June 30, 2011

Canada uses machine guns to keep Soapy Smith out: Addendum.

Crossing the summit of the Chilkoot Pass
(Click image to enlarge)

June 28, 2011

On June 28, 2011 I posted a story about two museum held machine guns used to keep the Soap Gang out of the Klondike. Friend, Gay Mathis, sent me some additional coverage from the Coshocton, Ohio Tribune July 20, 1949. She only sent the excerpt directly dealing with the machine guns and Soapy Smith.

Royal Mounted Police Museum Tells Story of Bloody Frontier

A Maxim Nordenfelt machine gun on display tells a murderous tale of the Yukon gold rush days of 1898-1900. The weapon was to intimidate the Soapy Smith gang which was preying on individuals and small groups of miners leaving the gold fields for the outside.
Thank you very much Gay. This article is slightly different from what I wrote, in that the museum stated to me that the guns were there to keep the gang out of Canada, and this earlier 1949 article seems to imply that the guns were protecting miners on the American side as well. There was not much the north-west mounted police could do once victims left the Canadian side as they had no legal jurisdiction. There were actually talks of war over the boundary disputes between Canada and the United States so shooting those guns into the American side would not have been likely. The trail from the White Pass summit to Skagway is 14.3 miles and it is unlikely the bunco men working the trails would have cared to walk the entire distance to the summit when a closer to town, five or ten miles would have been sufficient.

June 28, 2011

Machine guns: page 562.

Jeff Smith


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