July 7, 2012

A toast to Soapy Smith's ghost.

uly 8 is a big day for the family and fans of bad man Soapy Smith, aka Jefferson Randolph Smith II. It was on July 8 1898 that Soapy was shot and killed by Frank Reid and Jesse Murphy on Juneau Wharf, Skagway, Alaska. In 1977 my family and I visited Skagway and there, with the cast of the Days of 98 Show, we held the first "wake" over Soapy's grave. This year marks the 114th anniversary of Soapy's death, the 35th anniversary for Skagway's wake, and the 9th anniversary for the Soapy Smith Night (wake) held at the Magic Castle.

I hope you are able to attend one of the events being held across the U.S., but even if you are unable to, I would like to invite all of you join us, no matter where you are, no matter what you might be drinking at the time, to raise your glass at approximately 9:15 p.m. (your time) and drink a toast to this amazing character of the old west.

I enjoyed and wish to share with you what Friends member, Hyam A. Shyster, a magician, had to say today on Facebook.

"The next week for me are officially declared Soapy Smith days and will be dedicated to the memory of the best bad guy you ever wanted to like, Jefferson R. Smith. ... My birthday is July 12 between now and then I will honor Soapy as all my shows will be tributes to him. ... Soapy Smith is one of my hero's and is an icon of American history. I'm glad to honor men like him. Soapy inspired the name Hyam A. Shyster (say the full name to yourself) has also been the inspiration for the type of shows I do."
Thank you very much for that fine offer of tribute Mr. "Shyster." Soapy would be proud.

1754: Kings College (Columbia College) opens in New York City.
1846: U.S. annexation of California is proclaimed at Monterey after the surrender of a Mexican garrison.
1862: The first railroad post office is tested on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad in Missouri.
1867: The 8th Cavalry reports one soldier wounded in action against Indians at Beale's Spring, Arizona Territory.
1875: Indians kill three members of the 7th Infantry near Camp Lewis, Montana Territory.
1876: Jesse and Frank James, Cole, Jim and Bob Younger, Clell Miller, Charlie Pitts, and Bill Chadwell stop and rob the Missouri Pacific train of $15,000 as it slowed to cross an old railroad bridge east of Otterville, Missouri.
1879: Caldwell, Kansas lawman, George Flatt, along with Constable W. C. Kelly, Deputy John Wilson and W. H. Kiser shoot it out with George Wood and Jake Adams in the Occidental Saloon. Flatt is credited with killing the two men.
1885: G. Moore Peters patents the cartridge-loading machine.
1898: The U.S. annexes Hawaii.
1898: Rev. John Sinclair takes a photo of Soapy Smith on his horse. It is the last known photograph of Soapy alive as he is killed in a gunfight the following day.
1898: John Stewart arrives in Skagway with a poke of gold. The following day he will be robbed of his gold by the Soap Gang, which causes a chain reaction leading to Soapy Smith’s death.
1903: A shootout in Parachute, Colorado on July 5 ends in the suicide of a man authorities claim is Harvey Logan, alias “Kid Curry.”

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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