December 2, 2009

Did Soapy Smith kill himself?

According to one theory on Cathy Spude's website
Soapy killed himself with his own rifle?

I reported how writer Craig Medred over on the Alaska Dispatch used Cathy Spude's website as the new source for his story, Palin: Hidden Devils in the Details. I go over to Cathy's website periodically to check things out as she changes the wording often. In fact she does it so much that it is impossible to figure out exactly what she believes in regards to Soapy Smith because she leaves sections of her old beliefs up. Mr. Medred linked to Cathy's page Who Killed Soapy Smith. I went over there and saw something new I want to share with you. Those of you who know me know that I do not have a lot of respect for Cathy as a person or as a researcher. I know it might sound harsh but if you knew everything I've had to endure because of her I think you might better understand why I feel the way I do.

Our latest on-line exchanges had to do with her mean-spirited review of my book, the ONLY negative comment I have received thus far I might add. In that review and in the correspondences thereafter she continued to state how important two sources that I had missed are, and that my book is basically worthless without them. I agreed that the sources are something I want to investigate but stopped short of accepting her opinion as to the importance, what they are, and what exactly they say. I am not shouting "sour grapes" with my response, but rather using great caution in believing Cathy's word as to what the contents ACTUALLY are. On numerous occasions Cathy has quoted a source as saying one thing, but upon closer examination the reality is that Cathy is not reliable in the deciphering and retelling of what she has read. Below is the most recent example and I found it thanks to Craig Medred. Here is what Cathy writes.

In his recently published book, Alias Soapy: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel, The Biography of Jefferson Randolph Smith II, Soapy's great-grandson Jeff Smith tries to make a case that Soapy was "murdered" by Jesse Murphy. Unless he can have the case reopened by the federal courts in Alaska, he will not be able to prove his case. It has already been adjudicated at a legal hearing.

Smith and his father first debated this issue with author Howard Clifford in Skagway, Alaska on July 8, 1998 with inconclusive results, according to a news report by The Skagway News of July 24, 1998.

The first is not a major blunder, but one none-the-less. She mentions that my father was with me in Skagway during the July 8, 1998 symposium. His name, or any reference to him is not mentioned in the article as he had passed away 10-years prior. My point in mentioning this is that she has a bad habit of seeing things that are just not there.

The second blunder is when she states that I made a case of Soapy being "murdered" by Jesse Murphy, and that my father and I "first debated this issue with author Howard Clifford in Skagway, Alaska on July 8, 1998..." Looking through the article the only time the word "murder" came up was in a quote from a note written in 1898 that states "Soapy Smith attempted to murder a Mr. Reid.." This is the complete opposite of what Cathy Spude stated, and had nothing to do with my or my case. In fact I did not start using the word "murder" in reference to Soapy's death until 2008.

Cathy finishes her statement with the comment the the symposium ended with "inconclusive results, according to a news report by The Skagway News of July 24, 1998." What she fails to mention is the the conclusive results of that symposium were that someone other than Frank Reid indeed shot and killed Soapy. The inconclusive results regarded who that "other" person was. Nothing about "murder" was ever mentioned.

From Cathy's remarks and website it appears now that she does not believe Jesse Murphy killed Soapy. I can only assume she has once again changed her mind as to who she believes killed Soapy Smith. I've have point-blank asked her which of her several theories she believes but she has yet to give an answer.


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