Posts made in August, 2009

Arthur Hallum

Posted on Aug 29, 2009 in Tragedy, White Pass & Yukon Route | 0 comments

On August 29, 1898 Arthur Hallum tragically died in a railroad accident on the White Pass. He was only 39 years old, but the age of his death was strangely similar to that of his famous grandfather, Sir Arthur Henry Hallum who died in 1833.

Sir Arthur was a poet and author friend of Alfred Lord Tennyson who wrote a monumental tribute to his friend, “In Memorium” in 1850.

from: Mission Klondike by Sinclair

Read More


Posted on Aug 27, 2009 in Murders, Tragedy | 1 comment

On August 27, 1897 it has been written that a Frenchman, unknown name, was tied to a stake, shot and hung as an example to thieves. Although this story cannot be corroborated, it was said that some lynchings did occur on the trail.

In 1897 there were several U.S. Marshals in both Dyea and Skagway, so if this lynching did occur, it was not in town. Despite Skagway’s reputation for lawlessness, this period was mostly in the spring of 1898 when Soapy’s gang gained control.

Story of Lynching found on p165 of Fetherling: The Gold Crusades

Read More

Korach family

Posted on Aug 25, 2009 in Children, Merchants, Tragedy | 2 comments

On August 23, 1907 the infant son of Emil and Lillian Hain Korach died and was buried in the Skagway Gold Rush cemetery. He must have been a twin because his brother, Edward, moved to Los Angeles and died in 1967 at the age of 60 according to the California death index.

A website called talks about their family. Emil was born in Hungary and ran the Bloom and Korach store in Skagway around 1905. The website says that they moved to Akron Ohio where they passed away. A rootsweb posting also said they were Jewish, but oddly, the headboard in Skagway has a cross on it. Perhaps some well-meaning Skagwegian decided to Christianize the Korach baby in a subsequent remaking of the headboard.

Read More

Father Andrew Harley Baker

Posted on Aug 19, 2009 in Faith and Religion, Skagway families, White Pass & Yukon Route | 0 comments

On August 15, 1913 Harley Andrew Baker was born in Skagway. He was named after his uncle Harley Baker who died in Skagway in 1898 from meningitis at 3 1/2 years old and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.

Harley Andrew became the first Alaska born Catholic Priest. He died in Juneau in 1965 but is buried in the Skagway Pioneer Cemetery. The Baker family stayed in Skagway until the 1930 census. Harley’s father, Elihu worked for White Pass as a brakeman.

From a website called; a letter from Francis Baker, the first Harley’s mother; census reports.

Read More

White Pass Accident 1917

Posted on Aug 17, 2009 in White Pass & Yukon Route | 0 comments

On this day, August 17, 1917 a large boulder fell down the mountainside and took out an engine. The Engineer was Walter Collin McKenzie and his 25-year old son, Robert Daniel McKenzie known as “Bert”, was the fireman. They were unfortunaly both killed as the engine rolled down the mountain. No other cars or engines were affected.

In June 1908 the Baldwin Locomotive Works Co. of Philadelphia, delivered two specially designed narrow gauge steam locomotives that had been ordered by the WP&YR. Although Engine 68 was destroyed in 1917, the twin engine, No. 69 would spend the next 46 years puffing across rugged Alaskan and Canadian mountain ranges that had been conquered by the WP&YR.

WP&YR officials recognized a need for additional motive power that would primarily be used to help pull or push freight and passenger trains over the steep grades encountered between Skagway and the summit over White Pass, where the track level rises more than two feet in every 100 feet of distance. At the time of completion Engine 69, at 134,369 pounds, was one of the heaviest narrow gauge, outside-frame locomotives built by Baldwin. It was capable of tackling grades of 3.9 percent and curves and radiuses of up to 20 degrees. The tractive power of 69 was equivalent to that of many standard-gauge engines and it was well-suited to running over rails weighing 56 pounds per yard. In the course of its now-100-year history, the venerable Baldwin 2-8-0 has served in two countries, has transported thousands for either fun or profit.

from Graves, The White Pass; Skagway death records; Weather underground photo.

Read More