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