July 28, 2017

Did Soapy Smith operate in Cleveland, Ohio?

The Paystreak

October 23, 1897

(Click image to enlarge)

id Soapy operate in Cleveland, Ohio?

     My publisher, Art Petersen, came across an interesting newspaper clipping while researching Mollie Walsh. The article was published in the Paystreak (Sandon, British Columbia) on October 23, 1897. It was originally published in the Cleveland Leader on August 17, 1897. 
     So, is this Soapy Smith or another confidence man? Hard to say with certainty. It depends on when the occurrence actually took place. Soapy did a lot of traveling around the eastern states, including New York, about this time; however, on August 17, 1897, he was around 2,500 miles from Cleveland on-board the steamer Utopia heading to Juneau and Skagway, Alaska.



A Willy Fakir Who Was “Done” by the Farmers.

     “No,” said the soap fakir to a group of people that had gathered around him, according to the Cleveland Leader, “there is no use talking to me about the innocence of the countrymen. He may buy a gold brick occasionally or sign a blank cheque and lose his farm, but, as a rule, he can take care of himself just as well as the next one, and generally a little better. If I knew as much as some farmers I would not be in this business, and you can gamble on that.
     “Why, say, do you know what happened to me the last time I was down in the country? I got pinched, that’s what I done. I got my satchel out in front of the hotel in a little town about 30 miles from here and began to do a few tricks to draw a crowd.
     “After I’d made an egg disappear and pulled a few knots open for them, I says: ‘Now, gentlemen, I’m going to show you a trick that nobody else on earth has ever attempted. You see my hat here? Well, we’ll imagine for the time bein’ that it’s a flower pot. Out of this hat I’m goin’ to make a bush grow up, and when I’ve done that I’ll make every leaf on it turn into a $5 note.’
     “What? Did I do it? Of course I did! But, say, do you know what come of it? Blamed if they didn’t arrest me and fine me $15 for raisin’ bills, which the Justice of the Peace said was ‘contrary to the stetoots made and provided.’
     “Well, I sort of had a hankerin’ to know whether they done it in good faith or just because they thought I was easy pickin’ and what do you think I found out? Why, the people of that town hadn’t paid any taxes for eight years. They’d actually been runnin’ things by pluckin’ just such innocent fellows as me.
     “Now, gentlemen, there’s a $1 bill in one of these little packages. Who will give me 10 cents now for the first choice?”

* Special thanks to Art Petersen for sharing the article, and to Linda Gay Mathis for locating the Cleveland Leader.

"He accomplished his dominance by eliminating chance from his games. In turn, he emptied the pockets of his victims and bluffed them into silence and submission."
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 15


1862: Gold is discovered in Grasshopper Creek, Montana. The camp of Bannock is erected nearby. Confusion over the boundaries requires the camp location be listed as being in Oregon Territory, Idaho Territory, and Montanan Territory.
1864: In what is known as the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, General Sully and his forces attack Indian Chief Sitting Bull's camp on the Little Missouri River, Dakota Territory.
1865: The American Dental Association proposes its first code of ethics.
1866: The metric system is recognized by Congress for the standardization of weights and measures in the United States.
1867: Lieutenant Colonel George Custer is arrested. His pending court-martial is for desertion, for over marching his troops, and for cruel treatment of deserters.
1867: seven soldiers die of Cholera in one day in Fort Wallace, Kansas.
1868: The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is enacted. The amendment guaranteed due process of law.
1874: A band of horse-thieves is caught in Caldwell, Kansas, by a posse led by Under Sheriff John Davis.
1878: Charles Earl “Black Bart” Bowles robs the Quincy-Oroville stage in California, for a second time.
1878: The Grant County Herald in New Mexico Territory erroneously reports that outlaw Billy the Kid is killed in the McSween battle of the Lincoln County War.
1880: Apache Indian Chief Victorio begins a two-week-long series of raids in the Eagle Springs region of Texas.
1884: Famed Denver brothel madam “Jennie Rogers” is arrested for vagrancy and “being a professional morphine taker.” She sentenced to ten days in jail. 
1893: Soapy Smith writes a letter to the editor of the Denver Times stating that there are “no bunco men on lower 17th Street.” He signs the letter, “alias Soapy Smith.”
1895: Deputy U.S. Marshal John Garrett is shot in the leg and chest, by Rufus Buck, as he exits a store in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. It is the beginning of the Buck Gang’s 13-day spree of robberies, assaults, rapes, and attempted murder. The gang is eventually captured, all six men are found guilty of rape, and are executed July 1, 1896.
1896: The city of Miami, Florida is incorporated.

July 25, 2017

Skagway, Alaska preparing for the 4th of July 1898

Skagway, Alaska
June 15, 1898
Broadway and Fourth Avenue
Courtesy of the Pat Hathaway Collection

(Click image to enlarge)

kagway prepares for the 4th of July

A very interesting photograph taken on June 15, 1898, looking north on Broadway from Fourth Avenue as the city prepares for the coming July 4th celebration and parade. Trees have been recently planted on Broadway, not seen in photographs taken the previous month. The rear of the Burkhard House (A) on the southwest corner of Broadway and Fifth shows the tops of the rear windows where soap gang member "Slim-Jim" Foster jumped out of, in a futile effort to escape his vigilante captors, holding him with the other primary members of the gang after the demise of their boss, Soapy Smith. That would not take place for another 24 days after this photograph was taken. Further down, on the north-west corner of Broadway and Holly Avenue, the Mondamin Hotel (B) can just be seen. Soapy lived in room #61 and his saloon, Jeff Smith's Parlor was two doors to the west. Flags and red, white and blue bunting can be seen adorning buildings as a man (C) holds a lengthy portion of bunting ready to drape the frontage of a building. 

"Do unto others what they’d like to do to you, but do it first."
Alias Soapy Smith, p 15


1805: Aaron Burr visits New Orleans with plans to establish a new country, with New Orleans as the capital city.
1850: Harvard and Yale University freshmen compete in the first U.S. intercollegiate billiards match.
1850: Gold is discovered in the Rogue River, Oregon.
1853: Outlaw Joaquin Murrieta and four of his men are shot and killed by California Rangers at Cantua Creek in central California. Murrieta’s head is lopped off to bring back as proof in order to collect the $1,000 reward. The hand of Bernardino “Three-Fingered Jack” Garcia was also taken.
1854: The paper collar is patented by Walter Hunt.
1861: The Crittenden Resolution is passed by Congress. It calls for the U.S. Civil War to be fought to preserve the union, not over the slavery issue.
1865: The Fight at Platte Bridge begins near Fort Casper, Wyoming. Indian Chief Crazy Horse's decoy party of Sioux fails to draw out the soldiers. Instead he attacks the fort.
1866: Ulysses S. Grant is named General of the U.S. Army. He is the first American officer to hold the rank.
1868: Wyoming Territory is created from portions of Dakota and Utah Territories in the Organic act.
1871: Seth Wheeler patents perforated wrapping paper.
1878: Charles Earl “Black Bart” Bowles robs the Quincy-Oroville stage a mile from Berry Creek, California.
1880: Lieutenant Hurst enlists Virgil Earp, and his brother Wyatt and Morgan, to accompany him to the McLaury Ranch, Arizona Territory, to inform the McLaury family of the theft of six government mules.
1881: “Big Ed” Burns opens a saloon in Casa Grande, Arizona from which to swindle victims from the incoming trains. Once it was discovered what they were doing a mob forced them to leave town. Burns joins Soapy Smith's Soap Gang.
1881: Four Mexicans are killed by cow-boys at Sarampion, Arizona.
1882: Roy Bean mails a local newspaper a postcard announcing the opening of his new saloon, the first one west of the Pecos River, San Antonio, Texas.
1890: Soap Gang members Charlie Graff, John Bowers, F. M. Hamaum and Ira H. Curtis are arrested in a mock auction house at Seventeenth and Market Streets in Denver, Colorado, charged with fraud by Herman Llamer who purchased a cheap watch, and made to believe to be a gold one.
1891: Con man Soapy Smith’s mock auction houses, who sell fake gold watches to unsuspecting victims on the streets of Denver, Colorado, are so notoriously successful that policemen are placed in front of the establishments to warn potential victims.
1895: Bannock Indians surround 250 settlers near Jackson Hole, Wyoming until they are dispersed by the 9th Cavalry.
1901: Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, avenges the 1896 death of his brother John Curry. Logan waited in Jim Wither's corral in Montana all night, and shot Wither when he stepped out to brush his teeth.

July 22, 2017

1925 moving pictures of the steamer Utopia.

inds of Chance 
Moving pictures of the steamer Utopia.

Frank Lloyd's 1925 film Winds of Chance (from the Rex Beach novel) has a few remarkable scenes of the steamer Utopia, chartered for the film.
You'll definitely want to watch at least the first ten minutes of the film. It contains more of interest than just the real Utopia. The locale looks like Skaguay harbor but is not. Lloyd was said to be a stickler for authenticity. This film shows he probably was. He found a local in BC that had a resemblance to Skaguay harbor, and scenes throughout the film, and the action, are in keeping with period photographs. I watched most of the whole 2-hour movie! I expect you'll agree it's rather well made. No wonder. It's an early work of a prolific film maker and future academy award winner. I recommend exploring the Lloyd website (http://www.franklloydfilms.com) and watching the bio. What a treat to see the Utopia with coal smoke belching from its stack.  —Art Petersen
Utopia plan

Various facts:

      The steamer Utopia, operated by the Puget Sound Navigation Co. since its merger in 1903 with the La Conner Trading and Transportation Co., was sold early in the year [1926] and taken to Houghton for scrapping. She had been laid up on Lake Union since the remodeled Comanche took over her old Strait route. Gordon Newell, Maritime Events of 1926, H.W. McCurdy, Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, p. 376.
      The steamer Utopia, a 124-foot wooden freight steamer of 423 tons, was also refitted to carry passengers and placed on the Skagway run. The Utopia was built at Seattle in 1893 for G. W. McGregor to replace the J. R. McDonald on the Seattle-Vancouver freight run. The Utopia was replaced on a few voyages by the side-wheeler Sehome, rebuilt from the Columbia River stern-wheeler Mountain Queen, built at The Dalles in 1877. Gordon Newell, Maritime events of 1897, H.W. McCurdy, Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: Superior, 1966, p. 16.
      The Seattle Steamship Co. operated the Utopia in direct service from Puget Sound to Skagway and Dyea, sailing twice a month with a capacity of 24 first-class and 54 steerage passengers. Gordon Newell, Maritime Events of 1898, H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. p. 35.
      The steamer Utopia of the Puget Sound Navigation Co. was extensively overhauled and rebuilt [1909], receiving new engine and boilers and a rebuilding of her hull. Gordon Newell, Maritime Events of 1909, H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest., p. 162.
      On 20 August 1896, The Flyer was rammed by the steamer Utopia off Browns Point, near Tacoma. Captain John O'Brien was in command of Utopia which was then enroute to Tacoma with a cargo of gold and silver ore. One Utopia crew member was killed. Utopia took on Flyer's passengers, and towed Flyer to Tacoma for repairs.

Watch the entire film, Winds of Chance.

* Special thanks to Art Petersen for sharing his findings on the Utopia.

New photo of the Utopia discovered: July 19, 2017
Soapy arrives in Skagway on the Utopia
: May 13, 2017
The other photo of the Utopia: August 13, 2011 

The Utopia: pages 412-17, 435, 447.

"In the art of sleight-of-hand mechanics, he could deal himself the winning hand in any game without fail or suspicion. In his talents, few equaled him."
Alias Soapy Smith, page 15


1587: A second English colony is established on Roanoke Island off North Carolina. The colony vanishes under mysterious circumstances.
1796: Cleveland is founded by General Moses Cleveland.
1798: The USS Constitution goes out to sea for the first time since being launched on October 21, 1797.
1876: Frank Ashton, a bunco man sells prize package soap on the Bowery in New York City. This is the same swindle that gives Jefferson Randolph Smith the alias of “Soapy.”
1880: Outlaw, Charles Earl “Black Bart” Bowles holds up a stage from Point Arena headed to Duncan's Mill, California.
1882: John Jefferson “Offwheeler” Harlan, a confidence man arrested for vagrancy, fined $100 and 30-days in jail. He and his gang have been operating around the Trinidad, Colorado depot, and had swindled a local.
1883: Arson destroys much of Miles City, Montana.
1892: The wife of Wild Bunch gang member, Will Carver, dies during childbirth.
1892: The U.S. and Great Britain sign the Boundary Convention on Alaska and Passamaquoddy Bay, Maine.
1892: William Allen is arrested and transported back to Creede, Colorado as a suspect in the “Reddy” McCann shooting, in which Soapy Smith’s brother-in-law, William Light shot and killed McCann in a saloon.
1895: Bascomb Smith, younger brother of bad man Soapy Smith, pulls a gun on Louis Petit in Denver, Colorado. Petit grabs the gun as the two wrestle for control of it. Two shots are fired but Petit is not hit.

July 19, 2017

New photograph of the steamer Utopia discovered.

Circa November 17, 1898
Note the boarded up windows
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)

he Utopia

     Previous to 2011, no photographs of the steamship Utopia had been identified. Then the photograph below was introduced as being that vessel; however, it has no provenance. It does, though, resemble the newly discovered photograph of the Utopia (at the top of this post). Helpfully, the new image contains the ship's name, Utopia, between the wheel house (steering room) and the mast.
     The steamship Utopia was built in Seattle, Washington, in 1893 and is famous, in part, because of a master she had for several years: Captain “Dynamite Johnny” O'Brien. On November 17, 1898, the Utopia was enroute from Seattle to Skagway when she caught fire. This new photo may have been taken shortly after the fire, and because of some photographs acquired along with the one of the Utopia, she may be tied up in Juneau. It was owned by the Alaskan Steamship Company until 1903 when it was acquired by the Puget Sound Navigation Company.    

The Utopia
     The Utopia is also famous because of its link to Soapy Smith's journeys to Alaska and his friendship with Captain O'Brien. Before the Klondike Gold Rush, the Utopia in 1896 was operating the waterways to the goldfields near Homer, Hope, and Sunrise on Cook Inlet, Alaska. Previous to Skagway's founding, Soapy was looking for a new boom-town in Alaska.

     Other ships arriving at the location that would become Homer and having to wait for the late breakup of the Inlet ice were the steamers Utopia and Lakme, containing together, as Mrs. Banks tells us, “four hundred men headed for the Turnagain Arm district. They camped on the spit….” During this wait at some point, Mrs. Banks met Jeff. He “was a dark-haired, medium-sized, mild-mannered man,” she wrote of him forty-nine years later, “and I was quite surprised after my introduction to him to learn that he was the notorious Denver confidence man.”
     Soapy also wrote to his young brother Bascomb while apparently camped on the spit, as a couple of details from his letter match Mrs. Banks’ remembrance. This letter made the press:
Dear Bas. —Well I am 600 or 700 miles more on my way. Over 400 men are camped here on ice waiting for a thaw. You can write here but I may never get the letter. Have done no business yet. I expect to look for gold with the balance of the guys. Regards to all the people in the jail. I don’t suppose the governor has done anything for you. Take it easy; the world was not made in a day.
Your brother.
     Soapy seems to have reached the head of Cook Inlet the following day. A letter to a friend from there, apparently dated May 11, came to publication over a month later.
Col. Sapolio Smith Heard From.
A citizen of Greeley received a postal card Saturday from the notorious “Soapy Smith.” The card was written from “Cook’s Inlet, Six Mile Creek-Alaska,” and dated May 1 [11?]. An attaché of the Tribune made the following extract: “This place is 2,500 miles north of San Francisco, 1,500 miles from a railroad or telegraph office and 600 miles to the nearest post office. There are about 2,000 men in camp looking for placer claims and we think we have it. Only one woman in camp. I expect to be in Denver next fall in time to aid my brother redeemers. Your friend,” “Jeff Smith.”
Mrs. Banks met that “one woman” to whom Soapy referred. “She was red-headed, and attractive in a bold way. She and her husband were running a restaurant at Hope.”
—Alias Soapy Smith, p. 412
     The first available ship into the area, arriving ahead of the returning General Canby, was the steamship Utopia. It had dropped anchor at the head of Cook Inlet, disembarked its chartered cargo and hundred passengers bound for the Susitna River region, likely looped to the Sunrise-Hope beach sites to take on passengers, and returned south. Jeff boarded and paid passage to Seattle, but had he known what lay ahead, he might have waited for another ship. First, the Utopia was missing its master. He was Captain Dynamite Johnny A. O’Brien, an explosive Irishman from Cork who had gone to sea at 15, become a captain at 25, fought pirates, and who at the slightest infraction, battled insubordinates with his will and sometimes his fists. The nickname “Dynamite” seems to have grown out of his quickness to detonate when faced with dereliction of duty or disrespect for his station aboard ship. Once in Nagasaki “he had disposed of two larger opponents in less than thirty seconds.” They had not liked O’Brien’s tossing overboard their “two bottles of vile-looking liquor.”  
—Alias Soapy Smith, p. 413.

The ships name
sign hanging between wheel house and mast
Jeff Smith collection

(Click image to enlarge)
     What happened next varies in different versions, but the one told in Milton A. Dalby’s The Sea Saga of Dynamite Johnny O’Brien (1933) carries the clearest ring of veracity. To prepare for this biography, Dalby met regularly with O’Brien in his eightieth year in the months before his death in August 1931. Dalby also had access to the captain’s diary as well as other records. The biography is unsentimental and often realistically hard-hitting in its clear-cut accounts of brutal first mates, murderous cooks, loves, murders, numerous fights, and men perishing in storm-whipped seas. The following sequence is based primarily on Dalby’s biography of O’Brien.
     When the Utopia reached lower Cook Inlet, it encountered a heavy outflow of ice and so “came to anchorage in Seldovia Bay, with two other vessels, until the ice cleared….” It was here that O’Brien suddenly collapsed in terrific pain. Dalby recounts how since no doctor had been aboard, a hurried survey
of the anchored ships revealed a fortune-seeking miner who had once been a surgeon. He shook his head dolefully over O’Brien after a hasty examination.
     “About a thousand to one shot to pull through,” he told the Utopia’s hovering officers. O’Brien was partially conscious and heard the remark. “I’d operate if I had any tools but I haven’t any,” the ex-doctor went on.
     O’Brien painfully roused himself. “Doc, I heard you say I had a long chance to pull through. I’m a sport and God knows I don’t want to die in this damn place. Go ahead; all you need is a knife and a pair of scissors.”
These tools were “honed to razor sharpness and roughly sterilized.” Since the ship was “rolling somewhat,” men carried the captain ashore in the bitter cold to “a rough hut,” slipping “repeatedly on the icy ground.” Here he was “placed on three planks laid over two packing boxes” for the operation. O’Brien said he did not know what anesthetic was used but that “it was at least partially effective.” He said he was conscious at times during the operation “but felt no marked pain.”
     “O’Brien lay in a bunk in the hut for several days,” recuperating. In the meantime, ice had cleared sufficiently to allow ships up the Inlet, and the Utopia’s 100 restless miners wanted to join them. So somewhat behind the other vessels, the Utopia also made the 200-mile voyage to the head of Cook Inlet but without its ailing captain. He was left in a better accommodation than the hut, “the galley of some ill-fated ship,” as Mrs. Banks described it, but she and her husband had transformed it into their home.
     The Captain of the Utopia was ill, apparently from appendicitis. We had been moved hastily from the derelict galley … so as to give over our quarters to the sick man, they being the quietest and the cleanest spot.
When Soapy returned to Coal Bay at the Homer Spit on the Utopia, the captain was returned to his cabin to continue his recuperation.
     At some point, Soapy learned that “The vessel’s coal supply ran very low, the bunkers were scraped almost bare,” apparently a Seattle provisioning error. Coal was to be had, just not the $300 ($9,372 today) for a sufficient supply of it. So, from his bunk aboard ship, O’Brien ordered coal dug “from the bottom of the bay” where “a straggling coal formation was uncovered” when the tide was out. Over the next two days, ten tons were taken into the Utopia’s coal bunker. Bitter cold made the wet, back-breaking work even worse, and on the third day, the crew refused to dig any more. Such was the state of things when
     A knock came on O’Brien’s door and a bearded man entered. He smiled. “When do you sail, skipper?” he asked.
     “No coal, mister, and no money to buy any with, dammit….”
     Out came a bulky wad of crumpled bills. “How much do you need?” O’Brien told him, and three hundred dollars were quickly peeled off.
     Coal was purchased, and during the three days … before the Utopia was ready to sail the bearded stranger spent much time in O’Brien’s cabin. His name? “Just Smith, skipper!” He … tended O’Brien as carefully as a nurse might. He kept the cabin clean and brought O’Brien such food delicacies as could be found. If O’Brien wondered a little about the two heavy-framed revolvers which nestled under either armpit he said nothing, for they were none of his business.
     The Utopia sailed and O’Brien slipped into uneasy sleep with the welcome pounding of her engines in his ears. But when he awoke—it was some eight hours later, the cabin clock disclosed—all was quiet and the ship seemed anchored. He called feebly but none heard him, and Smith was not about. He gripped a stout water glass and hurled it through a cabin window and out onto the deck. The mate came running in response to the crash.
     O’Brien demanded the cause of the ship’s halting and was told that the purchased coal was of wretched quality, and that the engineers refused to burn any more of it. “So we’ve decided to anchor here under the lee of Cape Elizabeth and wait for a supply of good coal,” the mate explained. “The crew agrees with the engineers,” he added.
     O’Brien exploded…, and then had to grip his side in mad pain. “Why in the devil wasn’t I told about this? Who do you think is master of this ship?”
     “We didn’t think you were in any condition to handle the ship, captain.”
     “Call Smith, the bearded passenger, at once,” O’Brien demanded.
     “Dynamite Johnny explained to Smith the situation and asked if he might borrow his guns—the damn crew was mutinous and needed a little convincing that the “old man” knew what was best for ’em!
     An unusual fifteen minutes followed on deck. O’Brien was aided to a deck chair by Smith and, with a revolver in each hand, called the crew to file by him and swear that they would help get the ship into Juneau where an ample supply of good coal would be obtained. He stormed at the engineers particularly and shook the weapons at them threateningly.
     “If that coal was good enough to steam on for six or seven hours it’s good enough to get into Juneau with,” he shouted. “By the Rock of Cashel I want steam up in this old tub and I want it in a hurry! Understand me?”
     And apparently he was understood for the Utopia crossed the Gulf of Alaska without trouble and refueled in Juneau. When the vessel reached Seattle it was a pale O’Brien who went ashore on the arm of his friend Smith. He had weighed nearly 160 pounds when the Utopia had sailed…; he was reduced to 120 when he came ashore. He spent the next month in a hospital.
On June 2, 1896, after an absence of two months, the steamer Utopia docked in Seattle. Soapy may have spent a longer time in the frozen hell than he had wished for but he had made a very valuable friend, one who never denied Soapy and the Soap Gang passage aboard the two ships captained by O'Brien in Alaskan waters.
Dalby reported from O’Brien that members of the Soap Gang
frequently traveled on O’Brien’s ships although their identity was not always known. O’Brien found Smith kind-hearted and generous; indeed such was his reputation in Skagway outside of purely business hours! He returned … [to Skagway] with O’Brien on the Utopia [in 1897] and, at O’Brien’s urgent plea, kept a tight grip on his gang of cut-throats and gamblers during the trip north.
     The Utopia had first class and steerage with accommodation for 80 passengers and baggage. In August 1897 she was taken off the Puget Sound run and scheduled to depart Seattle for the new towns of Skaguay and Dyea which sprouted at the start of the discovery of gold in the Klondike, on August 11th with 100 passengers, but when the Utopia finally sailed on August 14th, she had 250 passengers plus 50 horses and freight, including a “J. R. Smith” among its passengers. The ship was scheduled to leave on Friday, August 13, but superstitious passengers and a flexible Captain O’Brien opted to wait a day. When reporters asked about the delayed departure, they were told that it was taking longer than anticipated to load cargo.
     For the rest of 1897 the Utopia returned to short runs on Puget Sound, and John O'Brien continued as master of the Rosalie on the Seattle-Skaguay run into 1898, the same Rosalie on which the widow of Soapy, Mary Eva, went to and from Skagway after he was killed (Alias Soapy Smith, pp 584-86).

Soapy arrives in Skagway on the Utopia: May 13, 2017
The other photo of the Utopia: August 13, 2011 

The Utopia: pages 412-17, 435, 447.

"The most infamous of his unique schemes was the prize package soap sell in which he put large-denomination bills inside the wrappers of some cakes of soap and auctioned off the packages for $1 each, then for more as the number of cakes diminished. Only Jeff’s men, who seeded every crowd, ever won the larger bills. From this swindle came the sobriquet “Soapy” by which he came to be known throughout the American West."
Alias Soapy Smith, page 15


1848: A women's rights convention takes place in Seneca Fall, New York.
1867: Construction begins on Fort Fetterman near the North Platte River, Dakota Territory.
1878: Outlaw John Selman arrives in the Pecos Valley, New Mexico Territory. His cattle rustling gang is known as the “Selman Scouts.”
1878: Outlaws Sam Bass, James Murphy, Seaborn Barnes, and Frank Jackson shoot it out with Texas Rangers in Round Rock, Texas. Deputy Sheriff A. W. Grimes and wounded Deputy Sheriff Maurice Moore are shot dead. Outlaws Barnes and Bass are shot dead, Bass not passing away for another two days. Bad man Soapy Smith and Cousin Ed witness Dick Ware shoot Bass.
1878: The five-day battle in Lincoln, New Mexico Territory ends. Outlaw Billy the Kid and others were able to escape.
1879: Famed gambler and bad man Doc Holliday shoots and kills Mike Gordon outside a saloon in Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory.
1881: Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 187 Sioux Indians surrender to Fort Buford, Dakota Territory, after four years of exile in Canada.
1881: Pat Garrett arrives in Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory and announces that he is going to resign as sheriff of Lincoln County.
1881: Three citizens are killed in an Indian raid of Arena Blanca, New Mexico Territory.
1890: “Crazy Bill” Lynn, a Spokane, Washington thug, shoots and wounds two boxers at the Spokesman City Room. Ed Hutchinson, Sporting Editor of a Spokesman newspaper promotes a boxing match between Patsy Muligan and Jimmy Casey, but there is a weight dispute and the fight is about to be called off when 'Crazy Bill' Lynn decides he should take Mulligan’s place in the ring, and strikes Mulligan in the face. Mulligan pulls out a revolver, but editor Hutchinson grabs the gun before it can be fired. Lynn calls Mulligan an undesirable name and Mulligan strikes Lynn. Lynn pulls a revolver, but is subdued and escorted from the building. Later, Lynn returns with gun in hand. A man named Smith attempts to stop Lynn and is shot twice, in the hand and kneecap. Mulligan attempts to flee, but Lynn fires wounding Mulligan with a bullet to his body.
1893: Bad man Soapy Smith pays $25 so that 125 unemployed workers could attend a meeting in their behalf at the Coliseum Hall in Denver, Colorado. After paying, he hollered out, “walk in boys, the hall’s yours and nothing to pay.”
1909: The first unassisted triple play in major-league baseball was made by Cleveland Indians shortstop Neal Ball in a game against Boston.