with photographs and information about the museum history of Jeff Smith's Parlor. When the Rapuzzi collection was purchased everything had to be cataloged and stored until the Parlor display could hold the collection. Bob sent three photographs to give us an idea of the vast variety of items that had to be filed, restored, and made ready for display. The above storage unit holds the famed Moose battle that was displayed in one of the back building attached to the Parlor. I remember seeing these animals when I was with my parents in 1977 and George Rapuzzi gave us a tour of the Parlor. Along the right side of the photo the front bar that was on display in the Parlor museum can be seen. It is supposed to be Soapy's but comparing it to the original in old photos shows little similarity. It might be possible that the top portion of the bar once adorned the original one. Surely the Park Service will let us know what they were able to find out about the front bar.   


One of many bottles in the collection
(Photo by and courtesy of Bob Lyon)
(Click image to enlarge)

Bob writes, 


A few photographs of the artifacts found in Soapy's. I photographed these for the people designing the exhibit. They're trying to put everything back where it was when Rapuzzi operated the museum. That'll be challenging, but they'll come close. Some of these aren't particularly interesting, but good examples of the incredible variety of things Rapuzzi and Itjen collected. Somewhere I have photographs of the Soapy mannikin on a shelf. I'll dig them out soon.


A scale from the Rapuzzi collection
(Photo by and courtesy of Bob Lyon)
(Click image to enlarge)


We look forward to all the photographs Bob sends us. In the same emails Bob also sent me some newspaper copies that give clues as to when the museum opened to the public. Believe it or not, that is a mystery. I will be making a separate post on that subject very soon.













Jeff Smith's Parlor restoration

February 4, 2009 (Part 1)
February 19, 2009 (Part 2)  
March 31, 2010 (Part 3)  
August 7, 2010 (Part 4) 
February 11, 2011 (Part 5) 
April 5, 2011 (Part 6)
May 8, 2011 (Part 7)
May 17, 2011 (Part 8)
November 20, 2011 (Part 9)
March 30, 2012 (Part 10)
June 20, 2012 (Part 11)
August 8, 2012 (Part 12)





AUGUST 11

1860: The first successful silver mill in America begins operations in Virginia City, Nevada Territory.
1860: Twenty-seven members of the 4th Artillery battle 200 Gashote and Parran Indians in Fagan Canyon, Utah Territory. One Indian is killed and an unknown number are wounded.
1865: Paiute Chief Black Rock Tom is captured and shot by soldiers in Nevada Territory. Colonel McDermit was killed a few days earlier during a skirmish with the chief’s warriors.
1871: Lawmen Mike McCluskie and William Wilson, who were assigned to keep order during an election, shoot it out with one another after arguing who will buy the drinks at the Red Front Saloon in Newton, Kansas. Wilson is killed and McCluskie flees fearing reprisal from Wilson's friends.
1874: A patent for the sprinkler head is given to Harry S. Parmelee.
1877: The two moons of Mars are discovered by Asaph Hall, an American astronomer. He names them Phobos and Deimos.
1896: Harvey Hubbell receives a patent for the electric light bulb socket with a pull-chain.
1900: Outlaw brothers John and Jim Jones rob a Union Pacific train in Hugo, Colorado, taking money from the baggage car. Lawmen pursue the outlaws, finally catching up to them in a small ranch house. Gunfire erupts lasting for several days until lawmen set fire to the building. Not wanting to surrender, Jim Jones shoots himself as the house burns around him. John leaps through the front door, two six-guns blazing. He is killed by rifle fire.




August 8, 2012

Jeff Smith's Parlor, 1930s. Parlor restoration part 13.

Soapy Smith Museum (Jeff Smith's Parlor)
Tourists 1930s
(Courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks)
(Click image to enlarge)






ob Lyon, National Park Service historian in Anchorage sent me some photographs to share. In regards to the top photo of the Parlor, Bob writes,

I turned up some photos of [Martin] Itjen's museum I hadn't seen before. This one is from the 1930s. Got a few new ones of Itjen on his street car. Send one or two later. These are from the collections at University of Alaska Fairbanks.



Museum of 98 banner
(photo courtesy of Bob Lyon)



This is a sign an architect, Becky Shaffer and I found in the Meyer Building, which we think was an Itjen museum for a couple of years in the 1920s. Becky noticed wood panels blocking the windows had canvas stapled to the edges--had to be a sign, so we took them down and hey, presto! There's a photograph on the Alaska digital archives page of the Skagway waterfront with cruise ship graffiti that shows a very similar sign, so the museum was open, we just can't be entirely certain which building, but only the Meyer Building is likely for that corner and we know [George] Rapuzzi owned it.

Bob Lyon, we are grateful that you share your exciting finds with us!








AUGUST 10

1844: Bringham Young is chosen to lead the Mormons, after the killing of Joseph Smith.
1850: Fort Atkinson is established in what is now Kansas. Located about two miles west of Dodge City, on the left side of the Arkansas River near the site of old Fort Mann, the fort is intended to control the Indians and protect the Santa Fe Trail.
1863: several wagon trains are attacked by Indians east of Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory. Fourteen men are killed and an unknown number of women and children are taken captive.
1865: George Custer and his troops depart for Texas from Alexandria, Louisiana to enforce the federal government's reconstruction policies for one year.
1867: General Alfred Terry reports one citizen is wounded in a 31st Infantry engagement with Indians near Fort Stevenson, Dakota Territory.
1874: Silver is discovered in Mohave County, Arizona Territory. The mines yield $800,000 over the next 30 years.
1876: Thomas Edison receives a patent for the mimeograph.
1889: Flathead Indian chief Arlee dies in Jocko Valley, Montana.
1891: Soapy Smith’s Denver auction house is gutted by fire.
1899: The refrigerator is patented by A. T. Marshall.




August 7, 2012

Book Reviews










 am now reviewing fictional and nonfiction books that have a connection to Soapy Smith. I am currently reviewing Gold Mountain: A Klondike Mystery (2012), a smart and sassy fiction by Vicki Delany. A few other books are lined up, including, Denver Behind Bars: The History of the Denver Sheriff Department and Denver's Jail System 1858-1956, a serious historical look into Denver's past that I am really looking forward to reading, by Lenny Ortiz. The reviews will be published here, as well as several history forums and on Facebook.


If you are an author or publisher that would like to have your book reviewed please visit the following link.













The automaton shell and pea game







wedish automaton of the shell and pea game. Good friend and member of Friends of Bad Man Soapy Smith, Whit "Pop" Haydn, found this amazing contraption on Youtube. It even cheats!














AUGUST 7

1782: George Washington creats the Order of the Purple Heart.
1789: The U.S. War Department is established by the U.S. Congress.
1870: During the last eleven days ten settlers are reported killed in Indian raids in Arizona Territory.
1880: The Battle of Rattlesnake Springs, Texas takes place. Black soldiers of the Tenth US Cavalry and the Twenty-fourth US Infantry fight the Apache leader Victorio who had left the Mescalero Reservation near Fort Stanton, New Mexico Territory with 125 to 150 followers. They intended either to return to their former reservation or to find refuge in the Guadalupe Mountains on the Texas-New Mexico Territory border. Twice defeated, hungry, and denied access to waterholes, Victorio abandoned his efforts and fled across the Rio Grande. On October 15 Mexican forces killed him in the Tres Castillos Mountains. Victorio's death ended the Indian threat to West Texas.
1880: Soapy Smith registers at the Hotel Granite in Central City, Colorado.
1881: Jesse and Frank James, Charles Ford, Wood and Clarence Hite, and Dick Liddell, stop a train in Missouri, near Blue Cut, outside Glendale, by piling large timbers across the track. This is Jesse James' last robbery which netted $1,500.
1885: Captain Wirt Davis reports five Apaches slain and fifteen captured by soldiers in the Sierra Madres, Sonora, Mexico.
1888: Theophilus Van Kannel receives a patent for the revolving door.
1891: The outlaw, Sundance Kid is arrested in Canada for cruelty to animals. The charge is dismissed.
1896: Soap Gang members, John Bowers and “Red” Gibson are arrested for vagrancy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The police confiscate their tools of the trade which include false whiskers, saps, and revolvers.