January 27, 2010

Soapy Smith and "Shorty" Galbraith

We are back. It will take a week to get back to normal but it feels great to be operating again.

I recently corresponding with Jo Anne Galbraith, granddaughter of George Oliver Galbraith, alias "Shorty." She contacted me to find out if I had some information showing that George was involved with Soapy in Skagway, Alaska.

She writes,

Hello Jeff,

I got your name and address from the Skagway Convention & Visitors bureau. They said you have done a lot of research into Soapy Smith and his cohorts.

My name is Jo Anne Galbraith and my father told me many years ago that my grandfather used to bootleg whisky to Alaska at the turn of the century. My father even told me there was a picture of him hanging in a bar in Skagway. He was known as "Shorty" and I was wondering if you ran across that name in any of your research.
Thank you for your time.

In another email she writes,

My grandfather George Oliver Galbraith AKA Shorty was in the state of Washington by 1900 or 1904 so I would think his time in Alaska must have been before that. Probably during the gold rush.

Thanks for your time and responding so quickly!

Jo Anne Galbraith

Jo, I was not able to find any documentation on George "Shorty" Galbraith but I am willing to bet that if he was in Skagway in 1897-1898 and involved in "criminal activities" then he most likely had dealings with Soapy Smith.

There is no concise record or count of all the men who worked for Soapy. Some were temporary, while they were in town, while others worked for Soapy for years. I am very hopeful that there are records somewhere, perhaps within the Smith family collections, that show the name of Galbraith. In the mean time don't give up!

ATTENTION SOAPY DESCENDANTS: Please look in your records and see if anyone can come up with George Oliver "Shorty" Galbraith. Thank you.


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Thank you for leaving your comment and/or question on my blog. I always read, and will answer all questions left here. Please know that they are greatly appreciated. -Jeff Smith