January 22, 2016

Who are these cute Smith kids - REVEALED

(Click image to enlarge)

ack on May 18, 2010 I posted a couple of photographs from the Mike Moriarty collection. I asked about the kids in one of the photographs (see above) but received no replies.

Fast-forward five years, 8 months:

I received a response from family member Jim Lynch, a great grandson of Soapy Smith's via Soapy's daughter, Mary Eva Smith II.

Hello, Jeff:

You and I are distant relatives as I, too, am a great grandson of Soapy Smith. His daughter, Mary Eva, was my grandmother (my mom’s mom.) We called her “Nana.” You have the attached pic on your website with the words “Who are these cute kids?” They are my Soapy’s grandchildren; Mary Eva’s children; my Aunt Geraldine and Uncle Greg Moriarty. The picture was taken in the back yard of the family’s home on Oakland Ave., in Milwaukee, WI. Aunt Gerl grew up to become a Catholic nun (died 1980), and Uncle Greg a police officer and firefighter (died 2011.)

If interested in additional photos, I have several of Mammy, Mary Eva, and a few of Mary Eva’s brother, Jeff. I’m guessing he would be Soapy Jr., and perhaps your grandfather??

Jim Lynch

Jim and I are talking family history and he sent along some fantastic early photographs, of which I plan to share in an upcoming post.

"The boys who had the money won it in a fair game and they should keep it." He also said he, "had a hundred men who would stand behind him and see that they were protected." The judge finally told him he [Smith] could not afford to stand up for a gang of thieves; but he [Smith] almost screamed—"Well, Judge, declare me in with the thieves. I’ll stay with them," and with that he passionately beat the table with his fist and left the room.
Daily Alaskan
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 529.


1864: Christopher Lower, David Renton alias "Doc Howard," and James Romain are found guilty in Lewiston, Idaho Territory for the murder of Lloyd Magruder. Billy Page, who was not involved in the murder plot but did help the murderers flee, turned state's evidence and was acquitted and released.
1872: Grand Duke Alexis of Russia arrives in Topeka, Kansas.
1872: The Society of Colorado Pioneers Association is founded in Denver, Colorado Territory.
1876: 125 miles east of Camp Supply the 5th Cavalry battles with Indians, killing 3 and wounding 4 on the Cimarron River, Indian Territory.
1877: Merritt Horrell is shot to death by John Higgins in the Matador Saloon, Lampasas, Texas, during the Horrell-Higgins Feud.
1879: James Shields begins a term as a U.S. Senator from Missouri. He had previously served Illinois and Minnesota. He was the first Senator to serve three states.
1882: Marshal George Brown is murdered in Caldwell, Kansas. He is replaced with Ben “Bat” Carr and his assistant Henry Brown.
1883: The Fifty Cent Act of Texas is repealed due to fraudulent speculation. The Fifty Cent Act, advocated in July 14 1879 provided for selling public land at fifty cents an acre. Proceeds were to be used to pay debts and establish a school fund. About fifty-two Texas counties were created from the sale of 3,201,283 acres for $1,600,641.55.
1884: The Northern Pacific Railroad completes the Bozeman Pass tunnel in Montana Territory.
1889: The Columbia Phonograph Company is formed in Washington, D.C.
1890: Montana pioneer and vigilante John “X” Beidler, 58, dies in Helena. His funeral draws 1,200 mourners to the Ming Opera House.
1891: Bad man Dick Hawkins, an ex-faro dealer for Soapy Smith, robbed the faro table at the Arcade club rooms in Denver, Colorado. He then did the same at the Nickle Plate, and successfully escaped.
1895: The National Association of Manufacturers is organized in Cincinnati, Ohio.

January 21, 2016

Jeff Smith's Parlor to re-open.

Skagway, Alaska
Circa 1940

Courtesy of Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
(Click image to enlarge)

pening May 6, 2016

Since December 2008 Soapy Smith fans have awaited the restoration and reopening of one of Skagway, Alaska's most famous buildings. the date is May 6, 2016. KHNS Radio interviewed Karl Gurke, a historian with the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. 

Jeff Smith’s Parlor is set to open in Skagway on May 6. The museum will feature thousands of Klondike Gold Rush-era artifacts, bringing visitors and locals back to the wild days in the Gateway to the Klondike.

Jefferson Randolph ‘Soapy’ Smith was perhaps the most notorious character in the motley crew that dominates history books about the Klondike Gold Rush.

“So, he was involved in prostitution, gambling and he was involved in a several saloons, but he was also involved in some interesting cons.”

That’s Karl Gurcke, a historian with the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. Gurcke says Soapy Smith came to Skagway in 1897 with no intention of staking a claim in Dawson City. He simply saw a chance to make a fast buck off hopeful, gold-seeking Cheekchakos.

Gurcke says one of his most famous scams was his telegraph company. Weary would-be gold miners could send messages and, if needed, money home. Smith would charge for each message out and each message received.

“Of course, as it turns out, that the telegraph wires just went a little bit beyond the house. They never went down to Seattle, so it was all a con.”

His nickname ‘Soapy’ also came from a con. He sold soap with the lure of a $10-bill wrapped inside, causing a frenzy. Of course, there was no money, and Smith’s soap stand was long gone when the mob came to protest. Remnants from those days and much more are set to be housed in the renovated museum, opening in May.

Ben Hayes is chief of interpretation and education at the Klondike Gold Rush Historic Park. The Park Service has been working since 2008 to restore the old parlor and refurbish a large collection of artifacts.The building dates back to 1897 when it was built to house the Bank of Skagway.

“In 1898, it was leased to Jefferson Randolph ‘Soapy’ Smith, who ran his con artist … his gang of nefarious people who were fleecing some of the stampeders from that very building until he was killed in a gun fight on July 8, 1898,” says Hayes.

The building served several different purposes over the decades, including as a bar, a French restaurant, and the Skagway Volunteer Fire Department’s Hook and Ladder Co. garage. Long after the death of Skagway’s top con man, the building was acquired by a German tour promoter. It became Jeff Smith’s Parlor museum in the late ‘30s and, back then, was even complete with working robots.

“Like robotic Jefferson Smith who would stand at the bar and greet you when you came in,” says Hayes. “He had a gun in one hand and a beer in the other. There’s this guy in the corner sitting, his name is Dangerous Dan McGrew, he kind of looks like Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses. He would greet you as well and then there was Lady Lou in the restroom, who, when you open the door would scream at you.”

When the overhauled museum opens in the spring it will include those old robots, though they’re past their gun-waving, bathroom-screaming primes.

“Unfortunately, at over 80 years old, we can’t operate them, but we did some interesting work with the community to figure out how they once worked, including we took them over to the Dahl Memorial Clinic and had the m X-rayed to figure out, without taking apart these handmade, delicate machines, how they functioned,” says Hayes.

The building was moved in 1963 to its current location on 2nd Avenue, across from the Red Onion Saloon. Hayes says refurbishing it has been a painstaking process.

“This building helped preserve that legacy and build a legend.”

The collection that came with the building includes 450,000 items. It was acquired, along with the building, by George and Edna Rapuzzi after the original museum proprietor died in the ‘40s. The Rapuzzis ran the museum in the ’60s and ‘70s. It then went to the Rasmuson Foundation, which transferred it to the Park Service and the Borough of Skagway in 2008.

Tours of the museum will be guided and cost $5. The fee to enter helps with cost recovery, Hayes says. The Park Service held a community forum last month in Skagway so people could weigh in on the decision to charge for a tour. The comment period is open until the end of January. But, Hayes adds that 19 free days are planned over the summer, including the entire first week of May and a week in mid-August when the Park Service celebrates its centennial.

Hayes and Gurcke agree that the rough and tumble Gold Rush history is still very much alive in Skagway, and with the opening of the revamped museum, visitors and locals will be able to experience it for themselves, without the menacing con men, of course.
Source: Legend of Soapy Smith lives on in Skagway

Restoration of Jeff Smith's Parlor
(This link contains posts since 2009, be sure to scroll) 

Kindhearted, generous Soapy Smith is known to many men. Many know him, too, as a man who would stand by his friends to the end. Many others know him as a bitter enemy. When he thinks he is right, he stands by it, and when it is the other way, he stands by that, too.
Denver Republican
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 213.


1789: W. H. Brown's Power of Sympathy also known as the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth is the first American novel to be published.
1812: The Y-bridge in Zanesville, Ohio is approved for construction.
1846: The first issue of the Daily News, edited by Charles Dickens, is published.
1853: Dr. Russell L. Hawes obtains the patent the envelope folding machine.
1861: Jefferson Davis of Mississippi resigns from the U.S. Senate. Four other southern senators also resign. Davis goes on to become president of the Confederacy.
1865: An oil well is drilled by torpedoes (dynamite) for the first time.
1872: In the excitement of his first kill of the day in Kit Carson, Colorado Territory, Russian Grand Duke Alexis kisses George Custer.
1874: Alfred Packer leads a group of prospectors from Utah to the valley of the Uncompahgre River in Colorado Territory. They arrive starving and out of food. Ute Indians find them and take them to Chief Ouray, who replenished their supplies.
1891: Bob Ford, killer of outlaw Jesse James, is shot and wounded in the foot during a shootout in Walsenburg, Colorado by J. D. Harden, who was shot twice, the should and the hand, by Ford. The two men were standing at a saloon bar when they started arguing. The two men were so close that Ford received powder burns on his face. Sixteen months later Ford will be shot and killed in Creede, Colorado. It is believed that bad man Soapy Smith had a hand in Ford’s death.
1908: The Sullivan Ordinance is passed in New York City making smoking by women illegal. The measure is vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr.

January 12, 2016

Soapy Smith vs Frank Reid: American Heroes Channel documentary

Scroll down just a bit to see the video.

IRS JANUARY 13, 2016

"All this about 'Soapy' Smith being alive, as wired to the newspapers from San Diego, and that he is in San Diego, is moonshine, said Arch Bodine, who has a restaurant at 1327 Fifteenth Street. Bodine was in Skagway last October [sic] when 'Soapy' was killed, and did not leave for several months afterwards. I was near him when he was shot, and I helped to put him in the wagon. After he was carried from the wharf to the morgue, he lay there for two days under a sheet, and hundreds of people saw him. There are lots of men in the west who look like 'Soapy,' but just paste it in your hat that Smith is as dead as a doornail. They didn’t take any chances on his coming back to life in Skagway."
—Arch Bodine
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 587.


1773: The first U.S. public museum opens in Charleston, South Carolina.
1872: Russia's Grand Duke Alexis departs St. Louis, Missouri for Omaha, Nebraska on a buffalo hunting expedition with General Phil Sheridan and Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.
1880: Bat Masterson resigns his position as Ford County Sheriff, as well as deputy U.S. Marshal of Kansas.
1883: Cheyenne, Wyoming turns on electric lights for the first time.
1889: The fight between two cities to become the county seat ends in violence, known as the Battle of Cimarron. A wagon of men from Ingalls, Kansas attempt to steal the official court records from the Gray County courthouse in Cimarron, Kansas, but are discovered and shooting breaks out. One resident of Cimarron is killed and several persons are wounded on both sides. The invaders climbed into their wagon with the records and speed off, leaving four men trapped inside the courthouse, including Jim Masterson, brother of Bat Masterson. The shooting concentrated on the building. After six hours of fierce fighting, a truce was made, which included allowing the four men to be able to leave the city unharmed. In 1893 Cimarron becomes the county seat.
1896: At Davidson College, several students take x-ray photographs, the first made in the U.S.