May 31, 2016

New May 1, 1898 Soapy Smith Decoration Day photo found

Holly Street, Skagway, Alaska
May 1, 1898
Courtesy of Alaska State Library - Historical Collections
(Click image to enlarge)

Holly Street, Skagway, Alaska
May 1, 1898
Courtesy of Alaska State Library - Historical Collections
(Click image to enlarge)

ecoration Day 
Skagway, Alaska, May 1, 1898

     Historian Diane Purvis of the Facebook group Pacific Northwest, Alaska, California, and British Columbia has located a second photograph of the May 1, 1898 parade. Because there are only slight variations in the two shots it is obvious that they were taken just seconds a part. The bottom photograph was located previous to 2009. It is in my book Alias Soapy Smith. One key difference is that the photographer etched in "Decoration Day Skagway" twice in the latest find. This determines with certainty that this photograph is from May 1, 1898.
     In Alias Soapy Smith I recorded that the date of the photograph was May 1, 1898, but according to E. J. "Stroller" White of The Skaguay News the parade took place on Monday May 30. However, the Denver Evening Post reported on the parade in their May 24 issue, six days prior to the festivities. The article is copied from the May 2 edition of the Skagway News that mentions the parade occurring "last Sunday," making the date of the parade May 1.

Why such a wide variation in the dates of Decoration Day and Memorial Day?

Decoration Day is what Memorial Day was first called. Today we celebrate it on the last Monday in May, but in the 19th century Decoration Day was celebrated on different dates all across the country, between late spring and early summer. 

The following is from the Denver Evening Post May 24, 1898.

By 7 o’clock … upwards of six hundred men and many ladies could be seen on the streets wearing red, white and blue badges which read: “Freedom for Cuba! Remember the Maine! Compliments of Skaguay Military Company. Jeff R. Smith, captain.” At 7:30 o’clock a procession nearly two blocks in length formed on Broadway, led by a carriage containing Dr. Hornsby and Moore, Walter Church and Deputy United States Marshal John Cudihee, and headed by the Skaguay Cornet band. Standard Bearer Tanner of Denver, Colo., proudly bore a large silk flag on which is inscribed the words, “First Regiment of Alaska Militia.”
     Beside him marched Captain Jeff R. Smith of the Skaguay guards.
    Following were members of the United States Army, the Skaguay guards and citizens in all upwards of four hundred men, to say nothing of a number of women, who [being] patriotically inclined, donned male garb, and joined in the procession. Along [the way] were seen many banners and transparencies on which were inscribed such mottoes as “Death to Weyler,” “Down with Spain,” “Freedom for Cuba,” etc. To the soul inspiring strains of “Marching Through Georgia,” the procession headed up Broadway to Seventh avenue thence west to Main street and to the post office, where the nation’s flag was saluted, and with bared heads, the gallant members of the procession and upwards of two thousand sidewalk escorts listened to the melody of that old tune so dear to the heart of every American, “The Star Spangled Banner.” From the post office the march was continued to the United States customs house on State street, when heads were again bared and that time-honored American melody, “Yankee Doodle,” floated out on the evening breezes.
     From the customs house the procession headed for the city hall, where Captain Smith gave the order to “break ranks.” And a general round-up took place on Fifth Avenue before the city hall, but the avenue was crowded the entire distance between State and Broadway. By previous arrangement Dr. J. A. Hornsby had been selected as chairman of the “spread eagle” portion of the exercises, and for ten minutes he entertained the large crowd with the kind of patriotic speech that causes a man to want to take the next steamer for the scene of action. Dr. Hornsby retired by introducing the well known attorney, Walter Church, who, in his usually happy, eloquent and pleasant manner, delivered an address aptly appropriate and pointed. He was followed by Attorney I. N. Wilcoxen, a battle-scarred veteran of the last war. Mr. Wilcoxen is still able and willing to battle for the stars and stripes, and before his able address was concluded all his hearers were ready to enlist in the good cause. F. T. Kellar followed in a speech rampant in vim, vigor, humor and patriotism. He is only a “boy” but the war spirit is strong within him.
     Jeff R. Smith, captain of the Skaguay Guards, made the closing address.
     While Jeff’s eloquence is not of that style which is said to make arches of Irish oak resound, yet he has a manner which causes his hearers to vociferously applaud. He closed his address by asserting that he had actually captured Weyler, and had him then and there in custody.
     The Seattle Post Intelligencer quoted Jeff’s closing remarks.
    “There is one man, who in this terrible strife, has transcended the bounds of fair war. He has murdered the helpless and weak, debauched women and starved little children. Mr. Chairman, this man we have with us today. I have him here, and now we will proceed to hang and burn Butcher Weyler.”
     The Denver Evening Post continued.
     At that moment “Weyler” was run up on a pre-arranged wire and properly hooted at by the crowd. A big bonfire was at once started, and Weyler was burned in effigy amid the deafening yells of upward of two thousand enthusiastic Americans.

Wikipedia: Decoration Day

Decoration Day, May 1, 1898
April 1, 2010

Decoration Day: pages 500-502.

"He died with many good deeds to his credit, as well as the other kind, but it is always the bad things he did which people remember."
—Henry “Yank Fewclothes” Edwards
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 592.

May 31

1854: The Kansas-Nebraska Act is passed by Congress.
1859: The Philadelphia Athletics are formally organized to play the game of Town Ball.
1867: Two soldiers on escort duty from Fort Dodge are killed by Indians near the Bluff Ranch, Kansas.
1870: E. J. DeSemdt patents asphalt.
1877: Colonel Nelson Miles reports that 2,300 Sioux Indians have surrendered in the last two months, at the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Agencies in Nebraska.
1879: Madison Square Garden in New York opens.
1880: The League of American Wheelman, the first U.S. bicycle society is formed in Newport, Rhode Island.
1883: Soapy Smith purchases a street vendors license to sell his prize package soap in Washington City, Iowa.
1884: Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patents flaked cereal (Corn Flakes).
1889: More than 2,200 people die after the dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania collapses. In Denver, Colorado Soapy Smith donates to a charity drive to help the survivors.
1900: Carry Nation goes on her first saloon wrecking rampage in Kiowa, Kansas.

May 15, 2016

Denver's mega election fraud of 1895

he more things change, the more they stay the same.

   When I published Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel in 2009 I had plenty of information on Soapy's involvement in the Denver election scandal of 1889, as it is the most famous, considering Mayor Wolfe Londoner, the Chief of Police, Bat Masterson and many more, were implicated with fraud and corruption. It also made Soapy Smith's empire the recognized leader of Denver's criminal underworld in newspapers all-across the nation. I know that the '89 trial did not put an end to political corruption in Denver but I had little idea the future scandals were equally well-known, at least in the newspapers. I thought that the criminal underworld adapted to better hiding tactics, but newspaper coverage of the 1895 elections proved that wrong. I am equally surprised about how much the Rocky Mountain News was able to uncover. I uncovered and copied these stories several years ago and am just now getting around to them. It's very fascinating stuff.
   The election fraud machine was so powerful that honest officials, if there were any, were powerless to do anything for fear of not only their positions, but their political positions, and perhaps their very lives as well. The police, the sheriffs, the district attorney, the grand jury, were all aware what was taking place, and did nothing. Minus a few reported ballot box thefts I researched since my books publication, this one article shows that little had changed since the corrupt were first caught in 1889. The following clipping was published in the Rocky Mountain News on April 6, 1895.

[Click HERE to read the previous April 4, 1895 article first]


Political Pull Will Protect Election Thugs.


Lawbreakers Brag About controlling All Legal Machinery from the Grand Jury to the Sheriff’s Office—A List of Names Which the Purblind Prosecution Is at Liberty to Use—Circumstantial Statement of Places Where Crooked Work Was Carried on—Number of Times Each One Voted.

    District Attorney Whitford “doesn‘t know” anything about the ravished ballot boxes in the Third and Fourth wards last Tuesday. Members of the police board “don't know,” the grand jury has been dismissed for the term, and the district attorney has informed the court that there is nothing more to bring to the attention of that jury. The thieves and thugs who voted dead men's names have, many of Them, left the town, and the remainder are still being harbored in Denver. There may be some connection between their continued residence in the bottoms and the nightly prowlings and thieveries which are being committed in the residence portion of the city.   It begins to look as if the assertion made at the repeaters‘ headquarters in Dick Carberry‘s saloon by the criminals protected by the authorities that “we have the police board, the prosecutor, the jury wheel and all the spokes" is about correct.

Time to Escape.

    Notwithstanding the dense ignorance prevailing at the city hall, Soapy Smith is retailing with a great deal of satisfaction, "how we did it,” the gambling houses are running as in the palmy days, and the element that the snivel service reform police board pledged it would wipe out, is having things all its own way in Denver just at present, and to honest citizens a very bad way it is.
   There will not be another grand jury until the April term convenes, and not then unless the court is informed by the public prosecutor that it is necessary to have such a jury in attendance. If the action of Greeley W. Whitford is awaited in the premises there will be plenty of time for all the hoboes who assisted by voting dead men’s names in making possible the "glorious victory" last Tuesday, to escape to greener fields, if there are any such pastures in the country just now for the sand-bagger and the thief.
   No action has been taken by the police department, the detective department, the sheriff's office, the prosecutor’s office or any department of the city or county whose duty it is by law to apprehend and punish criminals, to know anything at all about the repeating that Smith and his gang are making merry over. The farce of the transaction is not apparent to the dozen citizens in the Fifth precinct of the Third ward, to the men in the Sixth precinct of the same ward, as well as the Fourth, who found when they reached the polls that their names had been voted by prize fighters and toughs. Some people have no sense of humor.

Record of Repeaters.

    At the repeaters‘ rendezvous, the following record is given out lawlessness, and the men who did the repeating have been paid by the money of the corporations on the basis of having done this "work:”

1—Billy Mahan, pugilist, voted thirteen times.
2—Billy Lewis, pugilist, voted twenty-two times.
3—Jimmy Lewis, pugilist, voted twenty times.
4—Kid Lewis, pugilist, voted seventeen times.
5—"Dutch,” expressman, voted nineteen times.
6—Ed Train, alias Mayberry, voted twenty-one times.
7—Jack Verome, machinist, voted six times.
8—Billy Lerou, blacksmith, voted three times.
9—Dan Closkey, painter, voted four times.
10—Ike Meyer, bartender, voted three times.
11—John Davis, brakeman, voted five times.
12—Lon Brown, brakeman, voted four times.
13—Billy Ketchin, fireman, voted seven times.
14—Jerry Black, calciminer, voted two times.
15—Joe Martin, clerk, voted two times.
16—Pat Mullene, driver, voted two times.
17—McLeod, “tout,” voted six times.
18—Evans, “tout,” voted three times.
19—Berkley, "tout," voted four times.
20—Robinson, “tout," voted six times.
21—Ed Smith, no occupation, voted eight times.
22—Sam Zeigie, no occupation, voted three times.
23—John Ricker, no occupation, voted six times.
24—Mike Reynolds, no occupation. voted seven times.
25—Dave Patterson, gambler, voted eleven times.
26—Claud Hilder, gambler, voted five times.
27—Baxter, gambler, voted four times.

    All the parties above named were of those who were assigned to vote electors’ names on Larimer street, at the Windsor hotel, on Arapahoe street and in Jimmy Doyle’s own Precinct on Sixteenth near Market.
   Of course the list is incomplete, but the district attorney, who “doesn’t know,” might with diligence add to the number of those who are now known to have committed election day crimes. Diligence is necessary, as the perpetrators of the outrage have, many at them, already left the city with the “swag” which they received for this day's work.

The list of names contains only one recognizable name, that of Ed Smith, probably the boxer "Denver Ed" Smith, a pugilist working for Soapy. Known for his boxing history, but known to Soapy fans as having had an altercation during the Logan Park riot in 1889. The odds increase a tad as there are four other "pugilists" listed.

"Denver Ed" Smith: pages 50, 89-90, 97, 271, 275.

I never talk much about Jeff Smith. He was the warmest hearted man I ever knew and writers … always get things mixed and paint up the bad side of his career. He never threw down a pal. I never talk about him except to warn young persons from gambling. Never gamble, if you would respect yourself. It makes you treacherous and spoils friendships. If you will let vice alone and put your energies in other directions you cannot fail.
—Henry “Yank Fewclothes” Edwards
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 592.

MAY 15

1602: Cape Cod is discovered by Bartholomew Gosnold.
1862: Congress creates the Department of Agriculture.
1863: Osage Indian warriors kill Confederate officers at Drum Creek, Kansas.
1872: The Sante Fe Railroad reaches Wichita, Kansas.
1872: Buffalo Bill Cody tracks and kills four Indians who committed depredations near North Platte, Nebraska.
1876: “Snowshoe Thompson,” the famed skiing mail carrier of the High Sierras dies. He is Norwegian born, Jon Torsteinson who changed his name to John Thompson and became famous in 1856 when he delivered mail between Placerville, California and Carson City, Nevada on skis in three days carrying a sixty pound sack of mail. He continued the same route for 20-years.
1880: Three settlers are killed by Apache Indians at Kelly's Ranch, New Mexico Territory.
1882: Doc Holliday is arrested in Denver, Colorado at the request of an Arizona peace officer and charged with the murder of Florentine Cruz. The Governor of Colorado refuses to extradite Holliday to Arizona. It is believed Holliday met Denver underworld boss Soapy Smith during this period.
1883: With permission from the Mexican government U.S. troops attack Chato's camp, Sierra Madres, Mexico.
1887: A large funeral is held for Ponca Indian Chief Wasiki in Arkansas City, Kansas.
1895: Soapy Smith and his younger brother, Bascomb are arraigned and charged with assault to kill Arcade saloon propreitor John Hughes. Upset, Soapy goes on a drinking binge with gunfighter and Soap Gang member, Joe Palmer. They were, in the words of the Denver Times, “as jolly as a pair of pirates.” Soapy was arrested twice that day for carrying a gun.
1911: The U.S. Supreme Court orders the dissolution of Standard Oil Company, ruling it is in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

May 3, 2016

I was at the opening dedication of Soapy Smith's saloon; Jeff Smith's Parlor. ... sort of.

Long time friends
l to r: Matthew Ruff, Stephanie Garcia, Jeff Brady, Allison Hays,
Jon Baldwin,
Arlo Ehly, Katelyn Lauria, and Ashleigh Ricci
That's me in the frame
Photo by Donna Clayson
(Click image to enlarge)

 was there, I tell ya!
 Dedication opening of Jeff. Smith's Parlor. 

      My good friend Donna Clayson from Whitehorse, Canada and I had planned to finally meet in Skagway for the opening dedication of Jeff. Smith's Parlor. She wanted me to meet 94-year-old Tom Clark, the great-grandson of John Douglas Stewart, the miner robbed by the Soap Gang, which directly led to Soapy's demise. But alas, life always seems to get in the way and I found myself waiting for a personal matter to end before I could free my finances for such a trip. That personal matter should have ended in December of 2015, but here I am May 2016 and still waiting. As a counter measure, Donna worked with the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park and the City of Skagway to see if there was anything they could do, but times are tight all over. Donna decided that I was going to the dedication ceremony, one way or another. That another meant bringing me to Skagway, in spirit, via a framed photograph. I was naturally disappointed in not being able to attend, but amazingly, seeing people holding my photograph as Donna snapped photos, really helped in making me feel like I was a part of the celebration. It warmed my heart. I owe Donna a great deal of gratitude for bringing me to Skagway.
      The following day she sent me the photographs in the following email.
Hi Jeff
      Attached are photos of the dedication from yesterday in Skagway (April 30 2016).
      It was a cold, raining, windy day but the weather did not detract from the wonderful job the Parks did in bringing in this very special day. There was a crowd huddled under the tent to listen to the speeches. Everyone signed up for a tour that started at 5:00 to 9:00 pm, only around 8 or so at a time. The very informative lady from Parks toured us through 3 rooms full of memorabilia including the last room that held a Sitka deer (not really, just a white tail or such with its legs shortened), two moose tangled but the horns did not belong to those moose. The taxidermist did a wonderful job. There was also a strange looking wolf and a moose skull with growths on the antlers and had lit up eyes. Lol
      After the speeches and during the tours the Red Onion hosted a party atmosphere with music and lots of food for all.
      There is a photo of Tom Clark, great-grandson of Soapy's last victim, J. D. Stewart.
      As you can see in the photos your framed picture was very prominent throughout.
      There was also an argument after the speeches between 'Soapy' and 'Frank Reid' culminating in both of them being 'shot'. I am waiting for Ben Hayes to get me the names of those involved and will send them once I get them.
      Ben Hayes was very helpful. As well, I had numerous people ask me whose photo I was carrying. I had your name and relationship to Soapy written under your photo and pretty much everyone that was there now knows what you look like.
      Ben would like you to keep in touch and let him know when you will be visiting. He will give you a personal tour of the parlor.
      It was a wonderful day Jeff. Ben was saying he wished you had been there but not enough time to organize it. Well, my opinion? M-m-m-m, okay then.
      All the best Jeff, Donna
      Following for the photographs Donna took. Click the images to enlarge them for better viewing.

The dedication ceremony
Klondike Gold Rush
National Historic Park
Photo by Donna Clayson 
Photo by Donna Clayson

"Ladies" of Skagway
attempt to lure-in Jesse Murphy
Photo by Donna Clayson

Soapy Smith (Jon Baldwin)
Photo by Donna Clayson

Soapy's demise
(Jon Baldwin)
Photo by Donna Clayson
Superintendent Mike Tranel
Photo by Donna Clayson

Frank Reid's wounding
(Jeff Brady)
Photo by Donna Clayson
Jeff Brady
Photo by Donna Clayson

Soapy, Frank, Jesse
Photo by Donna Clayson
Leaving Reid to center stage
Photo by Donna Clayson

Good friends and I
Photo by Donna Clayson
Soapy and Ranger Ben Hayes
Inside the Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson

Martin Itjen's
Woman in the restroom
Photo by Donna Clayson
Gambling machines
Inside Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson

Faro and wheel of fortune
Inside Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson
Locked Horns
Battling Moose
Photo by Donna Clayson

Side lot of Jeff Smith's Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson

Side lot.
At last mention
Martin Itjen's "street
car" will go on display
in this lot.
Photo by Donna Clayson

Tom Clark
of John Stewart
Photo by Donna Clayson
Rangers and I
Jeff Smith's Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson

Thank you very much Donna for allowing me to "be there!"

Donna Clayson framed me!
photo by Bob Cameron
(Click image to enlarge)

      To round out the series of photographs Donna Clayson took, I am adding a few that Whitehorse author Bob Cameron tookaldwin as Soapy and Matt as Jesse Murphy. But the real star of the day was 93-year-old Tom Clark, the grandson of JD Stewart, the last man robbed by Soapy Smith's gang. Jeff Brady, of the Skagway News interviewed Tom Clark, the great-grandson of John Douglas Stewart, the miner that fell victim to the Soap Gang, which directly led to the shootout on Juneau Wharf. I will publish a link to that story and interview when it becomes public. Thanks to Bob for arranging the interview and bringing Tom Clark down to Skagway for the big event.

Tom Clark and Soapy Smith
Inside the Parlor
Photo by Bob Cameron
The dedication
Photo by Bob Cameron

Shootout on 2nd Avenue
Jeff Brady and the Day's of '98
recreate Soapy's demise
complete with Jesse Murphy's
killing of Soapy.
Photo by Bob Cameron
Day's of '98
Photo by Bob Cameron

Tamar Harrison and Tom Clark
at the Red Onion Saloon

Photo by Bob Cameron
Jeff Brady and the cast of
Days of '98
At Soapy's bar in the Parlor
Photo by Klondike Gold
Rush National Historic Park

Soapy Smith
A unique shot
Photo by Sean Daniels

Skagway's fourth grade
received the first official
public tour
Photo by Klondike Gold Rush
National Historic Park

Matthew Ruff as Jesse Murphy
The man who actually killed Soapy
Great to see my research accepted.
Photo by Donna Clason

Inside the Parlor
Photo by Klondike Gold Rush
National Historic Park


Soapy could sell aluminum siding to people with brick homes.
—Glenn Hester


1568: French forces in Florida kill hundreds of Spanish soldiers and civilians.
1802: Washington, the District of Columbia, is incorporated.
1855: Macon Allen is the first black-American to be admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts.
1873: Manuel Fernandez is the first in Arizona territory to be legally executed, for the murder of Mike McCartney, a Yuma store keeper.
1882: President Chester Arthur threatens martial law due to lawlessness in Cochise County, Arizona Territory.
1888: Florence, Arizona Sheriff Peter Gabriel, shoots and kills Joe Phy, an ex-deputy. Both men had been drinking in a saloon previous to the fight. Although wounded in the groin and chest, Gabriel recovers and is exonerated on grounds of self-defense.
1888: Thomas Edison organizes the Edison Phonograph Works.
1889: Thirty Denver, Colorado policemen raid the cities red-light district with 110 warrants.