E. Leroy Pelletier


Mr. Pelletier came to Skagway from New York in 1897 to cover the Gold Rush. In addition to being a newspaperman, he was also a journalist. He was a man possessed of a small body, a large head, and nervous energy that was electrifying. As a newspaperman, he covered the Klondike stampede for The New York Times.
His dispatches to the Times, covering the period 1897 to 1900, provide enthralling reading: he narrated tales of precautions against starvation, delays due to selfishness, preventing a corner in supplies, smallpox comes to camp, getting ready for the greenhorns, pistols drawn many times, large loss of life and a murder, no time for legal trials. Sounds like an adventure movie.

Working for Henry Ford, first as a consulting engineer and later when it was obvious he was considerably more adept with words than machines, Pelletier worked as Ford’s private secretary and advertising manager.
He preferred the title “publicity engineer.” That he was. A brilliant intellect matched with a vivid imagination, he could think even faster than he could talk, and his conversation was routinely described as “rapid-fire.”

His September 5, 1938 Detroit obituary follows:
“E. Leroy Pelletier, 72, advertising manager for Henry Ford, died Sunday.
Pelletier was a former newspaperman who covered the Klondike Gold rush. He designed the first four-cylinder air-cooled automobile at the turn of the century and was president of the company which built his automobile the “Duquesne”.
Tales of Klondike veterans told how Pelletier, the energetic New York reporter, organized the “Jackson Money Exchange” and reputedly sold, through the agency, a third of the Klondike region.
Surviving Pelletier are his widow, Gertrude; 2 sons and a daughter; a brother Frank (Pelkey) of Vancouver,BC. Pelletier was a native of Houlton, Maine.”

In the fall of 1897 he founded the Yukon Telephone and Telegraph Company in Dawson w/big Alex McDonald.

photos from 1897-98: online from Tappan Adney; rootsweb; p206 The EMF co.book by Yanik

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9 Replies to “E. Leroy Pelletier”

  1. E. Leroy’s Grand Children and Great Grand Children are alive and well. Most living in the Detroit area. Although most of us are not “small in stature”, we do posess the large heads! lol!

    Michael D. Pelletier

  2. E. LeRoy Pelletier was the father of my grandmother, Queen
    Pelky and her brother , Earnest.
    He deserted his young Winnipeg family and
    went to the Klondike.
    My mother remembers visiting his Detroit home
    as a young girl with her mother, E LeRoy’s
    only daughter.

  3. Hello! While I did not know Mr. Pelletier, his niece, Billie, was my Mother’s stepmother. I think her father was Frank, the brother who lived in Vamcouver, BC. If you are family of his, I have a photo album I would like to send to you. I found it with my Mother’s things when she passed away. It belongs with your family and if you are interested, I will send it to you. Thank you, Cathy Hutchinson

    1. Hi there! Did you ever get to send the photo album to anyone?
      My cousin Kristi Pelletier-Bearup and I commented on your post.
      We mistakenly said LeRoy is our Great Grandpa.
      He’s actually our Great, Great Grandpa.
      Thanks!
      Carey

  4. Hello Cathy Hutchinson,

    My name is Kristi Pelletier (Bearup). E. Leroy Pelletier was my great grandfather. E.Leroy was the one who changed our name from Pelky to Pelletier. My mom and dad are very familiar with this whole family line and still keep contact with a lot of them. She would love to get this photo album from you and would love to reimburse you for the shipping/postage. She will share it with the family line also. Please contact her by phone or email.
    Ellen Pelletier
    Pelletier_ellen@yahoo.com or
    231-843-8291

    Thank you so much
    Ellen and Kristi Pelletier

  5. I am taking care of the grand-daughter of E Leroy and she talks a lot about the house he had on Orchard Lake and the porch. Could someone send a picture of the house to me so I could show her. My iphone is 612-695-5407. She has problems with her short term memory but she remembers having big dinners at the house when she was a little girl. Would really appreciate it as it would make her so happy. Thank you.
    carol

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