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.

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