September 8, 2009

Averyl's Slim-Jim Foster

(Click image to enlarge)
"Slim-Jim" Foster
by Averyl Veliz

Here is Averyl Veliz's interpretation of Soap Gang member, W. E. Foster alias "Slim-Jim" for her KLONDIKE STORY. Averyl writes,

I've been debating if I should post Slim but finally decided, why not? For those who know Skagway history, this might be interesting. Slim is one of 2 (as far as my story is concerned) of Soapy's sidekicks. He was also known as J.H., W.E., W.F., and probably many other aliases. Slim probably wasn't half this dorky in life, but his name alone inspired me to portray him this way.

W. E. “Slim-Jim” Foster, a steerer in Skagway. For some reason his full name on court records is only noted as "W. E. Foster." His first name has often been mistakenly recorded as “Jim” due to his alias, “Slim-Jim.” Foster was one of the men who led unfortunate miner John Stewart down the alley beside Soapy's saloon in Skagway to a waiting three-card monte game, in which Foster grabbed Stewart’s gold sack and tossed it to the monte game operator, Van "Old-Man" Triplett who ran away with it.

After Soapy's death Foster was arrested with the other members of the Soap Gang and placed in a room on the second floor of the Burkhard hotel. A blood-thirsty mob was just outside clamoring for a lynching. Fearing for his life Foster escaped by crashing out a second story window where he was nearly hanged by those who caught him. At trial, he was fined $1,000 and sentenced to a year in prison with an additional six months for assaulting Stewart.

Averyl says she expects to have the project completed by December of this year. I wish her the very best of luck, and will continue to cover her progress here.

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