We apologize for the messy look previous to September 17, 2007. Our template program went awry and calls for us to rebuild the page.
November 14, 2007
"It only cost me
gif courtesy & copyright of Bob Wood
Friends member, Bob Wood, over at the new Frontier Gambler. com site gave us permission to use his daughters wonderful creation made from an illustration on this website.
Glad you liked it. My daughter animated it for me. It only cost me
$100,000.00 (well, not really but that is what college cost). She did
tell me it would of cost me $50.00 but since I paid for the schooling
it would be free. What a kid!!!
If you would like to use it be
my guest. I only ask that it not be given away to others. Your site,
like mine, has a copyright notice and I trust most will respect it.
Thank you Bob. We will treasure it.
November 8, 2007
Soapy makes top 10.November 7, 2007
Jeff found on the net a site called The List Universe. It lists the ten top confidence men of recent history. Soapy Smith made the 6th spot on the list.
The site reads,
A con man is a person who intentionally misleads
another person, usually for personal financial gain.
In recent history there have been a number of con men who have really stood out
for either the wealth they amassed, or the ease with which they tricked people. This is a list of 10 of the most famous
con men in recent history.
- Frank Abagnale [Born: 1948]
- Charles Ponzi [Born: 1882; Died: 1949]
- Joseph Weil [Born: 1877; Died: 1975]
- Victor Lustig [Born: 1890; Died: 1947]
- George Parker [Born: 1870; Died: 1936]
- Soapy Smith [Born: 1860; Died: 1898]
- Eduardo de Valfierno
- James Hogue [Born: 1959]
- Robert Hendy-Freegard [Born: 1971]
- Bernard Cornfeld [Born: 1927; Died: 1995]
Soapy's faro and craps table
34 years in mothballs.
In July of 1973 (age 16) I attended the Harriet Pullen Alaskan
artifacts auction in Seattle, Washington where my father purchased a
number of items belonging to Soapy Smith. Harry Chritchley was the
buyer from the Glenbow museum who
purchased Soapy's faro table and crap table. They sat directly behind
my father, making a verbal deal with him not to bid on Soapy items he
wanted. My father had spent $4,6oo on the roulette table and $600 for
the tombstone and there were still a few items he wanted so he passed
on the faro table and craps table, and he later regretted it.
April of 1990 I
found some old notes on the tables and decided to write the museum to
find out what became of them. I received a reply from Ron Getty, the
curator at the time,
that the tables were in "deep storage."
recently wrote the museum in the hopes that surely by now they had been
placed on display. I figured that there were at least photographs of the tables that I might purchase to put into the biography.
Lorain Lounsberry, the senior curator responded.
Dear Mr. Smith,
Your enquiry about Soapy Smith’s faro table and crap
table has been forwarded to me, and yes, they are still in Glenbow’s
collection, and are still in our storage areas where they draw attention from visiting
researchers. My exhibit idea for ‘gambling’ had to be shelved (lack
of funding), and of course those impressive objects would have been essential parts
of the exhibit. The objects have not yet been photographed, and while Glenbow
does offer a service to photograph pieces from the collections for a fee, the
size of these objects combined with the high work load in our photo studio
would probably translate into a long wait period for photos. Nevertheless, I’m
attaching our fees for this service for your information.
Alberta T2G 0P3
amazes me that these historical gambling artifacts have been in storage
for 34 years...and no photographs were taken of them? Very sad.
November 6, 2007
Possible "new" family member. Paula
Smith-Jones wrote in with information that she is possibly related to
Soapy Smith. We always find this to be very exciting news. It is a
possible "new" branch to the family tree and will probably contain some
"new" information and photographs as well.
Paula needs the help of the family genealogists out there. Write us HERE at this site with the information.
Hi, I was told by a family member that we are related to
“Soapy” Smith. But some of the things I had found out and was told does not
coincide with your accounts. Other then hear-say and passed down information,
what proof do you have as to who killed him? You say that there may have been
"others that shot and killed him. Who is this "others".
Hi, Please give me a little more information as to your
relationship to the family. The information as to who really shot Soapy has
been an on-going question since the day he died. I have information that will
answer a lot of previously unanswered questions but most of this will remain
private until my book is published.
My dad was the one that had told me about it and if I
remember correctly it was a cousin on my dad's side. First-second-third, I
don't know. I can't ask him because he died a long time ago-almost 18
years now. His name (my dad's) was/is Paul Vearl Smith Jr. My grandpa obviously
was Sr. and other then that, it's kind of vague. Again if I remember correctly
he (dad) was born in MO. I assume you have done a lot of research on this. If
it is true that we (my family) is related to you and your side of the family,
are you also related to the Tucker side of the family as well?
Hi, I did not find any Paul Vearl Smith's but I did
find some Tucker's. I would need some of the names as far back as you can go in
order to be able to find a connection in the family tree. The Smith's were in
St. Louis. Don't give up as you have more than many that write me. The family is
pretty big and new members are found often.
I am looking forward to hearing from you! What is
Oh boy! Your making me think now! UMM My dad was born 6-12-1933, and
died 3/16/89 in Phoenix. I found his death certificate and it says he was
born in Ks, unknown city. I know that's not a lot on information but that's all
I have, other then trying to remember things I have tried to forget for MANY
years. I was thinking I had his old license and SS card but couldn't find it.
didn't really look hard though. I remember he took us as kids to see a grave
yard, and that it was full of his family from years ago, I think it was in KS
or MO. we traveled a lot and being young it all kind of ran together. He didn't
talk a lot about his family, so I think that's why it really was a stand-out
memories. I also remember him taking us to see his cousins after my mom
died, again I don't remember if it was KS, MO, OK. or their last name for
that matter. Sound crazy but the only thing I really remember is that they had
2 boys- teens- and leaving think Wow that's a "normal" family! We
never stayed anywhere long. No more then a couple years. He and my mom met
in a State Hospital. True but also a joke. My mom was working in the kitchen
and my dad was an orderly. I will ask my Aunt if she knows anything
more. She is good at this stuff, it all runs together for me. I think I
have just wanted to forget a lot about the "early years". LOL OK
back to the family thing:
For some reason I was thinking he had a brother, but don't count on it.
I just know he said he had a BAD childhood. They (grand parents) are dead
I think I talked to them when I was LITTLE maybe 6 or 7. It was around this
time that he took us to the grave yard (maybe 8 ) I do know that almost everyone
lived in KS. MO. OK. I remember towns like Joplin MO., Grove OK. I was
born in Topeka, KS in 1971. In St (something) Hospital like Saint Joseph
or something, I was too young to remember lol. There is me and my brother
and a "half sister (not from dad) and one that died right after
Brian Smith (my Brother)
The baby that died- don't know the name, it may come to me later
Paula Smith-Jones (me) yeah I know too original!
Let me know if any of this "hits" on something. I think it would
be cool to find "family" out there somewhere. Oh something else dad
was Osage too. Or at least that's what I was told. I will wait to hear from you
before I bug my Aunt. I'll talk to ya latter then! Paula
I forgot to ask, are you guys from MO. too then. The reason I wanted to know
about the "other people" to start with was that, my dad told us that
the person that killed him (Soapy Smith) was a relative on moms side. So I was
trying to see if this was true....... Anyway it would be interesting to find
this out one way or another. LOL.
I have not yet found a link but there are some good
clues. I will post this on the website and perhaps another family member will
know the link.
The story that Soapy was killed by a relation is
very interesting. I have not heard that one before. I hope you are able to find
out more information regarding this. The two men believed to have shot and
killed Soapy are not linked to our family…so far. Anything is possible.
In the mean time I hope I am not being premature in
saying, “welcome to the family.”
November 5, 2007
Territorial News. We would like to thank Friends member, Mike Sinnwell of RockyMountain Profiles.com who sent Jeff a copy of the October 17, 2007 issue of Territorial News out of Apache Junction, Arizona. The front page has a large photograph of Soapy with the heading, SOAPY SMITH The West's Greatsest Con Artist. The
article is four pages long and is copied from Wikipedia. We are happy
to see a continuing climb in the numbers interested in his story. The
issue also covers the 126 anniversary of the gunfight near the OK
Corral, but Soapy carries the headlines. Contact the newspaper (480)
983-5009 if you wish to obtain an issue.
November 3, 2007
fine scrimshaw piece above is on display in Dennis Corrington's museum
of Alaskan history in Skagway, Alaska. The museum, located on the
corner of 5th and Broadway tells the history of Alaska with the use of
32 scrimshawed ivory Walrus tusks. The first-class museum is free, but
open only during the summer months.
October 30, 2007
Smith's in political circles.
have been numerous members of the family who ventured into politics. In
chronological order, Dr. Ira Ellis Smith was a Representative for
Georgia. His son, Jefferson R. Smith Sr. dabbled in city elections as
did his son, "Soapy" did. It was Soapy's son, Jefferson R. Smith III
who had to hide the fact that his father was a bad man. An email from
family member, Bunny Goddard, that includes a press release for Ellis
Cook running for office in Savannah, Georgia. Ah, the Smith's in office
once again. I should add that Bunny says he is a good one as well. I
wonder if he is worried in the least that his opponent will find out
that a relative was once America's premeir confidence man.
Our good cousin and brother!
Cook for Post 2
By Savannah Morning News
Created 2007-10-27 23:30
FOUR YEARS ago, Savannah voters elected a new mayor and four new
aldermen, changing the dynamics on City Council. But voters in the
eastside 3rd District, to their credit, returned veteran member Ellis
Cook to City Hall for a fourth term.
This election year, Mr. Cook is leaving the district he has represented
for 16 years to run citywide as an at-large candidate for Post 2. We
recommend his candidacy to voters on Nov. 6.
Mr. Cook, 61, is an experienced, steady hand. He doesn't flip-flop on
positions, pander or give one speech to one group of people and give the
opposite speech to different group.
He calls it like he sees it. His honest, straightforward approach has
earned him the respect of his colleagues, whether they agree or disagree
He also has been a strong advocate for the council-manager form of
government. He went to bat for City Manager Michael Brown early in the
new administration when the long-time city manager was catching heat from
some newly elected aldermen and was wondering whether he wanted to stick
He has opposed efforts to change the city's charter to give the mayor
more power over day-to-day city operations.
Mr. Cook isn't afraid to take politically unpopular views. In 2003, he
was an early supporter of city-county police consolidation, when the
merger was far from a done deal and was under political attack by some
elected officials. During the administration of Mayor Susan Weiner, Mr.
Cook was a favorite whipping boy of those who believed he should have
been a stronger supporter of the mayor and her policies.
He won re-election; she didn't.
Mr. Cook, a real estate broker, has been a consistent supporter of
efforts to improve public safety and reduce crime, bring a more
jobs-friendly approach to local government and to make the delivery of
services more efficient.
Ellis Cook isn't on City Council to make friends. He's there to serve
people. We recommend his candidacy to voters in the race for at-large
October 29, 2007
Meet a family member.October 23, 2007
Meet Kevin Schaffner. He is Joy (grand-daughter of Soapy) Schaffner's grandson.
First, I really enjoyed the web site and appreciate the time and effort
put into the making of it.. My grandmother was Joy Smith (or Schaffner)
and I have to say looking over the various information it really made
me miss her but remember how proud she was of her families past.. It
was great to see Soapy Smiths Winchester, I remember how it hung in her
living room and how it commanded attention (I believe my cousin Jeff
has it now).. Although, I do remember my grandmother telling us that
the movie with Clark Gable was disputed because Jefferson Randolph
Smith, III wanted to play the part of Soapy and was denied, it was a
nice flashback.. I even remember going out to California with my
family, cousin and grandmother and stopping by Randy's home (I was born
in 1980 so I was quite young) but the life in the house was great and
our family often talked about the "scenes" that were setup throughout
the home.. My grandmother took great pleasure in talking about his
accomplishments regarding his work in Disney and her own as a doll
maker.. I was also lucky enough to track down one of the $5 casino
chips and wrap it as a Christmas gift for her about a year or so before
she passed and the smile it brought to her cheeks was great..
Well, I could ramble on so I'll wrap it up, ah, I must add though
she was quite upset she missed the 100th annv. family reunion..
Unfortunately I still haven't made it out to Skagway but it is on my to
go list.. Keep up the good work and the Smith pride and blood runs
strong over here in NY and will be remembered for ever..
Stay Well & Talk Soon,
Welcome Kevin, it is good to have you here with us.
New website on frontier gamblers.
Friends of Soapy Smith
member Bob Wood has created a new website dedicated to the history of
old west gambling. Bob is a great historian of the old west and is
plenty suited for the monumental task. The site is not completed but it
looks great already. His site includes a history of the men and women that made their living by
the turn of a card. The site includes a lot of history on the gamblers,
including Soapy Smith, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Lottie Deno and Poker
Alice. History of the games include faro, keno, hazard, chuck-a-luck,
craps and roulette. Keep an eye on this site as it is sure to be a hit.
October 22, 2007
Tivoli Club Grand-Opening.
(click photos to enlarge)
Jefferson Randolph Smith in front of the Tivoli Club with two of the
beautiful saloon ladies. (right) The group that participated. Peter "Ed
Chase" and Jefferson are on the far right. It was windy and getting a
"Ed Chase" enjoys a quiet moment before the storm that he knew would
come as the sun sank into evening.
Jeff Smith and son Jefferson Randolph Smith went to White
Horse Ranch and movie set on Saturday (Saturday October 20) for the
grand-opening of the Tivoli Club, one of two saloons now open on the set. Peter
(“Ed Chase”) the owner of the ranch named the building in honor of Soapy Smith
and we could not be more pleased.
It was a great day of warm weather and a clear sky.
Local towns-people shot up the set all day long and a mock gang war broke out
between the inhabitants of the Whitehorse saloon and the Tivoli Club which face
each other from across the main street. It took until nightfall to extract some
bad men out of the Tivoli.
Saloon girls, gamblers, gun men held the town captive for
the whole weekend. The highlight for me was watching my son Jefferson perform a
couple of card tricks he had learned. I was fooled when he palmed the top card,
which is something I did not know he knew how to do! Naturally, I bragged to
everyone and the whole saloon became a gambler’s paradise of bunco tricks and slight-of-hand,
with Jefferson smack dab in the middle. He is now looking through my library
collection for books on card manipulation…I am so proud. Our family can always
use the extra income…
September 28, 2007
Another fine edition to the
Gunfight Artwork page.
Stephen Pickles from the English magazine, Look & Learn
was kind enough to send us this wonderful copyright rendition of the
Soapy Smith/Frank Reid gunfight by artist Graham Coton. This
illustration comes from the Look and Learn issue #944, February 23,
1980. The piece now proudly resides in our Gunfight Art gallery
Thank you Stephen!
A nice letter.
Colleen Reisner sent in a very nice email that we felt should be shared.
Thank you for all you have done to bring your great grandfather back to
the public eye. If you have spent so much of your life researching, I
am curious if you think this could make an exiting new movie , dont
want to exploit the legend, but given his character and the year and
circumstance, I'd love to see your grand dad on the big screen.. Hope I
didnt offend you with this. I went to Skagway when I was young, my
family found 3 separate graves for "Soapy" while we were there, thus
the interest grew. My brother came in second in his school for a book
written about "Soapy" he used bark from a tree for the covers and bound
it with rawhide, he was in elementary school at the time and made the
paper for that creative work, the creative part was inside the covers.
As the "Soapy" grandson (you have a nice name by the way) you know that
the inside is the story not judged by the cover. Bad man or not, he
was a man. I wouldnt play poker with him if he was alive today! Thank
you for all the great work you have done, I wish you well, Colleen.
you so much Colleen. It is letters like this that make all the work
worthy. Yes, you bet I have thought about a movie based on his life. It
would probably be a mix of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. Please
exploit the legend! I feel this would be a great example of truth being
stranger than fiction. Even the gunfight would seem almost too
"Hollywoodish" if done authentically. Meaning that viewers would have a
hard time believing it actually happened that way. Just imagine the
moment Frank Reid pulls out his revolver and pulls the trigger...only
to have the hammer fall on a faulty cartridge. The lull and horror in
the two men's faces on film would be priceless.
Three separate graves for Soapy? I would love to hear about that?
still have that book made by your brother would you? Be sure to tell
him we appreciate his work, and we certainly appreciate your letter.
September 26, 2007
Jeff Smith's Parlor Replicain Finland. CLICK ON PHOTOGRAPHS TO ENLARGE
Photographs: top left,
Jeff Smith's Parlor from a short distance. the white building on the
left is a replica of the Columbia Gazette office of Columbia,
California during the gold rush of 1848. top right, a close-up of the Parlor. Bottom, the inside view of the Parlor. From photographs it can be seen that the bar is near exact.
It was in 1994 when Jeff first heard from Golden World, the
international prospector museum which holds the international world
championship gold panning competitions in Tankavarra Finland. Pirjo
Muotkajarvi had sent Jeff (by mail) some photographs of their progress
on a gold rush town. The idea was to have one replica building that
represented the main gold rushes of history. It was an honor to learn
that Jeff Smith's Parlor was chosen to represent the Alaskan side of
the Klondike gold rush of 1896-1899.
short time ago while going through his files Jeff ran into that 1994
letter and wrote to Golden World to see what progress had taken place
in 13 years.
Curator, Hanna Taskinen, was nice enough to email me some fantastic
photographs of their Parlor. Someone did their homework and copied the
saloon almost identical to the original, including the front door, the
front and side window and the bar. The only difference being that it is
a bit shorter than the original. I am proud that they went to such
great lengths to build Soapy's saloon with such great care to detail.
September 23, 2007
Photographs from Alaska State Museum.
September 17 we posted a story on the summer display of the Soapy Smith
automoton at the Alaska State museum in Juneau, Alaska. Jeff's author
took some of his valuable personal recuperation time to take a visit to
the museum and photograph the displays.
I made it in to the Alaska
State Museum to search out the Martin Itjen Soapy Smith Museum exhibit.
It's the largest part of an exhibit on tourism in Alaska. The permanent general display of
the badge, hair, hand bills, and photos have been moved to a frame
inside an exhibit on gold (an assay office), but it is still nicely
Thank you Art!
(Click on the photos to enlarge)
Photographs: Top row: Soapy Smith automoton in Martin Itjen display. Read more about Martin on this website HERE
Martin Itjen display with Soapy automoton and a frame of Soapy Smith
artifacts, including five original photographs, the 101 and 317
handbills, a lock of Soapy's hair and the gold badge John Stewart
awarded Deputy Marshal "Si" J. Tanner. The badge was made from a
portion of Stewart's recovered gold that Soapy's men had stolen from
Bottom row: A
closeup of the Tanner badge. The Martin Itjen display case which
includes his tour conductors hat and his gold nugget watch chain.
September 21, 2007
Response from Jose Smith.
Smith, great-great grandson of Soapy and son of Randy J. Smith sent in
a response to the photograph question posed on Sept. 20.
My dad (Randy) had photos hanging in our hallway for years that he got from
my Grandpa Joe. The photos were of each Smith generation. Starting with Ira
Ellis Smith and his wife Ellen. The next picture frame would show Ira's first
son (Jefferson Randolph Smith) and his wife. The next frame showing JRS first
son (Soapy) and so on ending with a frame showing my father and my mother.
I remember the first frame (of Ira E. Smith) being the photo you are asking
about (not the exact photo, a slightly different pose as you said). This was
the photograph for Jefferson Randolph Smith. His photograph that my
Grandpa Joe framed was completely different. It was a man with a shorter
I remember this so well because these pictures were framed right outside my
door growing up, and I would see them everyday. It was also my job to dust these
pictures every weekend, so I became very close to old Ira, since his was the
My sister Jeanette now has these frames and pictures from the hallway. I
could contact her and try to get her to scan the pictures and send them to me if
you would like.
Good to hear from you. Yes, I remember seeing the
photographs hanging in the hallway of your father's home. You are right
that it was marked as Ira Ellis Smith. I believe it was your uncle Jim
who first brought up the idea that it is probably his son Jefferson as
an older man. I made the mistake on the website of carrying that belief
on. I will correct it today.
A good question to find the answer
to was whether Ira was a member of the Templar Knights. We know that
his sons Jefferson and Columbus were.
A good scan of these
photographs would be wonderful! Jeff Smith
September 20, 2007
C. D. Smith, Ira Ellis Smith or J. R. Smith Sr.?
Joe reported the photograph as being of Ira Ellis Smith.
It was later
reported that the photo may be of J. R. Smith Sr.]
needs assistance from family members on the photograph above. He
questions who it is actually of. Does anyone have some more information
that may solve the question of identity?
grandson, Joseph Jefferson Smith, spent much of his adult life
researching his grandfather. He traveled across the US and Europe
researching the family history. He was very successful in obtaining
information others could not. Many years ago he sent his siblings a
photograph very similar, but not the same exact pose, as the one shown
above. It is obvious the two photographs were taken within minutes of
each other. The problem lay in the fact that Joe seemed to have
information that it was Soapy's father, Jefferson Randolph Smith Sr.
whereas the book1 the above page comes from states it is Columbus Darwin Smith, a son of Dr. Ira Ellis Smith.
the Knights of Templar pin just above the right wrist. I thought this
would help but it appears both men were members of the organization.
1. Jones, Mary G. and Lily Reynolds, Coweta County Chronicles for One Hundred Years, Atlanta, Georgia, Stein Printing Company, 1928. p. 582.
September 17, 2007
Soapy automaton on display.
Soapy Smith robot
George Rapuzzi serves up a drink to the Soapy automaton
This summer that just ended was a chance to view a nice piece of Americana, the
original Soapy Smith automaton at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, Alaska. We
apoligize that this notice is late but we did not know it was on exhibit until very recently.
It may still be on displaythere. Please contact the museum first before making plans to
The automaton was built and placed on display by Martin Itjen and maintained later by George
Rapuzzi. The front door, by way of chains and pulleys, was key to its movement, as explained by
Jeff Smith below.
I was sixteen at the time. When entering through the front door, we were greeted
by an effigy of Soapy standing at the bar. By means of hidden mechanical chains
and pulleys hooked between the door and Soapy, he turned his head towards
visitors, his eyes lit up, and his left hand, holding a beer glass, rose in a welcoming
toast. George poured rootbeer into glass mugs, and we all toasted Soapy.
September 14, 2007
Another Soapy memorial
Larimer Square, Denver.
Soapy & "Boss" Speer
(click photo to enlarge)
Kevin from Denver History Tours sent in some photographs of a
mural section painted on a ceiling in historic Larimer Square, Denver, Colorado.
Kettle Arcade is an open area extending off Larimer Square to the
south-east. On the roof are some paintings done in 1988. Painted
there, next to Mayor ["boss" Robert] Speer, is J. R. Smith playing the
concertina. The Smith image is not indoors, precisely. There is a
Larimer through to a courtyard behind the buildings that front the
street. So, you walk through a large, arched tunnel which has a second
story above it. So, protected from the elements, but open to the air
otherwise. The address for the restaurant in the courtyard is the best
I could come up with, 1420 Larimer. Tell folks to look on the east
side of Larimer; it will be the only tunnel-like arcade there.
and Jeff talked about the painting. There is no doubt that it is Soapy
and "Boss" Speer in the clouds...but is that heaven? Both men were
corrupt and probably would have had to con their way in...Guess it
could be heaven after all.
Kevin is with Denver History Tours
in which guests have several packaged and custom tours available,
including both walking and bus tours.
Thank you Kevin.
September 11, 2007
Soapy memorial at Tiny Town
(click on photo to enlarge)
Patrick J. sent in an email with some great photographs of a Soapy Smith
memorial at Tiny Town in Denver, Colorado. Tiny Town
is an amusement park with over 100 miniture buildings representing
Colorado history. If you click on the photo above to enlarge it you can
see a good size comparison as there are two men standing on top of the
Thank you Patrick!
August 18, 2007
Busy - busy.
Publisher and author very busy with a full day devoted to close examination
for the lack of "new" items. Jeff is busier than ever trying to finish
up the Soapy biography, and will be returning to school as well. Some
of the newer items to mention while on line;
Jeff met for two constructive days with his publisher who had dropped
in from Alaska to go over many details on publishing the book.
Everything looks very promising.
2.) Whit "Pop" Haydn has posted 8 pages of Skagway photographs on his School Whit worked on a cruise ship and talked about Soapy during his magic shows.
for Scoundrels board HERE
Whit in front of Jeff Smith's Parlor, all boarded up and ready for
restoration by the National Park Service.
Dave V. of the School for Scoundrels sent us a great little story about
a traveling show of Alaskan racing pigs, one of which is named "Soapy
I saw this last weekend. Well, almost. Check out (Alaskan racing pigs)
pig in the photo section wearing #1's name was "Soapy Smith." The
announcer introduced each of the pigs before the race and gave a brief
history of Soapy and Skagway before the race begun. He
didn't do as well in the race we saw, but in the head to head hurdles
competition against "Yukon Jack" Soapy beat him easily. Of course, in
true "Soapy" fashion, he cheated and ran "under" the last hurdle.
That will do pig...that will do.
August 3, 2007
The Tivoli Club
Photo by Whitehorse Ranch
go trying to find Whitehorse, California on a map. Actually Whitehorse
is a western movie town/set in Yucca Yalley located on the Whitehorse
Ranch. It is operated as a corporation by Jeff's long-time friend, and
member of Friends of Bad Man Soapy Smith,
"German Pete." While building the replica of Soapy's Tivoli Club, Pete
has been going by the handle of "Big Ed Chase," Soapy's partner in the
Tivoli Club, a combination saloon and gaming dive in Denver, Colorado
between 1889-1895. It is an honor that Soapy be acknowledged with such
a fitting tribute by the gang at the Whitehorse Ranch. Thank you Pete!
Whitehorse is planning a grand opening of the Tivoli and several other
buildings on the set slated for October 20, 2007. More details will be
posted as they come in. Write us here if you would like to attend.
July 30, 2007
Another rebuttal to Cathy Spude's
article in True West.
You might recall on this site back in May 23, 2007 Jeff wrote a letter
to the editor of True West correcting
mistakes made in author Cathy Spude's article she had written for that
magazine, entitled, Con Man's Curse. Jeff's letter to the editor was
published along with Cathy's rebuttal in the August, 2007 issue (still
on the book stands). In this rebuttal Cathy made a couple of major
historical mistakes that Jeff wishes to correct. True West will not
publish the latest corrections.
Cathy Spude wrote:
the specifics examples of differences based on sources, Fenton B.
Whiting, M.D., in a letter dated July 27, 1929, on file at the Alaska
State Library, states that "Silm Jim" Foster was "a dangerous hop head
... under the dope."
a copy of this letter Whiting wrote in 1929 and Cathy avoids the
misinformation Whiting writes about the gang by conveniently leaving
out parts of the paragraph that clearly damages Whiting's credibility
for knowledge about members the Soap Gang. The complete description is
were Old Man Tripp, an arch criminal from Soapy's old haunts in
Colorado. Also, Bowers, a gun man, and also, bartender for Soapy, and
then, Slim Jim, a dangerous hop head, but, a killer at that, under the
dope, of course.
Jeff Smith corrects the information given by Whiting:
Man Tripp was not from Colorado. He joined up with the gang in Skagway.
John Bowers was not a gun man. I know of no accounts in which he is
known to have used a gun. He was not Soapy's bartender. He was a
steerer for Soapy. Nate Pollock was the bartender. There is no record
of Foster ever killing anyone or of being a hop head.
Cathy Spude wrote:
According to the Skagway News, published on July 15, 1898, Tanner; instead o
f Whiting, apprehended Foster:
This is incorrect. The July 15, 1898 does not say Tanner captured Foster. The paragraph reads,
He was finally captured near Bond and State streets, and for a few
minutes it looked as if the rising sun would shine on "Slim's" body
dangling from a limb. Captain Tanner again came to the front in a
manner that could not be misunderstood. He recovered his man and
quietly marched him back to the guarded room. [See the actual newspaper HERE. The quote
mentioned is in the upper right hand of the last column].
According to the newspaper, Tanner did not capture Foster but rather saved
him from those who did.
July 26, 2007
A third Wake location added.
proprietors of Whitehorse Movie Ranch in Yucca Valley, California is in
the process of building a reproduction of the Soapy's famed Tivoli Club
that sat on the corner of Seventeenth and Market in Denver, Colorado.
"German Pete," of the Whitehorse Ranch expressed concern that next
year's Wake at the Magic Castle will be held on a weekend rather than
July 8 due to attendance. This is very understandable as the Soapy Wake
there has grown to become one of the largest attended functions of
their calender year.
Being an avid historian, Peter has attended
every Wake at the Magic Castle since it's birth there, and will
continue to do so, but feels that July 8, the day Soapy actually died,
should be observed as well. He therefore is currently building a
reproduction of the Tivoli Club on his movie lot and has contacted Jeff
Smith for details of the original building. Jeff said that he was quite
moved and honored by the action taken on the Whitehorses' part. We will
surely keep you in touch with photographs, etc., as they come in.
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