June 30, 2010

The Skaguay Military Company volunteers, 1898

I received an email of nice comments and a question from Rich Hennessey. It gives me a good reason to try out the new comment avatar I found!

Rich writes,

Hello Jeff: I just want to tell you, your blog keeps getting better and better!

Also, the band 'Soapy Jefferson' sounds awesome.

P.S. I am up to page 523...and loving every paragraph.

Also, in the pictorial book "Great American Bars and Saloons" by Kathy Weiser...there is a similar photo to the one in your book of Jeff Smiths Parlor. However, in this photo there are 11 [possibly 12] men milling about out front. You 'probably' are aware of this photo...but just in case, I thought I would mention it.

The gang looks kind of dejected or bewildered. Could this possibly have been taken the day following Jeffs death?

Rich Hennessey

Hi, Rich.

I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying the book! I wonder if other authors get this much feedback? I'm loving it because I don't have to wonder.

I believe I know which photograph you speak of [see top photo].  Note how all the men are on the left hand side and right up to the door, as if waiting in a line. I believe this is the sign-up line for volunteers joining the Skaguay Military Company in May 1898 (probably May 1). I do not believe it was taken after Soapy's death as no one wanted, let alone dared to be associated with Soapy after his death for fear of being shot or hung by the vigilantes. I don't think Jeff Smith's Parlor opened again until after John Clancy took possession.

The above photograph is pictured in my book and is believed to have been taken on the same day, (May 1898) showing Soapy and gang member John L. "Reverend" Bowers standing outside the saloon. Note that Bowers appears to be laughing at something someone said. Did Soapy crack a joke?

Would I love to see a clear copy of the photograph above! It shows what appears to be a patriotic (lots of flags and signs) assembly. Could this be the infamous burning of Spain's Valeriano Weyler effigy (May 1, 1898)?


Patriotic assembly and the burning of Weyler: pp. 500-02.



  1. Rich Hennessey accidentally post his response in another location so I am moving it here. Rich writes,

    "Thank-you Jeff...your analysis sure makes sense [good chance they were potential recruits].Also,after studying the details of both photo's,it sure does appear that both photos were taken on the same day.

    BTW ...I love the # 317 [also the address # of Jeff Smith's Parlor LOL] subtlety used by JRS II for the number of men in his contingency.Apparently JRS II enjoyed using psychological ploy's not only with 'marks' but also with those opposing him...like the 101.

    Another aspect I enjoy about that era...the salutations etc. 'Friend Jeff' [I have started using such,and folks like it] also ....'beyond the range' ..."I'll see you beyond the range"...just beautiful IMHO. It's both poetic and meaningful."

    My best.
    Rich Hennessey

  2. Thank-you Jeff for moving my comments.

    I am so technically inept I might as well have lived during the 19th Century. lol

    I can give the day of the week for any date for the past 300 years in seconds...yet I can't post under the correct topic.... go figure.

    I think I am beginning to get it though. :)


  3. It's good to learn something new everyday. I have learned a ton of "geek-fo" this creating this blog.


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