December 19, 2012

Soapy Smith in Hope, Alaska 1896.

"Party of Gold Miners"
Hope, Alaska 1895
(Click image to enlarge)

ou may recall reading here or in my book that Soapy Smith visited Sunrise and Hope, Alaska in 1896. You might remember I posted here that it had been confirmed that he performed the prize package soap sell racket there, or the letter (artifact #11) he wrote to his wife while on board a steamer headed to the gold fields on Resurrection Creek.

Hope, Alaska
from aboard a ship
circa 1895-96
(Click image to enlarge)

I found three "new" photographs (on eBay) of Hope, Alaska, circa 1895-96 that I want to share with you. One thing that struck me hard is the fact that Soapy successfully performed and won cash and gold from the miners and in this very rough country. It certainly removes any belief that the prize package soap sell racket is a "big town swindle only." It seems obvious to me that one would have to be an amazing master of human nature to convince anyone in this completely primitive and lawless setting, to gamble on buying cash laden cakes of soap in the middle of no-where. Not only did he con the locals, but he freely sailed away without being chased by those who realized they had been taken. One slip-up and Soapy could have found himself swinging from the nearest tree branch.

Hope(ful) miners
Hope, Alaska 1895
(Click image to enlarge)

Sunrise and Hope, Alaska
June 9, 2010
December 13, 2010 

Sunrise and Hope, Alaska: pages 411-13.

"Every crowd has a silver lining."
—P. T. Barnum


1732: Benjamin Franklin publishes his first Poor Richard's Almanac.
1776: Thomas Paine publishes his first American Crisis essay.
1777: General George Washington leads his army of 11,000 to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.
1842: Hawaii's independence is recognized by the U.S.
1863: George Ives is hung in Bannack, Montana Territory for the murder of Nicholas Thiebalt.
1864: Nicholas Earp and family, including son Wyatt Stapp Earp, and six other children arrive by wagon-train in San Bernardino, California from Iowa.
1871: Albert L. Jones wins a patent for corrugated paper.
1880: Outlaws Billy the Kid, David Anderson alias Billy Wilson, Dave Rudabaugh, Charlie Bowdre, Tom O'Folliard, and Tom Pickett are ambushed in New Mexico Territory by Lincoln county Sheriff Pat Garrett and several deputies who fire on the outlaws. Pickett and O'Folliard are shot dead from their saddles. Rudabaugh's horse is shot and collapses, but Rudabaugh manages to mount Anderson’s horse and escapes with the Kid and Bowdre.
1887: Jake Kilrain and Jim Smith fight a bare knuckle boxing match fight which lasts a seemingly impossible 106 rounds. The fight is halted due to darkness and Kilrain is given the win.
1893: Soapy Smith files a $5,000 damage suit in Denver against Charles G. Chever and William B. Palmer at whose property at 1705 Larimer had a coal-delivery hole which was left open and he fell in. Outcome of the suit is unknown.
1903: The Williamsburg Bridge opens in New York City. It is the largest suspension bridge in the world 1924. It is the first major suspension bridge to use steel towers to support the main cables.
1907: A coalmine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania kills 239 workers.

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