June 30, 2012

Soapy Smith ranks 6th place.

amily member and Friends of Bad Man Soapy Smith member, Christina Kelley "Tina" Marshall sent me the following "Top Ten" video on CON MEN. Soapy Smith is #6 in the ranking. His story starts at 01:08 on the timer. The two sources mentioned for the bit on Soapy are the books, Scams by T. Ogunjobi and Which End of a Buffalo Gets Up First? by G. Hubbard. I found no information when I Googled the first book. I have heard of the second book but have not read it. I am guessing it is just the usual general information. It's good to see people are noticing Soapy as an important figure of history. Enjoy the video.

1841: The Erie Railroad rolls out its first passenger train.
1859: Charles Blondin becomes the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
1863: George A. Custer, age 23, is made brigadier general of Union Army volunteers.
1864: On the western slopes of the California Sierra Nevadas Yosemite, Valley Park becomes the first state park in the US. It is named after the Yosemite Indians.
1867: The 18th Infantry and Indians fight near Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming.
1882: Edward Fulsom, a hardened criminal who fled to the Indian Territory to escape justice in February 1881, is hanged in Fort Smith, Arkansas, for the murder of William Massingill, whom he beat to death with his pistol butt during a saloon brawl. Dropping from the gallows did not snap Fulsom's neck and the outlaw's pulse continued for sixty-three minutes before the doctors pronounced him dead.
1891: The first passenger train ascends the summit at Pikes Peak Mountain, Colorado. In 1806 it was thought that no one would ever succeed in climbing the mountain.
1893: Texas Ranger Captain Frank Jones is killed by Mexican cattle thieves, Jesus Olguin and his son, Severio, when he attempted to arrest them. The Olguins were never prosecuted because the incident occurred on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.
1895: Three armed men escape from the Oklahoma County Jail in Oklahoma City. The men are Bob and Bill Christian, held for the murder of a Pottawatomie County deputy Sheriff, and Jim Casey, held for the murder of a Canadian County deputy sheriff. Chief of Police John Jones and Officer G. Jackson confront the escapees at Grand and Broadway and a gunfight ensues, in which Chief Jones and Jim Casey are killed. The Christian brothers escape.
1908: An explosion in Siberia, knocks down trees in a 40-mile radius and struck some people unconscious near the 40 mile mark. It was believed by some scientists to be caused by a falling fragment from a meteorite.

June 29, 2012

Soapy's soap: Souvenir of the Day's of '98 Show

Soapy's Soap
from The Day's of 98 Show

onathan Hays, co-owner of the Day's of '98 Show (With Soapy Smith), in Skagway, Alaska previewed the brand new Soapy Soap line, based on the prize package soap sell racket. Hays says, "The bills feature Soapy's portrait, his photograph as Grand Marshall of the 4th of July Parade, and our company logo. The soap sells (*ahem*) for $5 a bar, and comes in several fragrances, including Eucalyptus Spearmint, Sunshine Magic, Rosewood, and Cedarwood Sage.

We're looking for a new (that is, "old") tripe and keister for our display." To order, please contact info@thedaysof98show.com!

1652: Massachusetts declares itself an independent commonwealth. 
1767: The British Parliament approves the Townshend Revenue Acts. The acts imposed import duties on glass, lead, paint, paper and tea shipped to America. 
1776: The Virginia constitution is adopted and Patrick Henry is made governor. 
1804: Privates John Collins and Hugh Hall of the Lewis and Clark Expedition are found guilty by a court-martial consisting of members of the Corps of Discovery for getting drunk on duty. Collins receives 100 lashes on his back and Hall receives 50. 
1857: At Solomon's Fork on the Kansas River, Kansas, Lieutenant J. E. B. Stuart is wounded in a fight with Cheyenne Indians. 
1860: The first iron-pile lighthouse is completed at Minot’s Ledge, Massachusetts. 
1863: Deputy Dillingham is murdered by the outlaw gang known as the “Innocents,” at Alder Gulch, Montana Territory. 
1878: Justice Wilson issues an arrest warrant for Alexander A. McSween during the Lincoln County War, New Mexico Territory. 
1879: Crow scouts kill six Indians at Alkali Creek, Montana Territory. 
1883: Tualisto, a member of the Creek Indian tribe, is hanged in Fort Smith, Arkansas after being convicted of robbing and murdering Emanuel Cochran, on July 6, 1881. Before he was hung, he announced to the spectators that the four buttons sewn into his hat were taken from the four white men he had killed. 
1893: Texas Ranger Frank Jones is killed by Mexican cattle thieves, Jesus Olguin and his son, Severio, when he attempted to arrest them. The Olguins were never prosecuted because the incident occurred on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. 
1897: The Chicago Cubs score 36 runs in a game against Louisville, setting a record for runs scored by a team in a single game.

June 26, 2012

Scott Silver: The Floor of Heaven film: Part 7.

Screenwriter Scott Silver laughs as he gives his keynote speech
for the North Words Writers Symposium at Poppies.
photo by Katie Emmets

cott Silver, the writer who has been working on the screenplay for The Floor of Heaven, based on the book of the same name, was the keynote speaker during a recent trip to Skagway, Alaska. It was perfectly timed visit that surely helped Mr. Silver gather an authentic perspective on the landscape, considering little has changed since the days of the gold rush.  

The following article was published on June 8, 2012 by the Skagway News.

Symposium showcases screenwriter
By Katie Emmets

The third annual North Words Writers Symposium included panel discussions, train rides and an Oscar-nominated screenwriter.

This year’s keynote speaker was Scott Silver, who wrote 8 Mile and co-wrote The Fighter, which was nominated for best original screenplay.

Right now, Silver is adapting The Floor of Heaven, a gold rush book by last year’s symposium keynote speaker, Howard Blum.

Since getting the contract for the adaptation, Silver has been in contact with local publisher Jeff Brady to check facts and ask historical questions.

Brady and symposium co-founder Buckwheat Donahue thought it would be a great idea if Silver came from his home in New York City to see Skagway up close, so Donahue invited him to be the keynote speaker.

And he came – with his wife, stepson and daughter, who enjoyed Skagway streets and played with husky puppies on the Denver Glacier.

Although he was already adapting another book for the silver screen at the time The Floor of Heaven contract became available, Silver said he fought hard to get it.

“I thought it was great,” Silver said of Blum’s book, adding that his adaptation will be nothing like it.
“There will be some similarities,” he said. “But when I read it, I found certain things I really liked that I am going to expand on.”

Although it was great to be in Skagway this year, Silver said, he wished it was 1898 so he could interview the men who he will be writing about: cowboy turned Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo, Jefferson R. “Soapy” Smith, and, to a lesser extent, George Carmack.

“I can’t make up things,” Silver said. “I have friends who can make up characters from their heads, but I can’t. I like being able to talk to people when I’m creating a character about them.”
Because he can’t talk to Siringo or Smith, he uses music as an avenue to get into each character’s head.
In his iPod, the characters have their own playlists filled with music that reminds Silver of what he thinks they’re like.

“For Soapy, I listen to a lot of the score from “There will be Blood,” he said. “And for Siringo, I listen to a lot of the “Assassination of Jessie James” soundtrack. Siringo also has a western vibe, so I’ve been watching a lot of “The Unforgiven.”

After giving his keynote speech at the banquet at Poppies on June 1, Silver asked faculty and participants if anyone had tips or opinions they wanted to share about his in-the-works adaptation of The Floor of Heaven, It opened up a more than 20-minute conversation about negative impressions of the book, mostly about the author’s lack of understanding of the north country.

“After his keynote speech, people were really slamming him for something someone else wrote,” Donahue said. “But he took control of what could have been a potentially dangerous conversation and turned it around.”

Donahue has since talked to several faculty members, and they have applauded Silver for asking for suggestions and sticking out criticisms.

“They said they have never seen a keynote speaker stand up and say ‘if there is anything you guys want to tell me about, go ahead,’ ” Donahue said. “Most speakers give their keynote speech and stand in line and shake everyone’s hand, but he stood in front of everyone and said ‘hit me with your best shot.’ ” ... [The remainder of the article had to do with future meetings of the symposium.]

As some of you already know, Mr. Silver has been working with me on the Soapy Smith character. I found out from Jeff Brady that Mr. Silver was speaking with him as well. Above, Mr. Silver asked his audience for tips and opinions. I found this to be very refreshing. He's not pretending to know everything, and does not have the big ego of so many of his peers. I have a great feeling about this film, IF it is completed.

Like Mr. Silver, I too listen to "mood music" when writing about Soapy. His choice comes from the film, There Will Be Blood. You can hear some of this music playing back-to-back here.

I have a variety of tapes and CD's I listen to, but perhaps the two songs that remind me of a Soapy Smith related film come from the PBS film, The Way West, which has fueled my imagination for several years now. In my movie fantasy I imagine that the film is ending. Soapy has been shot dead and people are running about when the first of the two songs begins to play. The camera begins to pan back from the gunfight scene at a slow, even pace, until all of Skagway comes into view. The camera keeps moving back until finally Skagway is but a dot on the screen and the star of the scene is the majestic scenery of the bay, the mountains, and glaciers. The two songs are to be played back-to-back as they sound like they are one song.

Disc #2
1. Native American Theme 1:12 min.
2. Native American Theme (Orchestral) 2:42

If you really want to hear the two songs you can find them online but most are pay to hear. Rhapsody appears to have a free trial in which you can hear music. I have not signed up for this so please use your own judgement. While there on the site (HERE) you can see all the songs of the 2-disc album. Scroll down to song 22 and 23, the names are above. Let me know what you think!

The Floor of Heaven: The film
April 22, 2012: Part 6
March 26, 2011: Part 5
March 9, 2011: Part 4
March 8, 2011: Part 3
February 4, 2011: Part 2
October 3, 2009: Part 1

1804: The Lewis and Clark Expedition reach the mouth of the Kansas River after completing a westward trek of nearly 400 river miles. 
1819: The bicycle is patented by W. K. Clarkson, Jr. 
1844: John Tyler takes Julia Gardiner as his bride, thus becoming the first U.S. President to marry while in office. 
1867: A detachment of the 38th Infantry battle Indians near Wilson's Creek, Kansas. 
1867: A detachment of the 7th cavalry fight with Indians on the south fork of the Republican River, Kansas. Members of the 7th also battle Indians near Fort Wallace. 
1868: Ben Thompson begins a two-year sentence in the Huntsville, Texas penitentiary after being found guilty of "intent to kill." 
1870: The first section of the boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ, is opened to the public. 
1872: The town of Tucson, Arizona Territory is established. 
1876: Lt. Bradley and his Crow Indian scouts are the first to learn of General Custer's Massacre in Montana Territory from smoke signals sent by Custer's Crows, Harry Moccasin, Goes Ahead, and White Man Runs Him. The scouts had been dismissed before the battle. 
1876: Major Reno and his portion of the 7th Cavalry are still under attack in Montana Territory. The Indians end their attack at sunset. 
1894: The American Railway Union calls a general strike in sympathy with Pullman workers. 
1900: The United States announces that it would send troops to fight against the Boxer rebellion in China.

June 20, 2012

The innards of "Dangerous Dan" McGrew: Parlor restoration part 12

Preparing to X-ray "Dangerous Dan McGrew" 
Dahl Memorial Clinic (Skagway, Alaska)
(L to R) Med. Asst., Sarah Phillips, Interns N. Peters and K. Bonanno, Med. Asst., Melissa Horman
photo courtesy of Sarah Phillips

knew from visiting inside Jeff Smith's Parlor back in 1977, how the animatronic figure of Soapy Smith functioned. Using auto parts, gears, and chains tucked neatly beneath the floor, Martin Itjen made the effigy of Soapy come to life when visitors opened the front door to enter. The internal workings made Soapy's head turn towards the front door and his eyes, made of light bulbs, would light up. At the same moment his right arm (holding a mug of beer) would raise, in a welcoming toast to the visitors to his saloon. I did not, however, know how "Dangerous Sam" operated. Several books have given descriptions of the little play that is performed each time the door is opened, which includes Soapy shooting Sam. From what I have learned thus far I do not believe there was a shootout of any sort. I am beginning to believe that the shootout scenario came to be in the fertile imagination of someone who probably never imagined that the animatronic figures would ever be operating for the public again. It surprises me that no one from the old days in Skagway can or has given a full play-by-play account.

The Soapy automaton was carefully removed from the Parlor and made a trip to the State Museum in Juneau for a temporary exhibit. It now resides in storage in Skagway awaiting completion of the Parlor restoration, so that it may once again welcome visitors. I hope they can set up the mechanism so that modern visitors can see them perform. "Dangerous Dan" remained pretty much a complete mystery to me, until recently.

Jeff Smith's Parlor Museum

Animatronic figures of Soapy Smith and Dangerous Dan McGrew
photo courtesy of the KGRNHP
(Click image to enlarge)

I was browsing through Facebook one day when I came across the photograph at the top, with the following comment by Sarah Phillips.

Melissa Horman and I got to x-ray this guy for the Parks Service last week. He came out of Soapy Smith's Parlor on 2nd Ave. Martin Itjen made him a long time ago and the NPs are fixing him up to put him back into the parlor when it's done getting renovated. Shandra L. Nelsen and Julie Ann; you jealous? We got to x-ray history.

Another angle of "Dangerous Dan" and his crew
photo courtesy of the KGRNHP

I contacted Sarah to find out what I could about the X-ray project and she sent back the following.

Hey Jeff,

The National Parks people brought over some of the mannequins that Martin Itjen made and had put into your Parlor.

We X-rayed them at the clinic so the curators could see what was inside and figure out how they worked since it appeared they had moving parts. It was a big deal and I was really excited to be a part of it. We figured out the guy we were working on (Dangerous Dan McGrew) had tapping feet and it looks like he nods his head as well. Fun little discoveries thanks to the X-ray.

They took several pictures of the process and we gave them a disc with the X-ray images we took. It wasn't perfect but we took enough that they may be able to figure it out once all the images are printed and layed out like a puzzle.

They also invited us to go over to their shops and see the other fun things that were in your parlor that they are restoring and will put back into the building once restorations are complete.

I am taunting Shandra a bit because I know how much she loved your parlor and history in Skagway.
Sarah, I must admit, I very envious too! Oh how I would love to have been there for the X-ray and for the coming visit to the storage building where they are keeping and working on all the items that were once housed in the Parlor.

X-ray of "Dangerous Dan's" head
photo courtesy of KGRNHP

Sarah was also kind enough to send me the news release put out by the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park which furnished me with the following information.
  • The animatronic figures were made by Martin Itjen in the 1930s.
  • They were certain that "Dangerous Dan" moved but not in what capacity. The X-ray showed that he moves his head, taps his foot, and his eyes light up.
  • There were three animatronic figures, the third being "Lady Lou." Nothing about X-raying her was mentioned.
  • The re-opening of Jeff Smith's Parlor is scheduled for 2016. 

Jeff Smith's Parlor restoration

February 4, 2009 (Part 1)
February 19, 2009 (Part 2)  
March 31, 2010 (Part 3)  
August 7, 2010 (Part 4) 
February 11, 2011 (Part 5) 
April 5, 2011 (Part 6)
May 8, 2011 (Part 7)
May 17, 2011 (Part 8)
November 20, 2011 (Part 9)
March 30, 2012 (Part 10)

1782: The U.S. Congress approves the Great Seal of the United States. 
1793: Eli Whitney applies for his cotton gin patent. The cotton gin initiated the American mass-production concept. 
1863: West Virginia becomes the 35th state to join the Union. 
1863: The National Bank of Philadelphia, PA, becomes the first bank to receive a charter from the U.S. Congress. 
1867: Major Frank North leads a company of Pawnee Indian scouts against the Sioux in Black Hills, Dakota Territory. 
1876: George A. Custer and the 7th Cavalry begin the march towards the Little Bighorn River, Montana Territory after scouts inform Custer that 2,000 to 4,000 warriors are camped on the Little Bighorn. 
1876: General Crooks command is joined by Crow and Snake Indians at Goose Creek, Montana Territory as they begin marching, to find Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Crow scouts report a large Sioux village on the Tongue River. 
1887: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show performs for Queen Victoria in London, England. 
1889: Soapy Smith’s Tivoli Club receives its first newspaper report of a swindled victim since its opening in 1888. 
1898: The U.S. Navy seizes the island of Guam in route to the Philippines to fight the Spanish.

June 15, 2012

The story of Vena Blanchard: Employed by Soapy Smith. Part II

Early postcard
circa 1900-1915

March 24, 2012

n March 24, 2012 I posted a story about the possibility of  Vena Blanchard, a madam supposedly employed by Soapy Smith in Creede, Colorado in 1892. Since then I was able to locate and contact Gary and Gloria Meier, the authors of the book, Those Naughty Ladies of the Old Northwest, where Friend's member, Leah found the information. To initially contact them I had to use the USPS ("snail mail"), and I feared being that the book had been published 12-years ago, there was a chance they had moved. Not only was I in luck, but Gary and Gloria have the internet so their response was quick. Unfortunately it was not what I hoped to hear. Following is the response I received.

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the letter.

We regret to report that we no longer have any of our research material for the book. Over the years it has all been distributed to various historical societies.

We lived in Skagway in the early 1980s, and we both seem to recall that our Soapy info came from the museum there. (But it was a long time ago.) Perhaps you could contact them and find what you are looking for.

Skagway Museum and Archives
Box 521
Skagway, AK 99840

Wish we had more for you.

Regards from Oregon,
Gary and Gloria Meier

I emailed and thanked them for the quick and honest reply, and I thank them here again. At this time I have not located this particular story in the archives of the Skagway Museum but I will forward the story and see if I missed something.

1607: Colonists in North America complete James Fort in Jamestown.
1752: Benjamin Franklin experiments by flying a kite during a thunderstorm to show the relationship between lightning and electricity.
1775: George Washington is appointed head of the Continental Army by the Second Continental Congress.  
1836: Arkansas is admitted into the Union as the 25th state.
1844: Charles Goodyear is granted a patent for the process that strengthens rubber.
1846: Great Britain and the United States agree on a joint occupation of the Oregon Territory.
1864: An order to establish a military burial ground is signed by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The location becomes Arlington National Cemetery.
1867: Indians and the 3rd Infantry battle at Big Timbers, Kansas.
1877: General Howard reports four civilians are killed by Nez Perces Indians at John Day's Creek, Idaho Territory.
1877: Henry O. Flipper becomes the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
1878: A military escort takes Jesse Evans from Lincoln to Mesilla, New Mexico Territory to stand trial for the murder of John Tunstall.
1881: The James-Younger gang robs the Chicago and Rock Island train of $1,000 in Winston, Missouri. 1883: The first eastbound Northern Pacific train arrives in Helena, Montana Territory.
1898: The U.S. House of Representatives approves the annexation of Hawaii.
1898: The White Pass and Yukon Railway begins laying track rail in Skagway.

June 14, 2012

Soapy Smith's Pioneer Restaurant

The girl on the wall
well-known landmark in Fairbanks, Alaska

he website for DownTownFairbanks has the following story about the Soapy Smith's Pioneer Restaurant in Fairbanks, Alaska. I have yet to make it that far north but if I do you know where to find me. This is the last of the 3 known Soapy Smith named restaurants around the country and the only one I have not eaten in yet.

by Amy Nordrum

In 1996, Nick Stepovich stepped out onto the scorched roof of Soapy Smith’s Pioneer Restaurant, his family-owned business on 2nd Avenue in downtown Fairbanks, and thought to himself, “This space was meant to be a deck.”

Soon after, his wife Christina helped him knock out a wall and build a sun-drenched deck for customers of Soapy’s, billed as one of the most authentic Alaskan joints in the Interior and serving up trademark King Crab burgers, delicious seafood chowder, prime rib, halibut, and salmon to locals on lunch break and curious visitors.

Sixteen years later, the second story deck of Soapy Smith’s has received a major facelift.

This spring, Nick expanded the deck and installed additional cafe and bar seating, doubling its capacity and adorning it with flower boxes and shade umbrellas. Patrons can perch atop bar stools lining the outer rim of the deck and order a cold one (Soapy’s serves bottled Silver Gulch and Alaskan beers, as well as wine) or choose from a list of appetizers. All while overlooking the street bustle of 2nd Avenue under the “watchful eyes” of the Soapy Smith’s lady painted on the building’s wall and made famous by Into the Wild, who also happens to be knocking one back.

Which means at Soapy’s—you’ll never drink alone.

Nick says to expect growler nights and live music on the new deck later this summer. Better yet, the deck will host a Midnight Sun Beer Garden for the Midnight Sun Festival (Sunday, June 24th) during which music from the MAC Caribou Stage is well within earshot. Festival-goers can climb to the rooftop of Soapy’s and watch the street fair unfold from a bird’s eye view.

Soapy Smith’s is already well-known for its homespun atmosphere and local artifacts like the original theatre seats from the Empress Theatre in the Co-Op Plaza. Nick has a long political and family history in the state which he shares with customers in floor shows during busy times and memorabilia that hangs on every wall.

As Nick puts it, “You’ve got to come to Alaska to get to Soapy Smith’s.” There’s no other place quite like it in the city, state, or elsewhere.

Need one last reason to frequent the new deck atop Soapy’s? It’s the exclusive turf of Bill, the hard-working and sarcastic Soapy’s waiter who never meets a customer without making a new friend.

Tell him we sent you.
Soapy Smith’s Pioneer Restaurant
543 2nd Avenue

Monday-Saturday, 11:00AM-9:00PM

(907) 451-8380

Soapy Smith's Restaurant
May 9, 2012 
May 23, 2011
May 6, 2011
December 19, 2008
August 25, 2008

1775: The Continental Army is founded by the Second Continental Congress for purposes of common defense. This event is considered to be the birth of the United States Army. On June 15, George Washington is appointed commander-in-chief. 
1777: The Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopts the "Stars and Stripes" as the national flag of the United States. 
1834: Cyrus Hall McCormick receives a patent for his reaping machine. 
1834: Isaac Fischer Jr. patents sandpaper. 
1846: A group of U.S. settlers in Sonoma (Mexico at the time) proclaim the Republic of California. 
1865: In Idaho Territory Crazy Horse leads an escape of mostly Sioux Indians, being relocated to Fort Kearney, Nebraska, from the U.S. Cavalry. 
1872: Fort McKeen is established, south of present day Bismarck, North Dakota (Dakota Territory). 
1875: Jefferson Davis declines offer to become the first president of Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University. 
1877: A shootout erupts on the street of Lampasas, Texas as friends and brothers of Clint Barkley run into rival ranchers. Frank Mitchell is killed. 
1882: Outlaw Charles Earl Bowles, known as “Black Bart,” robs the Little Lake-Ukiah stage in California. 1882: Arizona Territory “cowboy-outlaw” John Ringo's body is found shot through the head, sitting under a tree by a passing teamster in the Chiricahua Mountains. Ringo's pistol was clutched in his right hand. The coroner ruled it a suicide, but some claimed he was murdered. 
1893: Philadelphia observes the first Flag Day. 
1900: Hawaii became a U.S. territory.

June 13, 2012

Museum exhibit of A Klondike Tale by Averyl Veliz.

Soapy Smith mesmerizes the crowd selling soap
Art by Averyl Veliz

n 2009 I introduced artist, Averyl Veliz, who has been working on her project, A Klondike Tale since then. The project includes Soapy Smith as the bad guy. In November 2011 the Alaska State Museum set up an exhibit of her work. That exhibit ended January 4, 2012 but lucky for us the museum created an online page for the exhibit. I think you will agree that this story should be made into an animated film. For the entire story please be sure to check out the links below. You can view the online exhibit here.

Averyl Veliz: A Klondike Story
February 5, 2010
November 16, 2009
August 25, 2009 
October 4, 2009 
September 8, 2009 
September 3, 2009 

1777: The Marquis de Lafayette arrives in the American colonies to help with their war against the British. 1789: Ice cream is served to General George Washington by Mrs. Alexander Hamilton.
1825: Walter Hunt patents the safety pin. He sold the rights for $400.
1865: While in Idaho Territory, Crazy Horse sneaks into the Sioux camp being relocated to Fort Kearney, Nebraska, to plan an escape.
1866: The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, designed to grant citizenship to and protect the civil liberties of recently freed slaves, is passed by Congress. It is ratified on July 9, 1868.
1877: Nez Perce Chief Joseph starts off with 250 warriors, 450 women and children, and 2,000 horses, in an attempt to make it to Canada after talks break down when a band of his younger warriors kill eleven settlers. 1878: A posse led by Texas Ranger captain June Peak and Sheriff W. F. Eagan corner the Sam Bass gang near Salt Creek in Wise County, Texas. A gun battle ensues in which Arkansas Johnson is killed and others are wounded. Bass, Barnes, and others from the outlaw gang manage to escape on foot after the posse captures their horses.
1887: Railroad tracks of the St. Paul & Manitoba Railroad cross the eastern boundary of Wyoming. 1888: The U.S. Congress creates the Department of Labor.
1898: The Canadian Yukon Territory is organized. The Yukon separates from the Northwest Territories and is given separate territorial status, two years after the discovery of gold in the Klondike. Dawson City, with about 30, 000 residents becomes the capital.
1904: Oklahoma City Police Officer Joseph Burnett shoots and kills Edward Capehart O’Kelley during an arrest which developed into a brawl. O’Kelley had been only recently released from prison after serving time for the murder of Robert Ford in Creede, Colorado 1892.

June 10, 2012

How did I miss this one?

eriously, how did I miss this? A film about Soapy Smith was scheduled to be released on February 26, 2010 and I knew zilch about it!

While surfing the net I happened across a page on CrimeTV.com about Soapy that someone had copied and pasted the information from Wikipedia, a common practice so it seems. At the top of the page are some page tabs, with one reading, "Contributors." On that page in the lower right side is an info box with the following text.

Distributed by -- Overture Films
Release date(s) -- February 26, 2010
Running time -- 101 Minutes
Country -- United States
Language -- English
Budget -- $20 million
Gross Revenue -- $53,771,250

My first course of action was to look up Overture Films, which I found to be no longer in business, my first clue as to why the film has not been released, if it was ever made. I have yet to locate any other info on the supposed film. According to the Los Angeles Times (July 23, 2010) John Malone's Liberty Media closed down Overture Films when attempts to sell the company showed a lack of profit. Marketing and distribution operations for Overture Films was handed over to Relativity Media. I have contacted everybody I felt might have been involved with the project and thus far have heard nothing back, stay tuned ...

1776: The Continental Congress appoints a committee to write a Declaration of Independence. 
1801: The North African State of Tripoli declares war on the U.S. The dispute is over merchant vessels being able to travel safely through the Mediterranean.
1806: The New York Commercial Advertiser becomes the first U.S. newspaper to cover the sport of harness racing. 
1854: The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, holds its first graduation. 
1856: Frank Jackson, a Sam Bass Gang member, is born in Llano County, Texas. 
1857: First Lieutenant George Crook is wounded by an arrow as he leads the 4th Infantry against Indians in Pitt River Canyon, California. 
1858: The Army takes control of Fort Bridger, Wyoming Territory. 
1859: The Comstock Load is discovered in Utah Territory (Nevada). Over $300 million in silver and gold is taken out of the ground over the next 20 years. 
1865: John Keene is the first person hanged on the "hanging tree" in Helena, Montana Territory. 
1877: John Good, a Texas cattle rancher is accused of being a horse thief by a man named Robinson, and when Robinson's revolver gets tangled in his clothing John Good shoots and kills Robinson with four shots. 1881: The James-Younger gang robs the Davis and Sexton Bank in Riverton, Iowa, of $5,000. 
1885: Salina, Kansas celebrates the arrival of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad. 
1898: U.S. Marines land in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

June 8, 2012

Money Scented Soapy Smith Soap

oday marks the 120th anniversary of Robert Newton Ford's death in Creede, Colorado at the hands of Edward Capehart O'Kelley. I have covered this shooting numerous times here on this blog and have nothing new to add to it. I just wanted to observe it. Now I wash my hands clean of that episode ... but where's the soap? How about using Money Scented Soapy Smith Soap from the Creede Soap and Candle Shop located in Creede, Colorado.

"Play along with our version of Soapy Smith's original con! Soapy and his gang conned thousands while living in Creede from 1892-1894. Soapy would sell bars of soap and tell the ever-growing crowd that several bars in the batch had $100 bills wrapped around them, needless to say people bought the soap hoping to win big! Unfortunately the only people who won the $100 were Smith's fellow con-men! Unlike Soapy's con, each bar of Soapy Smith Soap sold at Creede Soap & Candle Co. will contain either a quarter or $1 coin!

What will you get in your bar $1 or .25 cents? There is only one way to see, scrub-a-dub-dub!!!!"

Price: $4.75

Robert Ford
July 26, 2011
September 16, 2010
February 7, 2010
September 20, 2009 
October 14, 2008

Edward O'Kelley
December 29, 2009

Robert N. Ford: pages 216, 218-21, 246, 273.
Edward C. O'Kelley: page 246.

1786: Commercial ice cream is manufactured for the first time (New York City, New York). 
1790: The first loan for the U.S. is repaid. The Temporary Loan of 1789 was negotiated and secured on September 18, 1789 by Alexander Hamilton. 
1861: Tennessee votes to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. 
1867: Indians fight the 7th Cavalry, Chalk Bluffs, Kansas. 
1869: Ives W. McGaffey receives a U.S. patent for the suction vacuum cleaner. 
1872: The penny postcard is authorized by the U.S. Congress. 
1874: Chiricahua Apache Indian Chief Cochise dies of natural causes on a Arizona Territory reservation at age 62. 
1878: Billy the Kid signs an affidavit against the Seven Rivers Gang in the murder of Frank McNab, New Mexico Territory. 
1885: Three guards protecting a supply train are killed by Indians in Guadeloupe Canyon Sonora, Mexico. 1890: Unknown outlaws stop a Northern Pacific train in New Salem, North Dakota only to find the safe is empty. 
1892: Robert Newton Ford, killer of outlaw Jesse James, is shot and killed inside his tent saloon by Edward Capehart O’Kelley in Creede, Colorado.