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Alaska Magazine Article
Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:15am

During the long research phase of Jeff's comprehensive biography of Soapy, word of grafters in Wrangell turned up now and then, and sometimes they were tagged as Soapy's men. Only one of these reports seemed somewhat credible enough to make it into ALIAS, and it is likely untrue:

(From ALIAS SOAPY SMITH, p 497:) False reports seem to follow notoriety. From Wrangell, Alaska, came report that the "irrepressible Soapy Smith and his 'regimental' grafters will be passengers on the next steamer from that port. 'Soapy' decided that he would do Tacoma during the mobilization of the National Guard at that place. An advance guard of six of the Smith brigade arrived last night on the NORTH PACIFIC" (San Francisco Examiner 04/27/1898).

Coming or going from Skagway, some of Soapy's men may have stopped in Wrangell on their own, to "prospect." It seems highly unlikely, though, that Soapy would have sent them or that he himself would have bothered with the place. Skagway was just too rich a claim.

Some thoughts from Jeff's associate researcher,
Art Petersen in Juneau, Klondike Research (

  • Alaska Mag article Stan Cohen, Tue Jan 20 8:06pm
    In the latest issue of Alaska Mag an article about Wyatt Erp in AK mentions that Soapy Was in Wrangell after his escapades in Skagway. Hard to believe when He was killed in Skagway. Haven't found any ... more
    • Alaska Magazine Article — art.petersen, Wed Jan 21 8:15am
    • Soapy in Wrangell?Jeff Smith, Tue Jan 20 10:56pm
      Thank you, Stan. Good catch! There were stories that Soapy started out in Wrangell, but there is no provenance. In fact, there is no evidence he visited Wrangell. It is highly unlikely. Jeff Smith
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