Everything’s Temporary

This is our entry for The Daily Post Daily Prompt: Temporary.

This is a photo of part of the Gold Rush Cemetery in Skagway, Alaska. This cemetery is the oldest one in Skagway and contains infamous characters as well as ordinary residents.  A list of those buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery can be downloaded from this National Park Service website, which provides age and cause of death, along with other personal information.  In this photo, Harley Baker on the right was 3 1/2 years old when he died of meningitis on February 28, 1898. James Gallegher in front died on June 25, 1900, age unknown, of pleural pneumonia.

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Gold Rush Cemetery Tombstones

Possibly the most infamous occupant here is Jefferson “Soapy” Smith, a con man whose ambitions led him to Skagway around 1897. Unsuccessfully confronting the town’s vigilante committee on July 8, 1898, he was shot dead by Frank Reid. In the exchange, Reid was also fatally wounded.

Here lies  Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith II, the temporary villain of this story, several yards outside the Gold Rush Cemetery.

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Soapy Smith, Villain

Frank Reid was one of four guards present on Juneau Wharf where the vigilante committee was meeting. The head of the Canadian Mounties later stated that it was another guard who killed Soapy, but it seemed more prudent at the time to give credit to Frank Reid as the hero of the affair.

Here lies Frank H. Reid, the temporary hero.

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Frank Reid, Hero

We are all temporary.

These photos were taken on May 4, 2012 with a Canon PowerShot SX40 HS camera.

4 thoughts on “Everything’s Temporary”

  1. Very interesting post! I have been to Skagway but did not see that cemetery. I wish I had because I love walking through old, old cemeteries. There is one in Nashville, my home town, that has the most beautiful art work that the rich commissioned to honor their loved ones. Great photos and prose.

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      1. My husband and I were just talking about that idea. A petroleum company recently cut down an ancient tree for repair right-away. I took photos of the stump so we could count the rings and see how old the tree was. My husband then noted that the rings would only indicate age – not the stories and events the tree lived through. I noted that tomb stones are usually that way as well – just the age, not the stories. I guess the stories lie elsewhere.

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