March 28, 2013

"Slippery Jim" McDonald: Soap Gang member

(Click image to enlarge)

etters and newspaper clippings in the Smith family collections show that there were quite a few more men and women who worked for and with Soapy Smith then the history books indicate. Getting a full count for any one time period is nearly impossible as members of the Soap Gang came and went. Many were visitors to town, who were used for their skills while they resided in the local area before moving on to another location. Some stayed days, while others stayed years. The best I can do is to add the new names to my growing gang profiles and hope to find more details on each person, for example, "Slippery Jim" McDonald.

Recently, a woman named Elaine wrote to me asking if I had any knowledge of a Soap Gang member called "Slippery Jim" McDonald? The man was her grandfather, whom "whilst under the influence" admitted that he once went by that alias as a member of the Soapy Smith gang. I wrote back to Elaine asking her to tell me all she could about her grandfather. I had to admit to her that I have nothing on him, but that many of the members of the gang are still unknown. Following is what she shared.

Hello Jeff,

We have no pictures of my grandfather, only one with his wife and child, he claimed to have been in Alaska with John L Sullivan, the boxer, Jack London the author, involved in Seal poaching and other illegal activities.

He was born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1872 and died in 1946 in Wales. My Aunt Beattie who has also passed away saw a picture of a group of [in her words ] dodgy looking characters and she swears one was her brother under the name of "Slippery Jim" McDonald. The picture was of some of Soapy’s men. He was also arrested and question about a bank robbery in Montreal, the RCMP thought he was the mastermind but he was released, his alibi, he was in the mid Atlantic ocean at the time of the robbery. He traveled to the UK with a boxer Yank Daley they were both prize fighters. He settled down in Wales after a stroke married and raised a family. We have looked for the book and pictures of the gang with no luck. He was known as a real romantic and story teller, claimed to have been a relation to Sir John A McDonald, and various other famous people. We do not know what is in fact true and what was fiction.

So sorry to say, I have no proof he was part of the gang. I have no problems or am ashamed of what he did, but I would have loved to have met any and all my ancestors. Even people with bad reputations had good and bad qualities. I am tracking my ancestry and have my mothers side of the family in the UK back to the 1200 era. Going to have my DNA done to see my maternal and paternal roots and where they have been in the world.

My I do ramble when I get going on family history, but they were real people and had a story to tell of their lives.

Have a great day,

Thank you very much Elaine. I will add his name and information to the list in hopes that one day the whole story may be revealed.


"I seriously cannot wait for the book. I have pics of Soapy's saloon, and pics of him in my tattoo room, and explain some of the Soapy story almost every day to people."
— Ryan Schepp, owner of Cream City Tattoo


1774: Britain passes the Coercive Act against Massachusetts.
1797: Nathaniel Briggs patents a washing machine.
1834: The U.S. Senate votes to censure President Jackson for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.
1864: A group of men attack Federal soldiers in Charleston, Illinois, killing five and wounding twenty.
1865: Outdoor advertising legislation is enacted in New York. The law bans painting on stones, rocks and trees.
1868: “Wild Bill” Hickok and Buffalo Bill supervise prisoners being relocated to Topeka, from Fort Hayes, Kansas.
1883: Apache Indians, led by Chato, kill Judge H. C. McComas and his wife in New Mexico Territory.
1884: Five men convicted of the December 8, 1883, Bisbee Massacre in Arizona Territory are hung.
1885: The Salvation Army is officially organized in the U.S.
1898: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that a child born in the U.S. to Chinese immigrants is a U.S. citizen. The parents were saved from being deported under the Chinese Exclusion Act.
1905: The U.S. takes full control over Dominican revenues.
1908: Congress passes a bill for vehicle licensing and federal registration.

March 24, 2013

McGinty was his name (Soapy Smith's petrified man)

Ashley Smith with "Sylvester"
Alias "McGinty"
Ashley is a great-great-granddaughter of Soapy Smith

Photo by Jeff Smith
(Click image to enlarge)

  just finished the book A Silver Camp Called Creede: A Century of Mining by Richard Huston (2005). It is specially a history of the mines and mining in the Creede area, which is turning out to be valuable. In reading the contents I have only made two notes of information I wanted to investigate or note, but I plan to also cross-reference the index with my files as Soapy has a few documents that mention certain mines by name, as well as a few he had monetary interest in. Naturally, if I find anything I will report it here. The two notes I made involved the date, February 6, 1892, that electricity was turned on in Creede. Electricity in the new camp last four months almost to the day when the June 5 fire destroyed the town, as well as the electric plant. It was 6 months before Creede had electricity again. The other note I made involved a mine, the McGinty lode. The first thing I thought of was McGinty the petrified man that Soapy purchased in Creede.

On page 58 the book published a quote from the Creede Candle newspaper as follows.

The McGinty lode, thought to be an extension of the Ethel, was taken up today by L. S. Cornell. The price was reported is $8,000. Denver parties purchased a half interest in the Stringer lode this week.
The Ethel was one of the first producing mines in Creede but found little information about it as well as the McGinty lode. I am left to wonder if Soapy named McGinty the petrified man after the McGinty mine. Why would he? Perhaps civic spirit, or could it be the location where the petrified man was "found?" Did Soapy possibly have an interest in the mine?

The book gave me a possible clue as to the naming of McGinty the petrified man. In studying the maps supplied in the book I was able to locate the McGinty, as well as the Delaware mines (see maps below) in which Soapy had an economic interest in (Alias Soapy Smith, p. 207). Just those few precious finds make the book a very valuable one to me.

Map showing early Creede mines and veins
Delaware Shaft circled in yellow
Based on Plate 26, U.S.G.S. Bulletin 811-B, 1929
(A Silver Camp Called Creede: A Century of Mining, p. 206)
(Click image to enlarge)

Official Surveys of Creede Camp 1903
Delaware and McGinty mines in yellow
(A Silver Camp Called Creede: A Century of Mining, p. 506-07)
(Click on image to enlarge)

Delaware mine: page 207.

"'Soapy' was as much talked about in his time as any person living in Colorado, and not because he was a public man, nor even because he was a gambler, but because of his peculiarities—because his mode of life and method of operation were different from those of others of his kind. He was an 'original' and therefore a 'character.' He was not an ordinary gambler—he was out of the ordinary."
— George T. Buffum, Smith of Bear City and Other Frontier Sketches, 1906.


1629: The first game law is passed in Virginia.
1664: A charter to colonize Rhode Island is granted to Roger Williams of London.
1765: Britain passes the Quartering Act that requires the American colonies to house British troops in public and private buildings.
1828: The Philadelphia and Columbia Railway is the first state owned railway.
1832: A mob in Hiram, Ohio tar and feathers Mormon leader Joseph Smith, Jr.
1834: John W. Powell is born. He achieves recognition while conducting an expedition in the plateau country of southern Utah and Arizona north and west of the Colorado River in 1869. A second trip down the Colorado was conducted by him in 1871 and in 1873.
1855: Manhattan, Kansas is founded as New Boston, Kansas.
1868: Metropolitan Life Insurance Company is formed.
1872: Four accused outlaws are lynched in Tucson, Arizona Territory.
1880: The first "hail insurance company" is incorporated in Connecticut, known as the Tobacco Growers’ Mutual Insurance Company.
1883: The first telephone call between New York and Chicago is made.
1884: Soapy’s brother-in-law, William S. Light, rides with a legal posse that tracks and kills local Texas outlaw, William Northcott.
1898: The first automobile is sold.
1900: Mayor Van Wyck of New York breaks ground for the New York subway tunnel that will link Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1900: The Carnegie Steel Corporation is formed in New Jersey,

March 23, 2013

Klondike miniseries on Discovery Channel

(Click image to enlarge)

oapy Smith will be a character appearing on the upcoming Discovery Channel miniseries Klondike. All I know about Soapy's part in the production is that actor Ian Hart will be playing the role of Soapy. Hart recently had roles in HBO's Luck and FX's Dirt. Additionally, Hart has had roles in such films as Finding Neverland, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Enemy of the State.

Other names staring in Klondike include Chris Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Tim Roth, Richard Madden, Tim Blake Nelson, Marton Csokas, Conor Leslie, Augustus Prew, and Johnny Simmons.

Ian Hart
Will portray "Soapy" Smith

The miniseries, previously announced last year, is based on Charlotte Gray's novel, Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike, and brings to life the tale about six strangers and their collective fight for survival and wealth in a small frontier town in the remote Klondike. Klondike is a co-production between Discovery, Entertainment One (eOne), and Nomadic Pictures, in association with Scott Free Productions. International distribution is handled by eOne Television. Paul Scheuring (Prison Break, A Man Apart) is the primary writer and will serve as Executive Producer, along with Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker; as well as John Morayniss and Michael Rosenberg for eOne. Eileen O'Neill and Dolores Gavin will serve as Executive Producers for Discovery. Klondike follows the lives of two childhood best friends, Bill and Epstein, in the late 1890s as they undertake the next, gold rush capital in the untamed Yukon Territory. This man-versus-nature tale places our heroes in a land full of undiscovered wealth, but ravaged by harsh conditions, unpredictable weather and desperate, dangerous characters including greedy businessmen, seductive courtesans and native tribes witnessing the destruction of their people and land by opportunistic entrepreneurs. Production begins in March 2013 under the direction of Simon Cellan Jones (Generation Kill, Treme) on location in Alberta, Canada. The series will be produced with assistance of the Government of Alberta, Alberta Film Development Program.

... “Soapy” was later killed at Skaguay by one Reed whom he had displeased. “Soapy,” however, got a Winchester into position in time to take Mr. Reed with him. It was “Soapy's” way. You could never get him to go anywhere alone, being fond of company.
Denver Post, September 22, 1909


1792: The Humane Society of Massachusetts is incorporated.
1813: The first raw cotton-to-cloth mill is founded in Waltham, Massachusetts.
1821: The Philadelphia College of Apothecaries establishes the first pharmacy college.
1822: The city of Boston, Massachusetts is incorporated.
1836: The siege of the Alamo begins during the Texas Revolution, in San Antonio, Texas.
1839: The first express service in the U.S. is organized between Boston, Massachusetts and New York City by William F. Harnden.
1847: Mexican General Santa Anna is defeated at the Battle of Buena Vista in Mexico by U.S. troops under General Zachary Taylor.
1858: The U.S. Senate approves statehood for Kansas.
1861: President Lincoln secretly enters Washington D.C. to take his office after an assassination attempt in Baltimore, Maryland.
1861: Texas is the 7th state to secede from the Union previous to the Civil War.
1870: The state of Mississippi is readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.
1874: Walter Winfield patents a game called sphairistike, later known as lawn tennis.
1875: J. Palisa discovers asteroid #143 (named “Adria”).
1877: Mormon Elder John Lee is executed at the site of the Mountain Meadow Massacre, twenty years previous, for his part in the murder of a wagon party heading to California.
1882: An illegal posse, led by Wyatt Earp out for revenge, has a shootout at Iron Spring, Arizona Territory, with men thought to be the “cowboy’s gang” of Curly Bill Brocius. Earp claims he shot and killed Brocius but later reports indicate the “cowboys” were actually miners, each party believing the other was bad.
1883: Two people are killed by Indians at Point of the Mountain, Arizona Territory.
1883: Alabama is the first state to enact an antitrust law.
1886: Charles Hall completes his invention of aluminum.
1889: President Harrison opens Oklahoma for colonization.
1896: The Tootsie Roll is introduced by Leo Hirshfield.
1904: The U.S. acquires control of the Panama Canal for $10,000,000.
1905: The Rotary Club is founded in Chicago, Illinois.
1910: The first radio contest is held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

March 22, 2013

Soapy Smith and the McDermott cabin in Dyea, Alaska

Did Soapy Smith visit this cabin
The McDermott cabin
Dyea, Alaska

(Courtesy of KGRNHP, 586-85)
(Click image to enlarge)

e know that Soapy Smith arrived in Skagway within a month of its founding. What we do not know is when he visited nearby Dyea. One mention of the Well's Saloon confirms he went there but with no detail of the visit(s). Considering Dyea was already in existence when Skagway was founded it is probable that Soapy surveyed the location for possible business and residence.

The Historic Dyea Area
by Laura McCarley
Southeast Alaska Empire
Juneau, Alaska
December 9, 1977
(Click image to enlarge)

Friend and National Park employee Bob Lyon sent me some information on the McDermott cabin in Dyea in which Soapy supposedly visited. In a 1977 interview (see above) Bill Mathews, mentions Soapy as one of the numerous cabin visitors. Mr. Mathews, now deceased, was a Chilkat Indian who lived most of his life in the Dyea and Skagway area which included the years during the Klondike gold rush where he claims he had personally known Soapy.

Mr. Lyon states that the local story is that the cabin dates to the gold rush but the studies done thus far by the National Park Service show that they are not officially convinced. The cabin study can be found at the following link: Library of Congress

The cabin was moved approximately 1 mile from its original location by the Park Service in order to protect it from further damage until such a time that a more thorough study can be completed.

McDermott Cabin 2009
Historic American Buildings Survey (#AK-225)
National Park Service
(Click image to enlarge)

Bob Lyon sent me the following (condensed) information.

At the time of writing it [The cabin] was owned by the Pattersons. I don't think I'll ever run down the origins—it wasn't on the 1923 homestead survey and a new survey wasn't done when the Pattersons applied for the homestead. Must have been moved in sometime after the 1923 survey, but no one knows by who or when. The original homestead application wasn't approved, as the guy died right after the survey—no heirs.


The evidence I've turned up in the last few weeks suggests—we have no idea where it came from. The only maps are the survey maps from a 1924 homestead survey and the dimensions given don't match the cabin, plus it was, until 2002, in a completely different location from the buildings in the survey. When the homestead was re-applied for in 1947, they didn't do a new survey. So the cabin was either missed in the 1923 survey, which I doubt, or moved in sometime after that and we have no idea when. The only anecdotal account I could find identifies it as gold rush and cites local old timers who said it was from then. I'll attach a copy of the newspaper article by a woman who lived in the cabin, but doesn't say exactly when! Dang these people! The park is supposed to be doing a dendrochronology test on the cabin, which will tell us when the logs were cut. If cut in the 1890s, then it must be gold rush, as no one would use logs to build that had been on the ground for more than a couple of years—not in that climate.

The logs in the McDermott cabin are whole, some of them, so a core sample to the center would do. Don't want to drill all the way through, really. We don't usually date that way, as most don't have such concentric rings.  The 1920s date comes from the homestead application. A.T. Wilson detailed the buildings, though he doesn't actually say he built them, he describes them as "improvements." But he says he had two houses and a barn. The surveyor mentions one house and barn—and none of his measurements of the buildings are very close to Wilson's. And neither Wilson's nor the surveyor's measurements are the same as the McDermott Cabin. Wilson detailed what he had done for qualifying for the homestead patent. He mentioned the buildings and that he'd fenced 60 acres, cleared 20 acres, I think, and listed in some detail the crops he was raising—carrots, cabbage, rye, and a couple others. Considering all the detail, I doubt he would have left out the McDermott Cabin if it was there. So Wilson dies before the patent comes through and he has no heirs they can find. So the patent reverts to the Feds. The Pattersons claimed the same parcel in 1947, getting the patent in 1953—but the Feds didn't do a new survey, just used the one from 1923! So what buildings were on the land, no one can be sure, though we have photos of the cabin from the Patterson's time there in the late 40s, early 50s. But what else might have been on the land, no one knows. There were a fair number of squatters in the valley, too, who moved buildings and built cabins. This isn't a squatter's cabin, I'd say. Squatters didn't usually build this substantially. It's a solid cabin. So, if it wasn't there in 1924, but was in 1947, someone moved it in during that time period. So it could well be the Kinney Bridge toll point, even though the 1947-2002 location is far from the bridge site. But we just don't know, lots of guesses. I'll go with the oral history until I have some reason to disprove it. Oral history can be completely wrong, but is often right, too. So that's why I want the park drilling that sample. Some research cored a bunch of trees in that area, and by comparing overlapping tree rings, he was able to date tree ring events, you know an especially cold or dry winter, that sort of thing, and certainly took it back as far as the gold rush. That's how the Anasazi ruins at Chaco Canyon were dated, by the logs used in the roofs. Which confirmed the carbon dating. My best guess on the cabin is it was gold rush era, moved in by Wilson after the survey, or some squatter, moving one of the buildings from Dyea or vicinity. So I'm done with the nomination unless they do the sampling, then we'll see.

the park has no plans to rehab this building anytime soon. They'd like to turn it into a trail information cabin, but that's way off in the future.  I wouldn't be too surprised if Bill Matthews exaggerated the list of people he saw in the cabin, but I have trouble believing he'd invent the whole thing, that's why I'm going with a gold rush date, unless I find something to definitely disprove that. Dendrochronology would answer some questions. The park has a kit for that and there's a baseline for the Skagway-Dyea area. You can date a tree from the rings, if somebody's done a baseline. 

I found this information very interesting and valuable. I hope you all did as well. I wish to thank Bob Lyon for furnishing this information. For more on the parks plans for Dyea see Administering the Dyea area

Robert Lyon, NPS employee
Southeast Alaska Empire, 12/09/1977.
Library of Congress

"I just finished your book wow! It was like going back in time in a time machine, it’s nice to finally come this close to the truth at last, and get to see Soapy through a much different lens."
—Clyde Vongrad (regarding Alias Soapy Smith)


1622: Indians attack and kill 347 colonists in the James River area of Virginia.
1630: The first legislation to prohibit gambling is enacted in Boston, Massachusetts.
1638: Anne Hutchinsoon, a religious dissident, is expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1733: Joseph Priestly invents carbonated (seltzer) water.
1765: The Stamp Act is passed. It is the first direct British tax on the American colonists, and is repealed on March 17, 1766.
1775: Edmund Burke presents his 13 articles to the English parliament.
1790: Thomas Jefferson becomes the first U.S. Secretary of State.
1794: Congress bans U.S. vessels from supplying slaves to other countries.
1822: The New York Horticultural Society is founded.
1858: James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, age 20, is elected village constable of the Monticello Township, Johnson County, Kansas.
1863: A stagecoach is attacked by Indians near Eight Mile Station in Tooele County, Utah Territory. Passenger Judge Mott takes the reigns and outruns the attackers after the driver is killed and another passenger is wounded.
1871: William Holden of North Carolina becomes the first governor to be removed by impeachment.
1872: Illinois becomes the first state to require sexual equality in employment.
1874: The Young Men's Hebrew Association is organized in New York City.
1875: Silver is discovered in the Pinal Mountains of Arizona Territory.
1877: 3 civilians are reported killed near Fort Clark, Texas.
1881: Outlaw George Manuse, reputed leader of a gang of rustlers in the Powder River region of Wyoming is lynched by vigilantes for killing a deputy sheriff in Miles City, Montana. He was scheduled to hang on April 2. Supposedly his hide was made into a pair of moccasins and a tobacco pound.
1882: Congress outlaws polygamy.
1883: Apache Indians kill three people at the Total Wreck Mine in the Whetstone Mountains, Arizona Territory.
1886: Abilene, Kansas turns on electric lighting for the first time. A local newspaper writes "time will tell whether it will be to the interest of the city to use the same to any extent."
1886: Seattle, Washington turns on electric lighting for the first time.
1903: Niagara Falls runs out of water due to a drought.

March 11, 2013

Soapy Smith museum restoration: part 20

Jeff. Smith's Parlor
Restoration work done (Winter 2012-13)
Courtesy KGRNHP
(Click image to enlarge)

he restoration work on Jeff Smith's Parlor for the Winter 2012-13 is completed. Following are some photographs and details of the work they did. Below is the statement from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park.

Historic Preservation does not take the winter off in Klondike Gold Rush NHP, Skagway. Rehab and repairs continue on Jeff. Smiths Parlor (Soapy's) as west exterior wall gets new and improved siding using interior wood- recycling at its best and keeping original fabric whenever possible.

Jeff. Smith's Parlor
West wall, "before" picture
Courtesy KGRNHP
(Click image to enlarge)

Jeff. Smith's Parlor
Removing deteriorated wood and treatments to improve overall condition of wood
Courtesy KGRNHP
(Click image to enlarge)

Jeff. Smith's Parlor
"new" siding with original wood from interior
Courtesy KGRNHP
(Click image to enlarge)

Jeff. Smith's Parlor
"Before" photo for new/old siding on west wall
Courtesy KGRNHP
(Click image to enlarge)


Jeff. Smith's Parlor museum 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 21, 2012 (Part 10)
March 30, 2012 (Part 11)
June 20, 2012 (Part 12)
August 8, 2012 (Part 13)
August 29, 2012 (Part 14)
September 1, 2012 (Part 15)
September 26, 2012 (Part 16)
October 4, 2012 (Part 17)
December 6, 2012 (Part 18)
December 16, 2012 (Part 19)

"It is reported that there was an attempted hold up on Third street west of Main, Wednesday night, when a stranger alleges that he was stopped in the darkness with the command "hands up." It may be that the stranger was romancing, but if any man or set of men think they can work the hold up business in Skaguay successfully, they will soon realize their mistake. there are still a few trees with good, strong and spreading branches in the city, and rope is to be had at one hundred stores in the town. Our people will not stand any such work as hold-ups. That day has "done" gone. "
Skaguay News, December 9, 1898


1791: Samuel Mulliken becomes the first person to receive more than one patent from the U.S. Patent Office.
1824: The U.S. War Department creates the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Seneca Indian Ely Parker becomes the first Indian to lead the Bureau.
1847: John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman dies in Allen County, Indiana. This day becomes known as Johnny Appleseed Day.
1861: A Confederate Convention is held in Montgomery, Alabama, where a new constitution is adopted.
1865: The forces of Union General William Sherman occupy Fayetteville, North Carolina.
1867: a pony express-type route is established between Helen, Montana Territory and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1881: US. Army Engineer Paymaster Alexander Smith is robbed of the payroll near Florence, Alabama by three bandits identified as outlaw Jesse James, Frank James, and "Wild Bill" Ryan. They relieve Smith of $500 in gold, $4,500 in currency, his watch, and $221 from his purse. They force him to accompany them until midnight, at which time they return his watch, overcoat, and $21 cash and release him.
1882: The Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association is formed in Princeton, New Jersey.
1887: The local Cheyenne, Wyoming newspaper reports that Calamity Jane is in town.
1887: Major Benteen, of Little Bighorn fame, is discharged from military service after being court-martialed for conduct unbecoming an officer. The charge includes entering a store at Fort Du Chesne, Utah, intoxicated, quarreling with civilians and exposing himself.
1888: The "Blizzard of '88" begins to rage along the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard shutting down communications and transportation lines. More than 400 people die before the storm ends on March 14.
1890: Lieutenant Watson reports two Indians slain and three captured in a battle with the 4th Cavalry near Salt River, Arizona Territory.
1901: U.S. Steel is formed when industrialist J. P. Morgan purchases Carnegie Steep Corporation. The event makes Andrew Carnegie the richest man in the world.
1907: President Theodore Roosevelt induces California to revoke its anti-Japanese legislation.

March 9, 2013

Become a member of Friends of Bad Man Soapy Smith

 currently have 80 members on this blog. I want to see that go up to 100. It's easy to join and you won't receive any emails or notices unless you request them! Please click HERE and follow the simple directions. I thank you!

March 6, 2013

Soapy Smith's grave on film, 1963


onna Clayson is a longtime friend of mine from Whitehorse, Canada. Recently she obtained some vintage footage of Skagway, Alaska that contains the graves of Soapy Smith and Frank Reid. The color film has no audio as it was shot in 1963 on 16m Kodachcrome II. Donna gave me permission to upload the footage onto YouTube. I added Scott Joplin's The Entertainer as the background music.

Soapy's grave marker is the fourth placed over his remains. Soapy's Grave Markers is a page on the main website that has more information regarding this particular marker, as well as the others that have graced his final resting place. The remainder of the film shows a ride on the White Pass and Yukon Railroad. I hope you enjoy it.  

"The Killing of Soapy Smith, and the clearing out of the city of the other suspicious characters, will be a great advertisement of Skaguay."
Daily Alaskan, July 25, 1898


1808: The first college orchestra in the U.S. is founded at Harvard University.
1820: The Missouri Compromise is enacted by Congress and signed by President James Monroe. The act admits Missouri into the Union as a slave state, but prohibits slavery in the rest of the northern Louisiana Purchase territory.
1836: The thirteen-day siege of the Alamo ends with the defeat and deaths of the 189 Texas volunteers defending it against a Mexican army of three thousand soldiers.
1854: Several men steal the Pope's Stone from the lapidarium at the Washington Monument in the District of Columbia.
1857: A U.S. Supreme Court decision rules that escaped black slaves cannot sue in federal court to become citizens.
1868: Thirteen settlers are killed and one child kidnapped by Indians at the headwaters of the Colorado River in Texas.
1869: About 20 soldiers from Camp Lowell get a little too drunk while on leave in Tucson, Arizona Territory. Some begin shooting their revolvers, wounding 1 civilian.
1886: The Nightingale becomes the first publication for nurses.
1887: The Southern-Pacific Railroad announces the price of $12 for a one-way fare from Missouri to California. Price wars will eventually drive the fare down to $1.
1895: Jessie Wise, known in Denver, Colorado as "Jessie Smith," commits suicide. She is the six-year-lover of Bascomb Smith, Soapy Smith’s younger brother. He is devastated at hearing the news and witnesses report that he was overwrought with grief and wept uncontrollably.