January 16, 2020

New Soapy Smith quote

(Click image to enlarge)

new quote attributed to bad man "Soapy" Smith

Discovered in an edition of the Alaska Mining Record, April 5, 1899.


The sensational press of the east are now engaging in some real pipe dreams of their own, and allow a column or two of Canadian and American fights on the Atlin and Porcupine border to creep into their paper. One good has resulted from this, and that is, as Soapy Smith said, “I owe my success in life to the free advertising I have received in newspapers by the number of lies they have written about me.” So it is with Alaska. The tales of wild reckless life told in papers, has been the cause of many wealthy young fellows, coming to Alaska, to become a Wild Bill, but thank God these terrible fellows have been separated from their money by a bloody game of craps, and are now on the hog train going east, or among the strikers on the Skaguay railroad.


TRIVIA: While publishing this post I was reminded of a post I made back on October 3, 2010.

Comparison graphs I made in 2010
(Click image to enlarge)

Back in those days I was debating a lot with Wyatt Earp and Tombstone fans so this was is not only interesting, I admit that I was motivated to create it as a point to make with the Earp historians and fans. 

I knew that Wyatt Earp was not well-known until the 1929 biography. I guessed correctly that between 1860-1929 that Soapy Smith was more well-known across the US than Wyatt Earp was. On a Tombstone history forum, one of my friends posted a Google newspaper archive bar graph for "Wyatt Earp" between the years 1880-1970. It gave me the idea of making a bar graph for Soapy in the same time period. I was not surprised to see that my theory was right.

The top two graphs cover larger and smaller city newspapers across the United States that were available online. Today, ten years later, there is a lot more newspapers available online and it might be interesting to see how different the graphs would look.

"An enterprising showman in Denver is advertising a wax impression of the face of Soapy Smith, the late, who was killed in the boots he wore at Skaguay, Alaska. Great paper signs on the windows of the place where the exhibition is given announce in flaring headlines “Jefferson Randolph Smith, the hero of many encounters.” The show is being given on the ground which Smith himself traversed almost daily previous to getting into his fatal trouble."
Denver Evening Post,
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 557.


1847: John C. Fremont, the famed "Pathfinder" of Western exploration, is appointed governor of California.
1866: Everett Barney patents the metal screw, clamp roller skate.
1869: Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory is established with Carrizo as the county seat.
1878: Four civilians are killed in Indian raids in Limpia Canyon and Mason County, Texas.
1878: The silver dollar begins production as legal tender.
1883: The U.S. Civil Service Commission is established as the Pendleton Act goes into effect.
1890: Bad man Harris Austin is hung in Fort Smith, Arkansas for the shooting murder of Thomas Elliott in the Chickasaw Nation (present day Oklahoma) May 25, 1883. Austin remained on the run until he was captured by Deputy Marshal Carr in April 1889.
1890: John Billee and Thomas Willis hang for 1888 murder and robbery of W. P. Williams, whom they buried in a ravine in the Kiamichi Mountains, Oklahoma Territory.
1896: The first five-player college basketball game is played in Iowa City, Iowa.

January 14, 2020

Ella Wilson: murdering prostitute of Skagway, Alaska

Grave marker of Ella Wilson
Gold Rush Cemetery
Skagway, Alaska
(Click image to enlarge)

lla Wilson: murdering prostitute of Skagway, Alaska

(From Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel)
Late on Saturday, May 28, 1898, Ella D. Wilson, a prostitute, was murdered in her Holly Street cabin. The shocking details were published up and down the west coast.


Mysterious Murder of a Mulatto Woman in Skagway.

Skagway, May 29, via Port Townsend. June 3.—A mysterious murder occurred here last night. Ella D. Wilson, a mulatto woman, was smothered to death in her house on one of the busiest streets of the town by some unknown person. The murder was not disclosed until this afternoon. The woman was found lying in her bed. Around her neck a pillow-case had been drawn tightly, with the ends thrust in her mouth for a gag. Her wrists and ankles were tied together with sheets. Over her head and face a pillow was pressed down, and death had evidently resulted from smothering. Robbery is supposed to have been the motive for the crime, as the woman’s trunk had been rifled. She was thought to have had about $2000…. There is no clue to the murderer. The murdered woman had lived in the principal towns on the Pacific coast.[1]

Those who have read Alias Soapy Smith know about the controversial murder and robbery of the Skagway soiled dove, Ella Wilson and how Denver madam, Mattie Silks, blamed Soapy and U. S. Deputy Marshal Sylvester Taylor for the horrendous deed. My book goes into great detail about everything known about Wilson's death and Silk's later accusations. However, I have written very little on Ella Wilson here on this blog. The reason is that little new information has surfaced.

Marlene McClusky of the Skagway Historical Society blog wrote the following on August 2, 2011.

The New York Times of March 22, 1898 reported that a black prostitute had shot and killed a laboring man at the entrance to her cabin in the saloon district in Skagway. According to the captains of the Alki and the Hueneme the murder started as a result of trouble which began early on Monday evening over the disappearance of the man's watch.[2]

Another Murder at Skaguay
New York Times
March 22, 1898
 (Click image to enlarge)

Today's blog post centers on the newspaper clipping from the New York Times, March 22, 1898.


Another Murder at Skaguay.

SEATTLE, Washington. March 21.-Skaguay has had another murder, according to the officers of the steamers Alki and Hueneme, which have arrived here direct from the Lynn Canal. On last Monday night a laboring man was shot by a colored woman of the lower class in the entrance of her cabin, in the saloon district of Skaguay. He died shortly before the steamers sailed. The murder was the result of trouble which began early Monday evening over the disappearance of the man's watch.[3]

Marlene McClusky continues,
Apparently nothing was done to investigate this, but on May 28, 1898 - only two months later, Ella D. Wilson, a black prostitute or laundress, was strangled in her bed and her belongings stolen. Her house was on Holly Street, the same neighborhood. Perhaps the murder of Ella Wilson was simply retribution or frontier justice for the earlier murder. Although it was widely rumored that she had $3000, it is highly unlikely that a poor black prostitute could have amassed that much money. Even the high priced call girls made little money.[4]
On the Find-A-Grave page devoted to Ella, someone posted an unknown, un-sourced write-up.

Born: 1880 Died: May 28, 1898

"She gave her honor for the life of Skagway."

As a resident of Skagway's Red Light district, Ella was not given a large funeral after an anonymous strangling. She undoubtedly had many friends, but her standing in the community was not high.

Many of Skagway's ladies of the evening lived in the Red Light district cribs named for their nationalities and trade. Jap alley, Paradise alley, and French alley were enclaves of women in virtual slavery. The money only passed through their hands to the men who controlled their lives.

Eventually prostitution was outlawed from the downtown district and cribs ceased to house the "soiled doves" of Skagway.[5]
The quote, "She gave her honor for the life of Skagway" is a play on the inscription on Frank Reid's grave marker, "He gave his life for the honor of Skagway."

If you are familiar with Find-A-Grave, it would be nice to go over there and leave some virtual flowers: Ella Wilson at Find-A-Grave.

[1]: Morning Oregonian, 06/04/1898, p.2.
[2]: Skagway Stories: Ella Wilson
[3]: New York Times, March 22, 1898.
[4]: Skagway Stories: Ella Wilson
[5]: Find-A-Grave: Ella Wilson.

Ella Wilson: August 6, 2011

Ella Wilson: pages 507-12.

"'Thieves fall out and we may find out some time what became of Jeff’s property. There are men in Skaguay now who claim to have killed my brother. I have been told that Reid did not kill him, but that another man in the crowd fired a bullet into his back while he was struggling with Reid.'

'There are very few honest people up in that country,' Said Bascomb last night. 'I was told that my brother had $80 in cash in his clothes when he died, also that he owned several lots in Skaguay, a half-interest in Clancy’s saloon which was taking in probably $200 a day and an interest in the White Pass Trail.

The widow never got anything out of the estate. The money was gone and there was no trace of the lots, as they had never been recorded. Even a letter of thanks from the secretary of war could not be found and nearly everything in Jeff’s room had been stolen.'"
— Bascomb Smith, Alias Soapy Smith, p. 555.


1639: Connecticut's first constitution, the "Fundamental Orders," is adopted.
1784: The U.S. ratifies a peace treaty with England ending the Revolutionary War.
1873: John Hyatt's 1869 invention of ‘Celluloid’ is registered as a trademark.
1864: Vigilantes lynch five outlaw members of the “Innocents” in Virginia City, Montana Territory. One of those hung was Jack Gallagher, whose last words were “I hope forked lightening will strike every strangling…of you.”
1872: Russian Grand Duke Alexis celebrates his 21st birthday and the killing of his first buffalo in Nebraska. The duke missed with his first six shots before Buffalo Bill hands him his .50 caliber rifle. The Duke gets within 10 feet of his prey and shoots, killing the buffalo.
1878: Slabtown changes its name to Leadville, Colorado Territory.
1878: Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone for Britain's Queen Victoria.
1878: Bat Masterson is sworn in as Ford County Sheriff. He becomes a long-time friend of bad man Soapy Smith in Denver, Colorado.
1881: Gambler Johnny O'Rourke, alias “Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce,” shoots and kills a mining engineer following an argument in Charleston, Arizona Territory. He rides to Tombstone where he is protected from a lynch mob by Virgil Earp, Marshal Ben Sippy, and Sheriff John Behan.
1882: The Myopia Hunt Club, in Winchester, Massachusetts is the first country club in the U.S.
1886: Indians appear on doorsteps of many homes in Wichita, Kansas begging to be let in from the cold.
1887: Bad men James Lamb and Albert O'Dell are hung in Fort Smith, Arkansas for the 1886 murder of a farmer who had hired them to do some work.
1891: General Nelson Miles reports that the Sioux Indians are returning to their Dakota reservations.

January 13, 2020

The Clancy's of Seattle saloon-political power fame

Seattle Daily Times
January 1, 1896
(Click image to enlarge)

he Clancy brothers of Seattle

In Skagway, Alaska (1897-98) the Clancy brothers, Frank and John, aligned with Soapy Smith in running the cities saloon and gambling underworld, to keep the city, state, and federal government from shutting them down.

Before, during, and after the Klondike gold rush, the Clancy's ran a saloon empire in Seattle, Washington where they had political clout, getting away with swindling and robbing victims. This post is not an attempt to cover their entire history in Seattle, but rather I will be telling that story over a long period, this being just one incident.

This one incident shows how the Clancy's were able to use the police and the newspapers to push their guilt back to the victim. Surely, as in other like cases, there are conveniently missing facts to this story, published in the Seattle Daily Times, January 1, 1896, page 5.



Port Blakeley Man Gets Drunk and Loses All His Savings.

Thomas Hansen arrived from port Blakeley yesterday on the steamer Renton on his way to Vancouver, B. C. He had $65 on his person, but rather than pay out any portion of it for a bed he slept for a few hours in a chair in Clancy’s saloon, and when he awoke discovered that he and his money had parted. To multiply his misfortunes Hansen drank too much down-town whisky, and when he showed up at police headquarters at 9:30 this morning he could not give an intelligent account of his night’s wanderings, nor of the manner in which he parted company with his cash. As he staggered up the steps at the station in a tone subdued by an uncontrollable thick tongue, he stammered:

“Like lots of other fellows-hic-I came to town, lost my stack.”

Sergeant Sullivan, after being closeted for half an hour with the victim of two deep slumber, sent him out to sleep off his drunk and placed Detective Charles Phillips on the trail of the robbers. No idea of them could be secured, and the police are inclined to the opinion that it all occurred in a box, and that a female robber did the work.

The Clancy's: April 16, 2011, December 27, 2010, June 24, 2010, April 14, 2010, August 20, 2009, July 4, 2009, June 7, 2009, October 5, 2008, January 3, 2020.

Clancy and Company: pages 481, 523, 595.
Frank Clancy: pages 455, 461, 471, 516, 521, 552-53.
John Clancy: pages 455, 461, 471, 481-82, 543-46, 552-55, 558, 585, 595.

"'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.


1794: President Washington approves a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union.
1846: President James Polk dispatches General Zachary Taylor and 4,000 troops to the Texas Border as war with Mexico looms.
1854: Anthony Faas of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, patents the accordion.
1864: George Lane, a member of Henry Plummer's gang of “Innocents” is hung for participation in a stagecoach robbery and other crimes in Montana Territory.
1872: Kit Carson reports that buffalo in Colorado Territory are present “as far as the eye can see.”
1872: The buffalo hunting expedition for Russia’s Grand Duke Alexis is joined by guide, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and “Texas Jack” Omohundro in North Platte, Nebraska.
1873: Denver, Colorado lawman John Holland and Sam Howe begin their careers as Denver, Colorado police officers. Holland would be credited for creating the alias of “Soapy” for bad man Jefferson R. Smith, when he arrested Smith, and forgetting his first name, wrote “Soapy” in the police log book. Howe would be the longest career lawman in Denver history. Both men’s names would grace the pages of Soapy Smith’s notebooks.
1884: The Black Canyon stage is robbed near Gillette, Arizona Territory.
1904: Edward O’Kelley, the murderer of Robert Ford (the man who killed outlaw Jesse James) is killed by an Oklahoma City policeman.
1929: Famed lawman and gambler, Wyatt Earp dies. He is best remembered for the gunfight near the OK Corral on October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona. Soap Gang member Wilson Mizner is a pallbearer.

January 12, 2020

Artifact #62: The Ingersol Club Membership Card

Ingersol Club
membership card
Artifact #62
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

he Ingersol Club
Fraternity, saloon, or gaming house?

Artifact #62 in the Soapy Smith collection is another mystery item. Is it a fraternity for members to meet? Is it a saloon? Is it a gambling house, or perhaps a mixture of all three.

The membership card is not filled in so there was little to write about the card itself. Below is the text for those that are having trouble reading it.
This is to Certify That
Mr. _____________________
Is a Member of Ingersol Club,
Incorporated under the Laws of the State of Colorado.
Sec. _________________________

I decided to research the Ingersol Club, in order to have something to write about. I ran into research problems right away. My initial findings were regards to the name Ingersoll (spelled with two "l's"), which only sparked my curiosity as to why it was named Ingersol (spelled with on "l"). I have yet to discover the reason. I did find families named Ingersol, but not in Colorado.

For the spelling Ingersoll, the closets I came to any reasonable connection, actually had direct ties to Soapy. A deputy sheriff known only as Ingersoll, helped Soapy's younger brother, Bascomb, beat a John Cooney in late July 1893.[1] Deputy Sheriff Ingersoll also accompanied Soapy to the residence of Stella Sheedy on Larimer street, to have the woman re-arrested, after inadvertently aiding her release.[2]

On November 3, 1895 Soap Gang member, Henry "Yank V. Fewclothes" Edwards wrote to Soapy on stationary from the Ingersol Club [3]. A post on that letter can be seen here. In July 1896, Soapy's wife, Mary penned a two-page letter to her husband on Denver Ingersoll Club stationary.[4] Note that the spelling is with two "l's." Mary's letter is artifact #13.

Ingersoll stationary
Artifact #13
See post about this letter
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

Ingersoll envelope
Artifact #13
See post about this letter
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

In March 1893 Soapy presided over the upstairs gambling rooms at the Ingersoll Club, located at 1653 Larimer near Seventeenth Street.[5] This gives rise to the possibility that the Ingersol (Ingersoll) Club was a "respectable" front for a saloon and gambling house, created to protect the business from the anti-gambling reforms that shook Denver in 1892, which were directly responsible for Soapy and some of the biggest gambling proprietors in Denver to set up business in Creede, Colorado during it's silver rush. Perhaps, upon their return, they took measures to hide the gambling from the do-gooders of the city. One theory is that the regular gamblers were given free memberships in the "club," and that this may have curbed police and their informants from checking out the upstairs gambling. 

Location of the Ingersol Club
1653 Larimer Street
Sanborn map
Two story "S" (store)
 (Click image to enlarge)

Ingersol Club
(shaded yellow)
Larimer Street
Other points of interest
Denver Public Library Digital Collection
(Click image to enlarge)

The above photograph shows some Soapy related points of interests. From left to right, we have The Arcade and The Exchange, two of Denver's most infamous saloon and gambling dens. Numerous shootings took place in these buildings. Soapy was involved in several of them, including the murder of gambler Cliff Sparks. The Ingersol Club, and two buildings away is the First National Bank on Larimer and Seventeenth Streets. This was Soapy's bank. It is also the same bank that members of Butch Cassidy's "Hole-In-The-Wall" gang robbed in 1889. Across the street from the bank is the Chever Block, where Soapy had an office. At the next block is the Windsor Hotel, home to some of the Soap Gang.    

Ingersol Club
(shaded yellow)
Denver Public Library Digital Collection
(Click image to enlarge)

[1] Rocky Mountain News, 07/28/1893, p. 3.
[2] Rocky Mountain News, 11/11/1893, p. 3.
[3] "Correspondence of a Crook." Alaska-Yukon Magazine (January 1908), Jones, Robert, p. 380
[4] Ltr fr Mary E. Smith to Jefferson R. Smith II, July (day unknown), 1896, item 13, author’s col.
[5] Rocky Mountain News, 03/21/1893, p. 4.

Artifact #13: June 14, 2010
Henry Edwards letter: May 29, 2011 

Ingersol Club: pages 271, 417.

"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.


1770: The first shipment of rhubarb is sent to the U.S. from London England.
1805: The Michigan Territory is created.
1815: U.S. General Andrew Jackson achieves victory at the Battle of New Orleans. The War of 1812 officially ended on December 24, 1814, with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, however, the news of the signing did not reach British troops in time to prevent their attack on New Orleans.
1861: Alabama secedes from the Union.
1876: Wells Fargo offers an $800 reward for the arrest of George Little, alias “Dick Fellows,” and “Richard Perkins.” 1878: In New York, Alexander Campbell starts implementing his idea of delivering milk in glass bottles.
1893: Soap Gang member John “Rev.” Bowers is fined $10 for his assault on Deputy Sheriff Hanson in Denver, Colorado.

January 5, 2020

Artifact 61: Free cigars for predicting the outcome of the 1896 election

1,000 FREE
Guess who will be elected in 1896
Artifact #61
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)


A contest created by cigar manufacture Kerbs, Wertheim and Schiffer of New York.

Study the back of this card, then fill out the column under 1896 with R for Republican, D for Democrat, or P for People's party, opposite each State entitled to cast an electoral vote, and send it to us with your name and P. O. address written in the margin. No restrictions as to the number of times you guess.  The one giving the correct answer and first received by us will be presented with ONE THOUSAND (1,000) "GENERAL ARTHUR" PERFECTOS. Guess as you vote, intelligently.

The 1896 presidential election was between the Republican Party's William McKinley and Democratic Party candidate, William Jennings Bryan. Obviously, Soapy didn't send this in, but how and why did he have it in his "scrapbook" collection of letters? Was he possibly planning a future swindle for selling tickets to a non-existent contest? Could this already be one of the fraudulent cards?

The average cigar costs about .05 cents in 1896, so 1000 cigars at retail cost would be a $50.00 value. That doesn't sound like a big prize today, but $50 from 1896 is equivalent to $1,907.61 in 2020.[1]

The handwritten names
Artifact #61
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)


Many times seeing atrocious handwriting and chicken scratch through the eyes of another can be very helpful and revealing. I see the names "Eva or Ema Dawson" and "Hank W Tus" or "Witus." The rest appears to be just chicken scratch and lines.

The handwritten names
in negative format
Artifact #61
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

Sometimes viewing the writing in a negative format helps to decipher the text. Does it help you?

The rear of the card
Artifact #61
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

The individual who filled out the rear (shown) is likely a Democrat, considering all the "D's." The "D" appears to be the same "D" as written in "Dawson" on the front of the card, thus likely both sides were filled out by the same individual. As Soapy was a Republican, the handwriting is likely not his.

History of General Arthur cigars.

I did not find much on the cigar manufacturing firm of Kerbs, Wertheim and Schiffer of New York, that made the General Arthur cigar. Mostly as a footnote for later companies they formed via acquisition of other cigar firms. Kerbs and Wertheim had their own individual histories as well. What I did find plenty of was advertisements, tins, trays, cigar box art, etc.

General Arthur cigar ad
McClures Magazine, 1898
Courtesy of Cornell University Library
(Click image to enlarge)

General Arthur cigar box
Courtesy of Heritage Auctions
(Click image to enlarge)

[1]. Tom's Inflation Calculator: (www.halfhill.com/inflation)

"There is not a man on the Denver police force who did not breath a sigh of relief when he read that “Soapy” was dead. It was bound to come, and all realized that, but the question bothering the police officials was how long “Soapy” was to go about killing other men."
Rocky Mountain News, Alias Soapy Smith, p. 584.


1781: Richmond, Virginia is burned by a British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold.
1836: Davy Crockett arrives in Texas, in time for the siege at the Alamo.
1838: U.S. President Martin Van Buren issues the Neutrality Proclamation forbidding citizens from taking sides in Canadian rebellions.
1863: Henry Talbotte, alias “Cherokee Bob,” dies in the back room of his saloon in Florence, Washington Territory after instigating and losing a gun fight on New Year's Day.
1865: A Holliday Overland Mail and Express stage is attacked by Indians near Juesburg Colorado Territory. The Indians get away with $1,802 that was being shipped by Denver merchants.
1870: John Wesley Hardin shoots and kills Jim Bradley in Towash, Texas. Bradley had threatened Hardin earlier while unarmed. He went to his room and procured a gun. On the street Hardin saw Bradley who took a shot at Hardin but missed. Hardin shot back twice killing Bradley.
1878: Indians kill 6 settlers in a raid 63 miles northwest of Presidio del Norte, Texas.
1885: The Long Island Railroad Company becomes the first to offer piggy-back rail service which was the transportation of farm wagons on trains.
1895: Bascomb Smith, brother of Soapy Smith, is arrested in Denver for malicious mischief. He smashed furniture in a house (likely a brothel) on Market Street during a quarrel and with a knife he slashed the arm of Georgie Roe, a probable prostitute.

January 3, 2020

Frank Clancy: "Skaguay a terror for horses."

Seattle Daily News
Aug 22, 1897
(Click image to enlarge)


It was Frank W. Clancy's first trip to Skagway [spelled Skaguay], Alaska, and now he was back in his home town of Seattle, Washington, where he reports on the conditions there. What he leaves out of his report is information meant only for the ears of his brothers. The Clancy's are well-known and politically powerful saloon and gambling proprietors in Seattle, and they plan to open a saloon in Skaguay and the neighboring camp of Dyea.



Frank Clancy Comes Home and Tells About Alaska.

Frank Clancy, the well-known Seattle sporting man, who has been in Skaguay for several weeks returned this morning on the steamer Rosalie. As soon as it was noised about that he had returned he was the most sought–after man in town. A large crowd captured him on the corner of first Avenue and Cherry Street, and to them he detailed some of his experiences and told of the sites he had witnessed.

“You can have some idea of things at Skaguay,” he said, “when you think of the fact that the miners are paying from 35 to 50 cents a pound for packing over the Summit. Good packers are getting $8 a day. That is what John G. Scurry is paying his men today. The trail is simply awful. Very few of the thousands at Skaguay will get over this winter. George Rice of this city started out with a pack train the day before I left Skaguay, and had not returned when I left. Think of that, will you? The country is a holy terror on horses. Scores of them have been killed and lots of them ruined. One of Harry Struve’s horses stepped in a crack in the rocks and literally twisted his leg off. Skaguay is a lively town, and people in business there will make a good thing this winter. A good many of the boys up there will come home after they see how impossible it is for them to cross the Summit this winter.”[1]

On August 10, 1897, before leaving Skagway, Frank he purchased lot 1 on block 6, on Runnals and Shoup Streets, the future southwest corner of what would become Seventh and State Avenues.[2] It is here that Frank and John E. Clancy would open Clancy and Company Music Hall and Club Rooms [gambling] in January 1898.

Clancy and Company
Music Hall and Club Rooms
 (Click image to enlarge)

Frank and John Clancy align with "Soapy" Smith, and in the spring of 1898 they go in 1/2 ownership of Jeff Smith's Parlor (Soapy's saloon), where John Clancy works as a bartender.

With the aid of Soapy, who has a detailed background in manipulating elections, Frank Clancy wins a seat on the Skaguay City Council.[3]

In the last hours of Soapy's empire, as well as his life, John Clancy appears to double-cross Soapy as he is the only gang member completely exonerated from punishment by the vigilante's although the Clancy's were definite crime partners. Stranger still is that John is made executor of Soapy's estate.


TRIVIA: In 1902 outlaw Harry Tracy talked about robbing the Clancy saloon in Seattle. Tracy said that he was going to hold up a policeman for his gun, and then go down to Seattle by Pike Street to hold up Clancy’s Saloon, because “I hear they have got some dough down there.”

[1]. Seattle Daily News, August 22, 1897.
[2]. Skagway Historical Records, lot locations, Vol 19.
[3]. Skaguay News, June 17, 1898.

Frank Clancy: April 16, 2011, December 27, 2010, June 24, 2010, April 14, 2010, August 20, 2009, July 4, 2009, June 7, 2009, October 5, 2008.

Clancy and Company: pages 481, 523, 595.
Frank Clancy: pages 455, 461, 471, 516, 521, 552-53.
John Clancy: pages 455, 461, 471, 481-82, 543-46, 552-55, 558, 585, 595.

"The first night they slept near the lake and remained in hiding all the next day. Saturday night, almost famished with hunger, they hit the trail again and came down to the slaughterhouse with the hope of escaping by boat or of getting back to friendly cabins. It seemed too risky to attempt to pass the lines of armed patrolmen, however, and shortly after 2 o’clock they started back up the trail. Tripp, who is an old man, was tired out and refused to go back. His companions expostulated with him for an hour, but he stuck to his declaration that he “would rather be hung on a full stomach than die of starvation in the ____ ____ mountains.” So he was at length permitted to return."
Daily Alaskan
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 564.


1777: George Washington defeats British forces led by Cornwallis at The Battle of Princeton during the American Revolutionary War.
1791: The first known law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in U.S. history is Albany County Constable Darius Quimby. A posse in Stephentown, New York attempt to arrest Whiting Sweeting on a warrant for theft. Sweeting resists, and stabs Quimby who later dies of his wounds. Sweeting is convicted for the murder in July of 1791 and is executed the following month.
1823: Stephen F. Austin receives a grant from the Mexican government and begins colonization of the region of the Brazos River in Texas.
1844: The side-wheel steamship Shepherdess sinks fast in the Mississippi River 3-miles outside of St. Louis. Forty passengers perish.
1847: The town of Yerba Buena is renamed San Francisco.
1868: The Colorado Central and the Pacific Railroad hosts a groundbreaking ceremony at Golden City, Colorado Territory. 1871: Henry W. Bradley patents oleomargarine (margarine).
1879: The War Department orders Captain Wessells to return Dull Knife and his Cheyenne Indians to Fort Reno in Indian Territory. Dull Knife and his men refuse to leave and are kept in the barracks at Fort Robinson, Nebraska with no food or wood.
1884: Soapy Smith is arrested for the second time while in San Francisco for operating the prize package soap racket. The first arrest was on January 1.
1888: The drinking straw is patented by Marvin C. Stone.
1894: The outlaw Doolin Gang members, Charlie Pierce and Red Buck Waightman hold up the community store and post office in Clarkson, Oklahoma taking supplies, tobacco, cash, and registered mail.
1959: Alaska, “the last frontier” becomes the 49th state.