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Cathy Spude
Murphy or Reid?
Tue Nov 8, 2011 9:03am
67.0.13.19

Jeff:

I admit to going back and forth, sometimes daily, on this issue. Murphy or Reid? That's why I think it may be an eternal debate and its best just to lay out the evidence as best we can from decades later.

The facts as we know them now is that Sehbrede convened a coroner's inquisition -- as demanded by law -- and it took them several hours and TWO autopsies to come to a decision. Unfortunately, there is no transcript of what happened during that several hours of debate. While you have made a very good case for Murphy actually firing the fatal shot, I will be showing in my book why the jury was predisposed to believe that Reid should have and therefore did fire the fatal shot. My point here is that the debate obviously convinced Rev. Sinclair, who changed his mind from his initial observations on July 8, which he wrote his diary, to July 11, when he wrote his sermon.

I don't think it was a matter of "hiding" evidence, but of believing what the Anglo-Saxon businessmen of Skagway wanted to believe: that their "hero" Reid, a founding member of Skagway, had killed the "villian" Soapy Smith. I don't believe that these middle class businessmen (or the well-educated British clergyman, for that matter) could really get it through their heads that they had been "saved" by a working class laborer, the Irishman, Jesse Murphy. Plus the "fact" that Si Tanner had already assured Frank Reid that he had killed Soapy, and Frank was still alive would have gone a long ways towards convincing everyone that they needed to keep up the pretense.

So you see, I'm NOT saying that Murphy DIDN'T kill Soapy. What I'm saying is that the Jury, and therefore the rest of the community, was very reluctant to BELIEVE that Murphy killed Soapy.

THAT'S what I mean about myth influencing fact influencing legend. Like John Ford eventually said, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." The American Frontier Myth states that violence regenerates redemption. Skagway's promoters wanted travelers to believe that Skagway was safe to travel through by Frank Reid's act of redeeming the town by killing Soapy Smith. That could only be accomplished if a mythic hero accomplished the deed. Murphy didn't fit the bill, whereas Reid did.

Check out my website, http://www.montanadawn.com/Soapy__Legend.html, in which I describe Chapter 4, A Lie Agreed Upon. I named that chapter "A Lie" specifically to identify the conflict between the Murphy and Reid suspects as killers as Soapy.

So you are mistaken when you keep asserting that I say that Reid killed Smith. What I say is that the official records says that Reid killed Smith.

Cathy

  • Murphy did kill SoapyJeff Smith, Mon Nov 7 7:46pm
    Yes, Cathy it is pretty clearly disclosed in my book that Jesse Murphy was the man who actually killed Soapy Smith. The additional diary entry from Sinclair is just one more person in Skagway at the... more
    • Murphy or Reid? — Cathy Spude, Tue Nov 8 9:03am
      • the ongoing "debate."Jeff Smith, Thu Nov 10 1:32pm
        Cathy, you wrote, "I admit to going back and forth, sometimes daily, on this issue. Murphy or Reid? That's why I think it may be an eternal debate and its best just to lay out the evidence as best we ... more
        • DebateCathy Spude, Thu Nov 10 6:49pm
          LOL! I'm saying you and I are laying out the evidence decades later. As far as the folks back in 1898, they believe they looked at the evidence on July 9, and decided that Frank Reid killed Soapy.... more
          • ConfusionJeff Smith, Thu Nov 10 7:38pm
            Cathy, your message would have been crystal clear had you left out the word "from." You wrote, "As far as the folks back in 1898, they believe they looked at the evidence on July 9, and decided that... more
            • "Truth"Cathy Spude, Fri Nov 11 10:02am
              The truth... "I'd rather be found wrong and learn the truth than think I'm right and never know." óJeff Smith I guess I truly am dense and only now just beginning to "get" it. The only version of the ... more
              • Cathy, you quoted me. "I'd rather be found wrong and learn the truth than think I'm right and never know." óJeff Smith and then write, "The only version of the truth that any Jeff Smith will accept... more
                • Nature of TruthCathy Spude, Sat Nov 12 9:16am
                  LOL! And here I thought that was exactly what I was doing! Stating both sides of the story, my opinion and letting people make up their own minds! When I do it, you accuse me "hav[ing] a tendency to... more
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