Edgar Richard Peoples Jr.


Ed and Estella Peoples moved to Skagway in 1898 from Illwaco, Washington. Ed was a furniture maker and undertaker. On this sad day, March 11, 1901 their two year old son died of tuberculosis in Skagway. Little Edgar was cremated and his remains taken to Portland, Oregon.
The People’s Mortuary was found on the southwest corner of 8th and Broadway from about 1898 to 1901.
Mr. Peoples was the Mayor of Skagway and on city council in 1900-01. After the death of little Edgar, he resigned and moved to Eagle with his wife Estella and Frank Woodruff. They then moved to Rampart, and then on to Fairbanks by 1926. Edgar and Estella both died in Seattle in the 1930’s.

Skagway Death Records; Washington death records; Oregon death records.

 

Ellen Kendell Rogers MacMillan

On this day, February 18, 1991 Mrs. MacMillan, a schoolteacher in Skagway in the early part of the 20th century, died in Washington. She was born in 1902 in Skagway, the daughter of Minor Ellsworth Rogers, a White Pass carpenter who came to Skagway in 1897 and stayed until his death in 1958. Ellen’s husband was John Roderick MacMillan. They both died in Redmond Washington.
Ellen is not to be confused with Elma Kyle McMillen who was also a long time schoolteacher in Skagway from 1960-1981. Elma passed away in Whitehorse in 2002.

Sophia Frederick Matthews


Sophia was the daughter of J. Frederick born in 1895 in Juneau. She married William Clarence Matthews, a Tlinkit who was a farmhand in Dyea at the turn of the century. Sophia died on this day, February 15, 1921 in Skagway and was buried in the Dyea Cemetery. Why she died at the young age of 26 is not known, but many women at that time died in childbirth or shortly thereafter. What we do know is that Mabel, her 8 year old daughter died in 1920 and Julia, her one year old daughter died a month later in April 1920. Perhaps she died of heartache. All three are buried in Dyea.
Some of the people buried in the Native Dyea Cemetery that was being washed away by the river about 10-15 years ago were relocated to the Slide Cemetery.

from rootsweb posting, Skagway News and Skagway Death record.

Love Story

I pieced this love story together last week; you will love it.

In 1865 a young woman came to Victoria from England on the famous “bride ship”. After an unsuccessful marriage she split up with her gold miner husband and in 1873 her husband paid the convent of the Sisters of Saint Ann in Victoria to care for their two little girls. One little girl, Mary Elizabeth Martin was 5 and she spent the next 27 years working for the church, taking vows in 1885 and the name Sister Mary of the Cross. In 1898 Father William Judge, known as the Saint of Dawson needed help caring for the starving and sick men at the hospital he had built in Dawson. The help he requested came in the form of several Sisters of St. Ann and Mary was one of these.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, a young man, Joseph Bettinger attended college and became a doctor, actually a pharmacist there. In 1898 he also heard the call from the North, and like thousands of others decided to head to the Klondike to find his fortune. On April 3, 1898 he found himself near Chilkoot Pass when a terrible avalanche happened, burying at least 100 people, although some were pulled out, as many as 94 died. Dr. Bettinger helped to dig up and take care of the survivors. He then continued on to Dawson where he went to work for Father Judge. In the summer of 1898, the doc told the priest he wanted to become Catholic and so Father Judge asked one of his faithful nuns to instruct the doctor. It was here that Joseph and Mary met and fell in love.
Mary announced that she wanted to leave the order but was counseled by the Mother Superior and the priest not to. She felt strongly about it and took off her habit and called herself Mary Elizabeth Martin. Shunned by the community, she and Joseph went to Tacoma to visit Mary’s mother, now remarried with 8 children. On July 16, 1900 they were married in Tacoma.
The story would have ended with happily every after, but instead the newlyweds decided to go back to Dawson. When they returned they found that Fr. Judge had died – of overwork at the hospital in July of 1899. The new hospital administration and the community still shunned the couple and Joseph found that he did not have a job.
They decide to return south, but being low on funds, Joseph decides to walk to Whitehorse in December of 1900 when the temperatures were 60 below zero. He tells Mary to take the coach a few days later and they would meet up in Skagway or Whitehorse. It is the last time Mary sees her husband.
Temperatures in the Yukon were 60 degrees below zero that month. When Mary arrived in Skagway she looked for Joseph every day but after days turned to weeks, she implored the authorities to look for him. The NWMP found his body 7 miles off the Yukon Trail up the White River (near Stewart and Minto). The report stated he died of exposure. The authorities asked Mary if she wanted his body sent south, but she could not afford the $320 to ship it, so he was buried near Stewart (the river later washed away the graveyard).
Mary returned to Washington and remarried, but never told her family of her past until she lay on her deathbed at the age of 95 in 1959.

The Weekly Ex (SF) Sept 30, 1897; Policing the Plains by MacBeth online book p 111;Once Upon a Wedding; stories of weddings in W. Canada by Nancy Millar; personal communications with Mary’s great granddaughter.

Ella Clark Card


The little Card family was photographed by Winter and Pond, Klondike photographers. There are several different shots of them in Dyea preparing to climb the Chilkoot Pass. Ella Clark Card is holding her son who dies shortly thereafter at Lindemann and is buried there with a little white picket fence around his grave, he was 7 months old. Buried next to him is the baby daughter of Mrs. J.D. McKay who also died in 1897 there at Lindemann. I wonder if the two baby ghosts enjoy each other’s company? If you camp at Lindemann and hear babies crying, don’t be surprised…

Ella and Fred pushed on and she ran the hotel Cecil in Dawson by 1903. Ella died on this day, February 11, in 1927 possibly in Fairbanks.

John Battist Bassett is the packer actually pulling the cart and in front of him is Joe LaPorte.

AK Searchlight June 5, 1897; Wickersham; Two Years in the Klondike.

William Henry Joy


[Fellow sleuths-happy to report an update to this blog: After some sleuthing and emails from descendants I have made some corrections here, as Mr. Joy was neither a Marshall nor a detective in New York as I had previously reported.]

Happy Birthday to William Joy, born on February 3, 1861 in Montague New York.

In 1899, during the Klondike gold rush, William and his wife Ida May Joy traveled to Skagway with their 4 children. On November 11, 1904 he and his 14 year old son Louis went out goat hunting near Denver Glacier. While trying to traverse a snowy scree covered slope, William handed his 45-90 Winchester rifle to his son Louis. The rifle went off and hit William in the cheek coming out near his ear. He then fell down the slope and hit his head. Although Louis stayed with him for 45 minutes, he eventually ran down the steep slope to the river (1200 feet) to find help. He found a couple of woodcutters who went back up to help, but when they got to the point where Mr. Joy was, they found he had apparently become conscious and then fell an additional 800 feet down the slope. He was not alive when they reached him. The next day, Dr. Brawand, H.D. Clark, Lee Gault, Robert McKay, Fred Buchanan and F.F. Clinton went to retrieve his body and brought it back on a railcar (the track runs near the area). The next day the members of the Chamber of Commerce wrote a resolution to honor Mr. Joy for his work with the Chamber and as an upstanding citizen of Skagway. They also acknowledged the heroic efforts that his son Louis went through to get help. The funeral service on Sunday November 6 was in the Methodist church and done by Rev. Dr. John Parsons. William Joy is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.

After the accident, Ida May and the children returned to New York state. In 1914, Mrs. Joy and her family came back to Alaska to settle in Fairbanks. She remarried Henry Berry in 1917 there and she died in 1920 in Fairbanks. Louis was on the Fairbanks School Board for many years. He ran the electric distribution part of the NC Company power plant/Fairbanks Municipal Utility System. In fact Joy Elementary School in Fairbanks is named for him. Lou was a representative in the Alaska Territorial Legislature (a photo of him is available at the State Museum website). He and his wife retired to Arkansas where he died in 1971.

Skagway news articles of November 2,3,4, 1904; information from descendants.

Adele Lawrence Harrington

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On this day, January 26, 1896, Adele married Calvin H. Barkdull either in Skagway or Eureka, California. Later in 1896, the first child, a daughter was born to them here, said to be the first “white child” born in Skagway. In his story “The Flaxen Haired boy” in the December 1951 Alaska Sportsman Magazine, Calvin mentions his wife and daughter and tells a story about a boy who died on the Chilkoot trail but the story sounds a little made up. Calvin also made up some stories about a wife of Soapy’s coming here and exhuming Soapy’s grave, which are false, so who knows…

Calvin Barkdull had graduated from the University of California in 1894. He worked here as Chilkoot packer but left by 1902 and went to Petersburg to raise foxes, work a gold mine and a hotel. Adele divorced him and remarried a Mr. Clarence McBurney by 1900.  Here is a photo donated by Judith Bacon of Adele, her daughter Beryl and her 2nd husband Clarence McBurney from around 1905?

 

Lillian Theresa Carlson


Lillian was the daughter of Angus Carlson. She died on October 6, 1897 and in doing so became the first white child to die in Skagway. She was born August 19, 1894 in Everett Washington and moved here with her family in 1897. She was only three years old and although we do not know the cause of death, spinal meningitis was very common at that time, as well as other diseases.

Her sad little grave is in the Gold Rush cemetery.

Margaret Keenan Harrais


Happy Birthday today to Margaret Keenan born in 1872 in Batesville, Ohio.
She came to Alaska about 1902 and was the Principal at the Skagway School from 1914-1916. Skagway had a school from the earliest days until today. One large photo in the visitor center from 1906 shows about 100 children from kindergarten through highschool, which is about the same number as we have today in 2009. She later became Mrs. Harrais and was politically active supporting the statehood of Alaska. She died in Glenallen in 1964. The picture above is from 1901.

From Remarkable Alaskan Women by Jones

Korach family


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 drygoodsandwetgoods.com 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.