March 18, 2012

Soapy Smith in Astoria, Oregon 1882.

From my book, Alias Soapy Smith, we know that Soapy Smith was in Portland, Oregon operating the prize package soap sell racket in August 1882 and Salem, Oregon in September 1882. I recently discovered that he most likely also visited Astoria, Oregon around the same time. The very last sentence of the following newspaper article gives what little details we will most likely ever know as he was not arrested. 


According to a Chicago street "fakir," the public is so easily gulled that imposters and sharpers actually despise their fellow men for their sheep-like stupidity. A man he knew of ran a perfectly square game which was an out-and-out swindle, but which brought in the best people in the town. He had a pile of gold and a pile of silver coin. By paying half a dollar a person could throw dice. If he threw six sixes he look gold; if six aces, silver. No one ever did it. It was next to an impossibility, and the man raked in several hundred dollars and left. A follow traveling down in California, lately, who had scarcely money enough to buy a few bars of transparent soap, cut the soap in very small pieces, wrapped them in tissue paper and tin foil, sprinkled them with cologne, took a sponge saturated with benzene and arnica, with it he washed the grease spots out of coats and hats that came along, pretending it was the soap, and in three hours, with a glib tongue and a little rubbing, disposed of $36 worth of what had cost him almost nothing. Another chap held forth at Bergman & Berry's corner here a few weeks ago, with a skin game where soap was sold at a dollar a cake, worth about a dollar a barrel, with a "chance'' to win--a blank.
The Daily Astorian, October 06, 1882

Portland, Oregon
December 20, 2009
September 21, 2009

Salem, Oregon
September 24, 2009

Portland, Oregon: pages 38, 42, 119, 166, 429, 440, 468, 519, 530, 549, 582.
Salem, Oregon: page 39.

1892: Soap Gang member, Joe Simmons dies of pneumonia in Creede, Co.
1898: Formation of the Skagway Military Company in Skagway, Alaska.


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