June 3, 2009

S.S. Queen 1897 film footage

"Loading baggage for the Klondike, No. 6."

The film footage above was filmed by Thomas Edison, Seattle, Washington. Edison was actually in Seattle working on another project when the news of the Klondike gold rush hit Seattle by storm. Although the title film shot indicates that the footage was filmed on October 25, 1897, historians firmly believe the film was mislabeled and that it of the steamship Queen filmed on August 6, 1897.

"S.S. Queen leaving dock."

The steamship Queen leaves the wharf at Seattle, August 7, 1897. As above, the film was mislabeled.

What's so important about the Queen?

It was July 26, 1897, just nine days after the steamship Portland arrived in Seattle with its “Stacks of Yellow Metal,” the Queen anchored in deep water near Mooresville (Skagway, Alaska) and asked Captain Moore for permission to unload passengers and supplies onto his land. The Queen’s Captain Carroll did not know whether his passengers were entering the United States or Canada as the area was claimed by both countries.

The above films were made after the Queen had returned from Skagway for more stampeders. When the ship arrived in Skagway the second time around, Soapy Smith was there ready to hand over $1,500 to be sent to his wife in St. Louis. A short time later Soapy took passage aboard the Queen and landed in Seattle with nearly $20,000 on him, all net profits from swindling the gullible in Skagway.

Records show that a "J. Murphy" also took the Queen to Skagway in 1897. It is possible that this is Jesse Murphy, the man who killed Soapy Smith on July 8, 1898.

(Special thanks to the Library of Congress.)

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