On this day, September 19, 1897 two men died – one on each summit.
Fred Cope, the ex-mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia, drowned in Summit Lake which is just over the White Pass. He was buried on the shore there.
The election of Fred Cope in 1892 was the closest in Vancouver’s history, with a winning margin of 11 votes over his rival Dr. J.T. Carroll. Cope was the youngest mayor in Vancouver history, only 32 when elected.
The obituary at the Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver says this about him:
“During Fred Cope’s mayoralty, Vancouver was experiencing its first economic slowdown and Mayor Cope’s efforts were directed to limiting expenses. City staff were laid off and those remaining had pay cutbacks. The Canada-Australia Steam Line began servicing Vancouver because of Mayor Cope’s efforts, with the first ship (RMS Minonuera) arriving in Vancouver June 8, 1893. He was elected mayor for two consecutive terms. Cope died while prospecting in Alaska during the gold rush. He fell from his horse while crossing a stream and drowned.” His photo is above.
Meanwhile, in a letter by George Young, a goldrusher on the summit of the Chilkoot Pass, he stated: “An old man who had his goods as far as the summit of the pass went back to Skagway to get horse feed and died of heart disease. His wife was along, but she has turned back. This is the saddest thing that has occurred.” -from George Young’s letter Sept 19, 1897.
Obituary Met Vancouver newspaper Oct 2, 1897; Skagway death record; Victoria Colonist says he was buried in situ because of advanced decomposition; The Vancouver Sun online obituary.