August 13, 2017

Soapy Smith in court: The US Commissioner journal for Dyea, Alaska, 1898; Part 2.

Soapy in court
Assault and battery
June 25, 1898
Courtesy Alaska State Archives
(Click image to enlarge)

The legal journal of the U.S. Commissioner Court
Dyea, Alaska; part two of eight parts.

The following is part two of a series of articles regarding the journal of legal proceeding about Soapy Smith, started by U.S. Commissioner John U. Smith. On this case Commissioner Smith has been replaced by Charles Augustus Sehlbrede.
    On Saturday, June 25, 1898, Soapy assaulted F. R. Staples, a miner. He went to Dyea, filed charges with Commissioner Sehlbrede, who issued a warrant for Soapy's arrest. Deputy US Marshal Taylor arrested Jeff, who pleaded not guilty. He then asked for and was granted a three-day continuation. On the day the continuation expired, in court Staples refused to prosecute and paid costs of $1.95. Not known is what Soapy did or said to persuade Staples to drop the case.

Following is the transcription of page 426.

                   In United States Commissioner Court for the Dist of Alaska
                   United States vs Jefferson Smith Viol [violation] Sec 537 Oregon Code
    June 25, 1898: Complaint charging defendant with the crime of assault and battery sworn to by F. R Staples filed, and warrant issued and placed in the hands of S. S. Taylor U.S. Deputy Marshal for service.
    June 25, 1898: Defendant arrested and brought before the court and arraigned. Sworn and appeared by U.S. deputy marshal A. J. Daly, and the defendant appeared by his attorneys W. R. O'Donnell and R. D. (R. P.?) Weldon.
    June 25, 1898: Defendant pleads not guilty and asks for continuance of said case until 2 O'clock p.m. Tuesday June 28, 1898.
    June 25, 1898: Marshal makes return of warrant which is read and filed upon request of defendant, Court continued until 2 o'clock P.M. June 28, 1898.
    June 28, 1898: 2 o'clock P.M. The prosecuting witness appears and refuses to prosecute the case, and pays the costs and the case is hereby dismissed.
                    C. A. Sehlbrede
                    U.S. Commissioner
                    Court costs $1.95 Paid.

* A very special thank you to Art Petersen who located and copied the pages of the journal.

Commissioner's Journal: part 1.
Commissioner's Journal: part 3.
Commissioner's Journal: part 4.
Commissioner's Journal: part 5.
Commissioner's Journal: part 6.
Commissioner's Journal: part 7.
Commissioner's Journal: part 8.

U.S. Commissioner Charles Augustus Sehlbrede: pp. 506-07, 514, 520-21, 527, 529, 533, 537, 542, 544, 547-48, 550, 553, 557, 562-63, 566-67, 570-71, 575, 577.
F. R. Staples: p. 520.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Sylvester S. Taylor: pp. 508-12, 520, 527, 562, 575-76, 580-81.
W. R. O'Donnell: pp. 542-43, 557.
R. D. (R. P.?) Weldon: p. 544.

"Wherever he set up his “tripe & keister” (tripod and suitcase), which held the implements of his nefarious trade, he was certain to draw a large crowd and succeed in molding it to his will. A colorful and complex character of the Old West, he became a ruler of rogues and vagabonds, a friend of the friendless, a protector of criminals, and a contributor to churches."
Alias Soapy Smith


1784: The U.S. Legislature meets for the final time in Annapolis, Maryland.
1846: The U.S. flag is raised in Los Angeles, California.
1859: 2nd Dragoons under Lieutenant Ebenezer Gay battle Indians at Devils Gate Canyon, near Box Elder, Utah.
1860: Phoebe “Annie Oakley” Moses is born. She is famous for touring with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show as a sharp-shooter and trick shot. She was named "Little Miss Sure Shot" by Indian Chief Sitting Bull.
1866: Troops battle and kill thirty-three Indians and wound forty more at Skull Valley, Arizona Territory. One enlisted man is reported killed.
1867: Under the Gaslight, by Augustine Daly, opens in New York City.
1876: The Reciprocity Treaty between the U.S. and Hawaii is ratified.
1868: Captain Fredrick Benteen of the 7th Cavalry reports three Indians killed and ten wounded near the Saline River, Kansas.
1889: The patent for a coin-operated telephone is issued to William Gray.
1896: Outlaws Butch Cassidy, Bob Meeks and Elzy Lay rob the Montpelier, Idaho Bank of $16,500. Much of the money is sent to the defense attorney for old gang member Matt Warner who is awaiting trial for the 1889 robberies of the First National Bank in Denver, Colorado and the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, Colorado.
1899: Denver policemen Tom Clifford and William Griffiths are murdered by Wellington Llewellen. On June 7, 1894 bad man Soapy Smith was the center of a scandal when he attacked officer Griffiths, striking him from behind with the barrel of his revolver. Soapy was arrested for assault to murder, but had the charges reduced. Soapy was fined $10 and court costs.
1907: The first motorized taxicab opens for business in New York City.

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