August 6, 2011

My favorite blog: Skagway Historical Society

(Click image to enlarge)

As much as I copy and paste from them, it's little wonder that my favorite blog is the Skagway Historical Society. I have learned so much new information, as well as confirmed much of my own research. Following are some of the interesting tidbits that have been essential in my own research on Soapy Smith.

In my book I published that the first issue of The Skaguay News on October 15, 1897 reported 11 saloons and that at the height of the gold rush the camp held 70 of Alaska's 142 saloons (p. 441). Back on July 6, 2011 The SHS blog listed 82 saloons in Skaguay during the gold rush. It is not known how many of these could have been opened later, or if I need to adjust my books figures. Here is the list.

5th Ave Hotel and Saloon
Alert Saloon
Al-ki Saloon
Annex Saloon
Arctic Hotel
Arctic Saloon
Astoria Hotel
Balmoral Saloon
Bay View Hotel
Beer by the Quart Saloon
Bloom & Korach
Board of Trade Saloon
Brady's Saloon
Broadway Saloon
California Pack Train Saloon
City Brewery
Clancy's Saloon
Club Saloon
Comet Saloon
Comique Variety Hall & Saloon
Commerce Saloon
Cosy Saloon
Cripple Creek Saloon & Peoples theatre
Dewey Saloon
Everyman's Saloon & Douglass Lodging House
First and Last Chance Saloon
Gem Saloon
Hannah Marr Bar
Hoff & Gem Saloon
Horseshoe Saloon
Hotel Chilkoot
Hotel Grand Bar
Idaho Saloon
Jeff's Place*
Jewell Saloon
Jimmy Ryan Nuggett Saloon
Klondike Saloon
La Fiesta Saloon
Little Star Saloon
Lobby Music Hall or Libby Saloon
Log Cabin Saloon
Louvre Saloon
Merchant Saloon
Midway Saloon
Miner's hotel
Mint Saloon
Mirror Saloon
Montana Saloon
Monte Carlo Hotel
New Brewery Saloon
Owl Saloon
Pack Train Saloon
Palace Hotel Bar Bennett
Palace of Delight
Hot Scotch Saloon
Payne & Peterson saloon
Picture Saloon
Pioneer Saloon
Princess Saloon
Pullen House Hotel
Rainier Saloon
Red Onion Saloon
Seattle Bar
Seattle Saloon or the Gentleman's Saloon
Skagit Saloon
Smug Saloon
Summit Roadhouse
Surprise Saloon
The Bank
The Kentucky House Saloon
The Monogram Saloon
The Monte Carlo Bar
The Office Saloon
The Palace Royal
The Peerless Saloon
Theatre Royale
Victoria House Lodging & Saloon
White Navy Saloon
Wonder Saloon

*Note that Jeff Smith's Parlor is called Jeff's Place.

Those who have read my book know about the controversial murder and robbery of the Skagway soiled dove, Ella Wilson and how Denver madam, Mattie Silks, blamed Soapy and U. S. Deputy Marshal Sylvester Taylor for the horrendous deed. My book goes into great detail about everything known about Wilson's death and Silk's later accusations. The facts don't add up that Soapy would murder. To protect criminals who murdered, yes, but to instruct and play out a murder has to be wondered. Marlene McClusky of the SHS blog wrote the following on August 2, 2011

The New York Times of March 22, 1898 reported that a black prostitute had shot and killed a laboring man at the entrance to her cabin in the saloon district in Skagway. According to the captains of the Alki and the Hueneme the murder started as a result of trouble which began early on Monday evening over the disappearance of the man's watch.

Apparently nothing was done to investigate this, but on May 28, 1898 - only two months later, Ella D. Wilson, a black prostitute or laundress, was strangled in her bed and her belongings stolen. Her house was on Holly Street, the same neighborhood. Perhaps the murder of Ella Wilson was simply retribution or frontier justice for the earlier murder. Although it was widely rumored that she had $3000, it is highly unlikely that a poor black prostitute could have amassed that much money. Even the high priced call girls made little money. Anyway I will check the local newspapers and see if there is a connection....

Camp of the duped
George B. Winter Jr and Dr. Josiah Jones(Click image to enlarge)

The last entry actually has nothing to do with Soapy, except to show that he was not the only one taking advantage of people's pocket book. Marlene posted the following on August 4, 2011.

Ok, two more good citizens duped into investing hundreds of dollars in the "Evanston Klondike Gold Mining Company". The so called promoter convinced both George B. Winter Jr., a successful grocer and Dr. Josiah Jones, a physician and surgeon, both of Evanston Illinois to give him the money up front to purchase supplies and set up camp for them. He was also supposed to help them stake gold claims. When they arrived in Alaska, the promoter and their money was no where to be found. Shocking!

Seen above is their camp at Sheep Camp.

Thank you Marlene!

Ella Wilson: pp. 507-512.

Mattie Silks: pp. 258-59, 355, 505, 507-13.

Jeff Smith


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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