August 19, 2017

Soapy Smith in court: The US Commissioner journal for Dyea, Alaska, 1898; Part 4.

W. H. "Professor" Jackson arrested
Alias Turner Jackson
"Assault with a dangerous weapon"
Courtesy Alaska State Archives
(Click image to enlarge)

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

     The following is part four of a series of articles regarding the journal of legal proceedings regarding Soapy Smith and the Soap Gang in Skagway, Alaska, started by U.S. Commissioner John U. Smith. On this case Commissioner Smith has been replaced by Charles Augustus Sehlbrede.
    On Friday, July 8, 1898, Soapy Smith was shot and killed in the shootout on Juneau Wharf. Seconds after the shooting stopped the Soap Gang rushed forward to aid their fallen boss. Turner Jackson approached J. M. Tanner and pointed the muzzle of his revolver at Tanner's chest. At that second the rest of the gang started fleeing the scene, and Jackson joined the flight. Following is the transcription of the events listed on page 430 compiled by Commissioner Sehlbrede.

The United States Commissioners Court for the District of Alaska at Dyea

United States vs Turner Jackson - Violation Sec 536 (1744) Oregon Code
Arrested under the name of John Doe Turner

July 9, 1898
     Complaint charging defendant with an assault with a dangerous weapon sworn to by J. M. Tanner, filed, warrant issued and placed in the hands of J. M. Tanner for service. [undecipherable words: could be "July 9th Dyea"]

July 9, 1898
     Defendant arrested, arraigned and stated as the court that his true name is Turner Jackson.

July 15
     Defendant being arraigned before the court and advised as to the nature of the charge against him, and his right to benefit of counsel, and of making or waiving the making of statement, in open court waived examination:
     Whereupon it is adjudged that the defendant Turner Jackson be held to answer for the crime of an assault with a dangerous weapon. It therefore appearing to me that the crime of an assault with a dangerous weapon has been committed, and there is sufficient cause to believe the said defendant, Turner Jackson guilty thereof I order him to be held to answer the same, and I have admitted him to bail in the sum of five thousand dollars. In default, of which
     Commitment issued and with the defendant placed in the hands of United States Marshal James M. Shoup.

C. A. Sehlbrede
United States Commissioner for Alaska at Dyea.

It is of interest that Jackson "stated as the court that his true name is Turner Jackson." It is believed that this is actually W. H. "Professor" Jackson of Denver Soap Gang fame.

* 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 2.
Commissioner's Journal: part 3.
Commissioner's Journal: part 5.
Commissioner's Journal: part 6.
Commissioner's Journal: part 7.
Commissioner's Journal: part 8.

Turner Jackson: pp. 76, 81-82, 90, 92, 268, 352-55, 358, 361, 365-67, 369, 393, 395, 398, 421-22, 471, 535, 564, 566, 575-76, 579-80, 595.  
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.
Josias M. Tanner: pp. 82, 459, 500, 530, 533, 535, 541, 544, 547-49, 551, 562, 564, 566-71, 575-79, 582.

"In 1977, John Randolph and his brother Joseph Jefferson Smith brought their life of research to a summit with a family reunion in Skagway. This was believed to have been the first time the Smiths had been there since August 1898. Nineteen at the time, I still remember the concerns my father had about how the family would be received. Would the Smiths be welcomed or scorned? The arrival was kept secret, but somehow the visit was discovered, and waiting at the dock were several members of the Skagway Days of ’98 Show to welcome the visitors. The family was warmly embraced, and friendships were forged that continue to this day."
Alias Soapy Smith, page 8


1812: The USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides," wins a battle against the British frigate Guerriere, east of Nova Scotia.
1848: The discovery of gold in California is reported by the New York Herald.
1854: The Grattan Massacre, the first armed confrontation between the U.S. Army and Sioux Indians takes place near Ft. Laramie in present day Wyoming as Lieutenant John Grattan, an interpreter, and 29 infantrymen arrive in the camp of Chief Conquering Bear, firing their canon killing the chief. The Sioux attack the troops, killing Grattan and all but one of his men, who escaped to the fort.
1856: Processing condensed milk is patented by Gail Borden.
1864: Colorado Territory rancher, Elbridge Gerry, rides to Denver to warn of an impending Cheyenne attack on settlements on the South Platte River.
Resulting troop actions disrupt the Indians plans.
1871: A gunfight in Perry Tuttle’s saloon, Newton, Kansas leaves five Men dead and wounded.
1878: Outlaw “Big Nose George” Parrott attempts to stop a train by removing a track rail. The train, at Medicib e Bow, Wyoming, is saved from destruction but not Parrott. He is the only train robber lynched, skinned and pickled.
1882: Las Animas County Undersheriff M. McGraw is shot and killed by Trinidad police officer George Goodell in Trinidad, Colorado after calling Goodell a pimp and his wife a prostitute in the newspaper. The fight takes place in front of Jaffa's Opera House, where Goodell puts six bullets into McGraw, who dies two days later.
1887: The last Indian battle in Colorado occurs as troop clash with Utes near Rangely, Colorado.
1891: Trial begins of Belle Wise for operating a house of prostitution in Denver, Colorado. Wise is Bascomb Smith’s (Soapy Smith’s brother) lover.
1895: John Selman shoots and kills outlaw John Wesley Hardin in El Paso, Texas. Earlier in the day the two had exchanged angry words. That night, Hardin went to the Acme Saloon, where he playing dice. Shortly before midnight, Selman entered the saloon, drew his and fired, hitting Hardin in the head, killing him instantly.
1896: Lawman Alfred Allee is stabbed and killed in a Laredo, Texas barroom brawl.
1900: Ex-Secretary of State Caleb Powers is found guilty of conspiracy to murder gubernatorial candidate William Goebels in Frankfort, Kentucky.
1909: The first car race to be run on a brick track occurs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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