Clara was born January 1, or July 4, 1860 in Ann Arbor Michigan. Her father, Clement Thompson was mayor of Battle Creek. She led a fairly normal life, marrying and having two sons in Michigan.
Then in 1898 she went a little crazy! She came to Skagway and then to the Yukon. Supposedly she married John Cameron in Dawson in 1898, he an RCMP.
She left Yukon Sept 24, 1904 to go to Rexford Hotel, Boston MA. Her husband was J.A. Cameron as she was listed as Mrs. J.A.
Although I’m still working on this case, she apparently ended up back in Skagway on July 21, 1908 where she died of a pelvic abcess. She was 48 years old. Her sons back in Michigan decided not to bring here back to Michigan but to bury her here in Skagway. Perhaps there was a little anger there for abandoning them when they were boys….. But who knows? And what happened to her Mountie Cameron?
Her grave is in the Gold Rush Cemetery.
White Pass set aside $5000 in an account “To provide further amount of reserve for possible claim in settlement with the death of E.D.Logan in connection with wreck of Jordan spreader near M.P. 15 1/5 on Dec. 26, 1947”
this from White Pass records online:
On this day, December 25, 1899 one of the most famous triple homicides in Yukon history occurred. Although it happened in the Yukon, it involved a young man,26 years old, Frederick Clayson who came to Skagway with his widowed mother and brothers and sisters. They started a general store here which continued until at least 1915. One sister, Ester was married to Dr. Pohl of Skagway.
The murder occurred at Minto and was done by perhaps two men who laid in wait for travelers. George O’Brien shot and beat to death Clayson, Olsen and Lynne Relf. His crimes went undiscovered for some weeks despite the Clayson family pushing the NWMP to investigate. One especially brilliant Mountie did a crime scene search once the bodies were discovered. The bodies had been pushed into the river but floated downstream. The NWMP interviewed many people and eventually discovered the murderer who had stolen a dog that belonged to one of the men they killed. The dog was a large yellow dog which the Mounties then used to lead them to the scene of the crime. This investigation led to George O’Brien’s subsequent execution in Dawson and became the source of the saying “They always get their man” when referring to the Mounties. The second murderer was never caught, but it was thought he died soon after anyway.
Fred Clayson had been returning from Dawson on a bicycle – an astonishing feat in itself! His family later moved to Oregon and one of his sisters became a famous physician there.
The picture above is of Fred’s mother, Annie Quinton Clayson and is from the OHSU website from the Ester Pohl Lovejoy collection.
Scipio G. Ratto was born in San Francisco, April 14, 1869, the only son of Mary Cuneo and pioneer Bartholomew Ratto who migrated to the United States from Italy in 1849. Bartholomew Ratto settled in California in 1852, arriving in San Francisco on S.S. GOLDEN GATE after traveling across Isthmus of Panama via muleback. He had a general store in Mother Lode country, Calaveras County. Later he owned and managed two bakeries in San Francisco, one located in the downtown area on Post-Street (present site of Olympic Club), another on Dupont Street (now Grant Ave.) Subsequently they lived with son, Scipio, in the historical old Montgomery Block in San Francisco and managed the building in late 1890s.
As a boy and young man, Scipio Ratto came to Sausalito on family picnics and club gatherings (south end of Sausalito). He grew to love the town, its quiet atmosphere, its scenery, and the blue waters of San Francisco Bay.
Scipio Ratto journeyed to Alaska and Yukon Territory with his cousin Ernest Ratto, during the gold rush of 1897. They left San Francisco on S.S. UMATILLA on Sunday, July 25, 1897. While in Alaska and the Yukon, they prospected for gold.
The receipt above would seem to indicate that “B. Ratto”, his father Bartholomew, bought a few things in San Francisco for Scipio.
Scipio was later a clerk in Dawson, working in stores of J. Timmins and George Bieber in Dawson. By the 1920’s he was back living in Sausilito, California. He had step-brothers Gervasio, Giovanni and John in San Francisco where he died on this day, December 22, in 1951, he was 82.
There was a branch of the Red Front Clothiers in Skagway which is now owned by the National Park Service and leased to businesses. The park is now renovating it to rent to another jeweler next summer.
His daughters donated his papers to the Alaska Library and wrote the biographical information above.Read More