Thomas Marshall Word Jr.

Posted on Jul 6, 2015 in Law men, Scoundrels, Skagway families | 0 comments


I have received enquiries about Thomas Marshall Word Jr. or Tom Word from a woman who purchased historic photos of the Word family at an estate many years ago. She contacted me because she intends to put them up for sale on Ebay, which is great, so that everyone who is interested can have a chance to acquire them. It was several years ago that I was doing some research on him, but apparently I never wrote up the story. I quote here from Jeff Smith on his Soapy Website:

“For a few years now I have been exchanging interesting e-mails with Fred Wood, a great-grandson of Skagway’s Thomas Marshall Word. If Fred and I are correct Word is the man who acted as the go-between for Soapy and the vigilante’s after John Fay shot and killed Deputy U.S. Marshal Rowan and Andy McGrath. Word was involved in the hunt for the gang after Soapy had been killed and came real close to becoming famous as the man who captured the three top gangsters, Bowers, Foster, and Wilder. Hours later he was one of the guards protecting those same three bunco steerers locked away on the third floor of the Burkhard Hotel. Tom Word twice aided in keeping a blood thirsty vigilante mob from orchestrating a wholesale slaughter and that’s something his g-grandson can be proud of.”

Jeff has an excellent write up of the information that he has gathered here:

Anyway, for those of you who are interested, below and above here are a couple of photos of the photos.IMG_0200[1] IMG_0201[1]

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Ernest J. Matthews

Posted on Jul 2, 2015 in Alaska, Dogs, Other Communities, Skagway families | 0 comments


The other day I was at an estate sale in Skagway and picked up this old postcard. After doing a little research I found that the author was indeed related to Bud Matthews who recently passed away here in Skagway.

Ernest J. Matthews was born about 1893 in Idaho. He married Catherine A. Lowe from Utah and they moved to Skagway around 1924 when their first son was born, James, known to everyone here as Bud.

Before they moved to Skagway however, they went to St. Michael’s, Alaska and apparently opened a Bakery Store there. Pictured above in the postcard is Ernest and Catherine. Ernest wrote this little card to Catherine’s brother, Lynn Hardy Lowe who lived in Salt Lake City. At the time it was written, 1920, he was about 7. Sadly Little Lynn died in 1925 from appendicitis. (My own son had a ruptured appendix at age 7 and how lucky we are today that surgery and an excellent hospital in Albuquerque saved his life.)

The card is signed E.M. and was written on December 7, 1920.

ebay 1

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Harry Phillips and his Saloons

Posted on May 27, 2015 in Bars and Hotels, Dawson, Merchants, Skagway streets | 0 comments

Peerless Saloon

Harry Phillips came to Skagway in 1898 and opened the Peerless Saloon on 4th Avenue mid block, south side, between Broadway and State which is now a small residence off of the alley. The Peerless only was in business for about a year and then Harry moved to Dawson and opened the Office Bar and Saloon with his wife Annie. By 1901 he was 34 and she was 27 but they had no kids. Perhaps he met her in Skagway or Dawson. After that, I can find no trace of them, perhaps they moved back down south (they were both born in the U.S.) In the photo above he would be the proud owner, but which one is he? any guesses?

1901 Dawson census; Catherine Spude, The Mascot Saloon, NPS; Alaska Digital Archives;

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Vernette Allis Longuet – First Teacher in Skagway 1898

Posted on May 18, 2015 in Children, Skagway families, Women | 1 comment


Vernette Allis was born on July 6, 1867 in Elyria, Ohio. Her father, Spencer Franklin Allis was a farmer. He and his wife Elizabeth Kales,  had two sons and two daughters. She moved out west to Washinton and on June 28, 1892 she married Maxine L. Longuet in Seattle, King County, Washington.  They had a son, Louis Leonard Longuet born 1 Sep 1893 in Seattle, Washington who registered for the draft in both WW1 and WW2 and died January 12, 1958 in Portland, Oregon.

In 1898 the little family came to Skagway and Vernette was the first teacher in a little cabin against the hill according to a photo in the Edith Feero collection of photos in Washington. Her Husband, Max, entered the Yukon in May 1898, and presumably she stayed here in Skagway with little Louis to teach. They returned to Oregon after the gold rush and Mr. Longuet died in 1950 and Vernette died on June 1, 1955 in Marion, Oregon.  Above is a picture of her as a baby in 1867, hope to find a later pic sometime.

She wrote a book called “My trip to Alaska in ’98” which I have not seen, but would be very interesting.



Puget Sound Regional Archives; Edith Feero photo collection Washington Digital Library; Family Search for 1875 NY census; Rootsweb contribution by Kathy Gies;

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Joseph McCann – Conductor on the White Pass Railroad

Posted on Apr 23, 2015 in Skagway families, White Pass & Yukon Route | 0 comments

McCann House

Joseph McCann was born on May 3, 1879 in Quebec and came to Skagway in 1898 and like so many others,  he worked for the railroad. He worked as a carpenter, brakeman and conductor.  (He gave the photo of Jerry Quinlan to the family as we saw in yesterday’s post.)

Mary Kerwin came to Skagway from Ottawa, around 1904 and was in the Tuberculosis Sanitarium for awhile, recovered and then married Joseph. They had at least 5 children, one became a priest, one a nun and one a nurse at the hospital. They lived in Skagway until after 1930.  Joseph died in Vancouver, B.C. in 1936 and Mary in Beaverton, Oregon in 1969. They all lived in a little yellow house which sits right behind our house, on 13th, as seen above. When we moved to Skagway in 1998, Wanda Warner lived in that house and she brought over an entire dinner for us as a housewarming present. I will never forget her kindness to us, she was a wonderful lady.

1910 1920 and 1929 census; Alaska Yukon Pioneer Roster;

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Jerry Quinlan – First White Pass Conductor

Posted on Apr 23, 2015 in Skagway families, White Pass & Yukon Route | 1 comment

Jerry Quinlan


Jeremiah G. “Jerry” Quinlan was born in 1861 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He and his sister Rachel came to Skagway around 1900. Rachel married Martin Conway and Jerry married Agnes Alice. Jerry was the first conductor of the White Pass Rotary Engine as he is seen in the photo above which was generously given by his descendent Quinlan Steiner today. What a dashing uniform too!  Unfortunately Agnes Alice died in Skagway and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery and Jerry died in 1917 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery (he was 56). They lived at 607 Main Street and in 1910 had an adopted son, John , who was born in Washington in 1894. John later worked for White Pass as a wiper (whatever that means).  I have seen this often in Skagway where children were adopted.

This month the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is gearing up for the upcoming season, I have always thought that the black snappy conductor uniforms look very smart. Let us all hope and pray for a safe season.

Clifford; Graves; 1910 census, Skagway Death Record; 1909 AB book; personal communication

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Walter Goyne the “Going Kid of Alaska”

Posted on Feb 17, 2015 in Animals, Dawson, Dogs, Goldrushers, Mail - Postal, Tragedy | 0 comments



dog sled

Certainly all of Goyne family members deserve their own posting, but I will start with the most famous – Walter James Goyne. Born on May 29, 1897 in Pendleton Oregon, as a baby, he was taken to Skagway in 1898.  His father, Francis (Frank) took his whole family to Skagway – wife Hattie, his son Hillary born 1895 Oregon, Ida Evaline born 1888 in Tillamook Oregon, Mabel Florence born 1893 in Tillamook Oregon, Stella Grace born 1896 in Tillamook Oregon, not to mention his Dad, William, born 1838 in Ontario.  So, with all the kids, wife and dad in tow, they made it to Skagway to find that Hattie was pregnant again. She bore son Lynn on August 28, 1899 in Skagway. Hattie and the kids moved to Dawson to be with dad in 1900. Another sister, Nugget was born in Dawson in 1901. Dad Frank had been delivering the Dawson Daily News on a 300-mile run in 1904. Although Lynn and his dad Frank stayed in Alaska, Hattie and the kids moved back to Oregon where she divorced Frank and remarried in 1909.

Walter caught the dog mushing bug from his dad and participated in dog sled races elsewhere. He won the Hudon Bay dog sled race in Manitoba due in large part to the harness he was using for his dog team. After the race, the 1920 census has him listed in Fall Lake, Minnesota.    Walter was a guest celebrity in Luverne, Minnesota in 1920 when the Palace Theater was showing the movie “Carmen of the Klondike”.     Walter drowned when he and dogs went through thin ice on Moose Lake in Manitoba.   Below is the grisly obituary from the local newspaper:

DOG TEAM STILL HITCHED TO SLED AND THE MAN STILL SITTING UPRIGHTSearching parties have found the body of Walter Goyne, famous American dog derby racer, who was drowned, Nov. 15 when he went through the ice on Moose lake with his dog team.
Through the transparent ice the body could be seen in eight feet of water sitting bolt upright on the sled, partly covered by an eiderdown robe. stretched out in front in perfect alignment were the nine racing dogs.
The provincial police who investigated the accident, said they believed Goyne was traveling at racing speed toward shore in an effort to escape thin ice, when he plunged through and under heavier ice, where escape was impossible.
Of eleven loose dogs that were following Goyne and his racing team, two perished with their master and their bodies were found close to the team. Goyne’s dogs were considered among the best in the north country. and much was expected of the in the 1922 derby.Goyne, Walter (15 Nov 1922)Star Valley Independent
 Here is a further story about the race history:

 The first annual race, in 1916 was formulated by Grant Rice, editor of The Pas Herald of the era.  In the race of 1920, Walter Goyne, who was born in Ruby, Alaska, made history when he came out of the frozen hinterland of Alaska to compete in the early Le Pas Dog Derby.  When Mr. Goyne arrived in The Pas that day many years ago, he discovered that all the local mushers were using an old style toboggan for racing, with their dogs hitched in tandem style.  Goyne brought with him the famous Alaskan dog sled with his dogs hitched in the now famous Alaskan hitch, that is, dogs are two abreast with the leader centering the team in front. Northern Manitobans of that era were quite skeptical of Goyne’s sled and “new” hitch and in fact gave him little chance of winning that race of 1920.  But when the race was over, and Goyne had won by an easy margin, the skeptics were forced to eat humble pie.  Today Goyne’s Alaskan hitch and sled is being used by all famous mushers in Northern Manitoba, the East and the St. Paul Winter Carnival whose dog races date back to 1889.

    The race of 1920 which Goyne won with ease, will always be remembered as one the Northland’s greatest.  Consider the fact that Goyne had a crippled foot which forced him to ride on the sleigh more than his rivals thought best in a long grueling non stop race.  You see unlike today’s race, which is broken up into three daily laps, in Goyne’s time it was 140 miles to Cranberry Portage or Flin Flon and back non-stop.

    Another item Goyne introduced to the North was the parka.  Before he came to The Pas, the parka was unheard of.  It was while visiting at the home of Mrs. E. W. Bridges that the parka was first introduced as the only type of winter clothing to adequately protect the upper part of the body from the freezing winds of the Northland.  Mrs. Bridges took Goyne’s parka and using it as a model she made smaller replicas for her own children, one of whom later made a great name for himself in dog racing in The Pas derbies and those staged in the east.  His name, Earl Bridges.  Today the parka is a standard part of every northerner’s winter wardrobe.

    After Goyne’s first big win in 1920, he had one ambition, namely to win the race three times thus receiving the Derby Cup.  In 1921, he entered again but was forced out when his 13 year old lead dog failed him.  Ironically that was his last race locally.  In the fall of 1922 Walter Goyne drowned in Moose Lake.  The man who found Goyne’s body was another well know Northern figure, the late Tom Lamb of The Pas.  When Goyne’s body arrived at The Pas, The Pas Herald records the incident as follows: “It was a silent procession up Fischer Avenue..and many town dogs fell in with Goyne’s pups.  Not a bark or growl was heard, it seemed as if the four footed animals understood the meaning of procession.”


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