June 8, 2013

The Soapy Smith Wake 2013


(Click image to enlarge)

uly 8, 1898 is the date of demise for Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. Of all events to remember, it is this day of death that family descendants gather together to toast the life and history of this amazing nineteenth century confidence man.

      It all started in 1977 when members of the Smith family, including Jeff, his brother and parents, visited Skagway, Alaska. With the cast of the Day's of '98 Show we created the first Soapy Smith wake. It has been called a "wake" ever since. With Jeff's assistance, the Magic Castle started up their own annual event in 2003, but they prefer to call it "Soapy Smith Night." On this website and with the Smith family it will always be known by its original namesake, the Soapy Smith Wake.

There are currently five "wakes" held annually within the United States,
  1. Eagles Hall, Skagway, Alaska. 
  2. Magic Castle, Hollywood, California. 
  3. The Tivoli Club (a reproduction of Soapy's saloon in Denver, Colorado), Whitehorse Ranch movie lot, Landers, California. 
  4. The Wizard's Club, Chicago, Illinois. 
  5. The Lumber Baron Inn, Denver, Colorado.
For more information please visit my main website "wake" page here.


Key word search: wake

"Whenever men like you need to win, they turn to men like me."
— “Nuckey” Thompson, Boardwalk Empire.


1786: Commercial ice cream is manufactured for the first time in New York City.
1790: The first loan for the U.S. is repaid. The Temporary Loan of 1789 is negotiated and secured on September 18, 1789 by Alexander Hamilton.
1861: Tennessee votes to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy during the Civil War.
1867: Indians fight the 7th Cavalry in Chalk Bluffs, Kansas.
1869: Ives McGaffey receives a patent for the vacuum cleaner.
1872: The penny postcard is authorized by Congress.
1874: Chiricahua Apache Indian Chief Cochise, age 62, dies of natural causes on an Arizona reservation.
1878: Billy the Kid signs an affidavit against the Seven Rivers Gang in the murder of Frank McNab, New Mexico.
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.
1904: U.S. Marines land in Tangiers, Morocco to protect U.S. citizens.

June 3, 2013

Soapy Smith in 3D

My stereoviewer and the
Leadville Soapy Smith stereocard

(Click image to enlarge)

fter page 160, in the first of four photograph sections of my book, is an important but grainy copy of a stereoview card taken in Leadville, Colorado on July 21, 1880. In the photograph is Soapy Smith and a partner of his. Also in the photograph is a very blurry ex-President Grant mounted on a horse riding horizontally in the picture, as if going from side-to-side in the street to greet the townspeople.

      Recently, I purchased an antique 1901 Underwood and Underwood stereoviewer so that I could finally see the picture in it's 3-D glory, as it was intended to be viewed. Naturally, I wanted to post my find here, but did not think I could reproduce the 3D effect.

Looking through the stereoviewer lens

I even took a picture through one lens of the stereoviewer, obviously knowing it would be nothing more than an interesting still.
      Then I remembered a website online where there was a collection of stereoview cards were made to look as if they were in 3D by using Photoshop to quickly bounce back and forth between the two images. The brain overlays the images and presto, we have a 3D image from the past. Well, it wasn't "presto" for me. It took about four hours to figure out how to use my animation program that is part of my Photoshop, but I was successful!

I am proud to present, Soapy Smith in 3D

Looking at the photograph, there are two 
men standing just behind the two wagons. 
The one on the left is Soapy Smith


April 4, 2011

Leadville: pages 10, 36-37, 75, 77-78, 116, 123, 134-35, 144, 152, 176, 189, 192, 219, 225, 292, 297, 347, 349, 420, 509, 594.

"Colorado papers continue to tell about “Soapy” Smith’s good qualities. This is nothing but soft soapy."
The Salt Lake Herald, August 3, 1898


1539: Hernando De Soto claims Florida for Spain.
1621: The Dutch West India Company receives a charter for New Netherlands (now known as New York).
1784: The U.S. Congress formally creates the U.S. Army to replace the disbanded Continental Army. On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress had created the Continental Army for purposes of common defense and this event is considered to be the birth of the United States Army.
1800: John Adams moves to Washington D.C. He is the first president to live in the capitol.
1805: A peace treaty between the U.S. and Tripoli is signed in the captain's cabin on board the USS Constitution.
1851: The New York Knickerbockers become the first baseball team to wear uniforms.
1856: Cullen Whipple patents the screw machine.
1860: the Great Comanche Tornado named after a town that it completely destroyed in Iowa, on the Mississippi River, kills more than 175 people between Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Lake Michigan.
1871: The Obocock Bank in Corydon, Iowa is robbed of $15,000 to $45,000 in gold and bills by 24-year-old Jesse James and others. 
1873: A drunken soldier in a Delano, Kansas dancehall shoots Emma Stanley, a dancer, in the leg. Edward “Red Beard” Beard, the proprietor, rushes a group of soldiers in his place, firing a pistol hitting one soldier in the throat and another in the leg. Two nights’ later some 30 soldiers invade Beard's place shooting and wounding gambler Charles Leshhart and another dance hall maiden. The soldiers then burn the dance hall to the ground.
1874: Bessie and Sallie Earp are arrested for opening a house of ill repute in Wichita, Kansas.
1887: William Moore locates the White Pass Trail near the future town of Skagway.
1888: The poem, Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer is published.
1895: James Musgrove, sheriff of the Cooweescoowee District (present day Rogers County) of the Cherokee Nation is shot and killed by "Frog" Davis, a cattle thief, in Catoosa, Oklahoma. Musgrove and Deputy J. Flippin approached Davis’ house to arrest him, but Davis was hiding in an outhouse and began firing at the lawmen hitting Musgrove in the abdomen. Davis escaped and Musgrove died shortly thereafter. The following week Davis was arrested near Tulsa, Oklahoma where he was tried and convicted for the murder.
1895: Two brothers, Bob and Bill Christian, and Jim Casey, escape from the Oklahoma County Jail in Oklahoma City. The brothers were being held for the murder of Pottawatomie County Deputy Sheriff Will Turner. Casey was being held for the murder of Canadian County Deputy sheriff Sam Farris. Chief of Police John Milton Jones, and Officer G. Jackson confronted the escapees at Grand and Broadway. A gunfight broke out during which Chief Jones and Jim Casey were killed. The Christian brothers escaped.
1898: The San Francisco Call publishes a story in which volunteers of Soapy Smith’s private army, the Skaguay Military Company are robbed by a fake doctor.