Posts made in October, 2010

John Weir Troy

Posted on Oct 31, 2010 in Reporters and Photographers | 0 comments


Governor Troy was born on this day, October 31, 1868 in Dungeness Washington.

John Troy came to Skagway with his wife Minerva on August 19, 1897 as a correspondent for a Seattle paper and stayed in Skagway until poor health caused him to return to Washington. John returned with Minerva to Skagway in 1898 and managed a pack train taking supplies over the White Pass. His daughter Helen was born in Skagway in 1899 and daughter Dorothy was born in 1901, although it is unclear if she was born in Skagway or in Washington. The Troy family moved back to Seattle, Washington in 1907.

While in Skagway, John joined the Arctic Brotherhood. He was also the city auditor, the city clerk from 1900-1901 and was the Vice President of Chamber of Commerce. He was the publisher of the Daily Morning Alaskan from 1899-1904.

John moved back to Alaska in 1913 with Helen and Dorothy to be editor of the Daily Alaska Empire in Juneau. He purchased the newspaper in 1914. While visiting Seattle in 1916, John Troy married Mrs. Ethel Crocker Forgy, formerly superintendent of schools in Seward and also a licensed embalmer. The couple continued to live in Juneau, where in addition to being the manager and editor of the Daily Alaska Empire, John Troy was also Collector of Customs for the District of Alaska from 1919 until 1922.

He was active in politics and was elected Governor of Alaska from 1933-1939. He died in 1942 in Juneau and is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.

1905 directory; 1900 census (listed as Tosy);Juneau Genweb;1909 AB book,Gold Rush participants website; Minervas papers online at Alaska Archives.

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Thomas Robert Edward McInnes

Posted on Oct 29, 2010 in Law men, RCMP | 3 comments


Thomas McInnes was a son of Dr. T R. McInnes, a Senator, and subsequently Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.

Tom was born at Dresden, Ontario, October 29th, 1867. He graduated in 1889 from the University of Toronto. In December 1868, he married and shortly afterwards registered as a student-at-law. He was called to the Bar, in 1893.

In 1896-7 Tom McInnes was Secretary of the Behring Sea Claims Commission. But in August of 1897 until sometime in 1898 he was a member of the Yukon special police and customs force at Skagway. I have read that the Mounties in Skagway were dressed at first and then later not in uniform because it offended locals. (Z.T. Wood, another NWMP stationed in Skagway stated that he once hit the floor of his office when shots were flying in the street, so apparently they did have an office here also.)

In 1898-1900, the ever-natty McInnes was private secretary to his father, the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. In 1907, he officiated as secretary of the British Columbia Salmon Fisheries Commission. McInnes died in 1951 in Vancouver, B.C.

McInnes was a poet in the manner of Robert Service. He wrote three volumes of poems: Rhymes of a Rounder, Lonesome Bar and Amber Lands between 1909 and 1913. Here are four lines from “Damozel of Doom”:

” My soul!–a skeleton!–
A rattling little thing,
Twined itself about me
As close as it could cling!”

Minter page 134; Skagway Museum Record.
for more of his corny poetry go to:
http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/garvin/poets/mcinnes.html

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“Burro Creek Joe”

Posted on Oct 28, 2010 in Goldrushers, Tragedy | 2 comments


Joseph Beauchamp was born in October 1864 in Canada. He came to Skagway in the Gold Rush and lived in a hut on the east side of the railroad tracks in town. Joseph must have moved to Bear Creek in Yukon by 1910 because he was not in the 1910 census in Skagway. He married Blanche and this is their sad story:

“Joseph and Blanche Beauchamp lived at Bear Creek, 110 miles outside of Whitehorse on the Kluane Road. On February 8, 1913, Blanche gave birth to a male child. The baby was premature and lived for only a few hours. Joseph planned to bring Blanche into Whitehorse for their son’s funeral as soon as she was well enough to travel. However, complications set in and Blanche’s health deteriorated. With the nearest neighbour 20 miles away, Joseph felt he could not leave his wife to seek help. Blanche died a few days later of blood poisoning.
Joseph stoically prepared her body for burial, built a coffin, and made the long journey into town alone with the bodies of his wife and son as his only companions. Father Turnell of Skagway, Alaska conducted the funeral as the Whitehorse priest was not available. Mother and son were buried together in the Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery, the baby placed in her arms. Blanche Beauchamp died at 40 years of age.”

By 1920 Joseph was back in the Skagway area and homesteaded at Burro Creek which is across the inlet from Skagway. The Camera Club enjoyed a picnic there in 1900 seen above. He lived there until his death on January 12, 1935 and is buried in the Skagway Pioneer Cemetery.

Skagway 1900 and 1920 census; 1915 directory; Skagway death record; “What Lies Beneath” Whitehorse Cemetery online book.

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Henry Bailey

Posted on Oct 27, 2010 in White Pass & Yukon Route | 3 comments


Captain Bailey was a captain for one of the White Pass & Yukon Route Steamships. Born in 1865 in Wisconsin, he died on this day, October 27, 1919 in Mayo, Yukon Territory of stomach ulcers. His body was sent to Seattle for burial. He came to Skagway in 1897 and worked as a laborer for White Pass and continued to work until his death.

Sternwheelers were an ideal vessel for the Yukon River’s shallow, narrow waters. The stern mount made for a narrow vessel, and protected the paddle wheel itself from snags and sweepers. The flat bottom gull allowed for little draft, even with heavy cargoes. The paddlewheel helped grounded vessels off sandbars by reversing and washing sand away from the hull: a vessel could also approach shallow waters stern-first and dredge a channel for itself. The sternwheeler could land practically anywhere since docks were not necessary.

Just after the railway reached Whitehorse in 1900, WP&YR set up a marine division called British Yukon Navigation. BYN built a shipyard in Whitehorse and a repair yard in Dawson City. Among the first vessels built was the Whitehorse, seen above, the “old grey mare” which served for 53 years – the longest continuous service of any vessel on the Yukon River.

As the primary means of transportation and communication in the Yukon for the first part of this century, the paddle-wheeler was an integral part of the life of Yukon people. When the last of the boats were pulled from the river in 1955, a way of life ended.

1900 Skagway census; Canadian Navy website; Minter fonds at Yukon Archives.

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George Washington Dillon

Posted on Oct 26, 2010 in Children, Law men, Merchants | 1 comment

George Washington Dillon was born in 1856 in Iowa. He came to Alaska in 1880 from Butte Montana and Washington State. He possibly was the U.S. Marshal in Skagway and also a councilman. The 1900 census lists him as a hunter. He became the Superintendent of Skagway Light & Power Company and manager of the Skagway Wood Yard. He was also a gambler and the street commissioner and dabbled in real estate in 1915.
In 1905 when Robert Sheldon was working for the Skagway Light & Power Company he built the first car in Alaska. The picture above was taken of that car with two important men on it. Robert was only 21 years old at the time, so he is not one of the two. So one of the other two might have been the Supt Dillon.
When George’s great grandson came to Skagway in June 2009 he stated that Dillon died by freezing to death on the streets of Skagway on this day, October 26, 1922 at the age of 66. G.W. Dillon is buried in the Skagway Pioneer Cemetery in the upper section next to his wife Isabella who died in 1909. When she died she left a newborn daughter and 6 other children aged 6 through 18.

1900 1910 and 1920 censuses; 1902,1905,and 1915 directories; Skagway death record; great grandson.

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