Graphie Carmack

The daughter of George Carmack and Kate Nadagaat Tlaa Kaachgaawaa Mason, Graphie was born on January 11, 1893 in Fort Selkirk, Yukon. George met Kate at Healy’s Trading Post in Dyea and they were a common-law marriage until about 1900. That year George took Kate and Graphie to Holister, California to live with his sister. He went back to Dawson where he fell for Marguerite Saftig L’Aimee a large handsome woman who ran a cigar store. Now it was said at the time that Marguerite sold more than cigars, the men loved her. George took her to Olympia Washington where they were married in October 1900. He then took Graphie from her mother and the new family moved to Seattle with Marguerite’s brother, Jacob Saftig.
Jacob, 33, fell for Graphie, 17 and she became pregnant. They married on June 30, 1910 and their first son, Ernest Charles Saftig was born three months later on October 7, 1910. Later, Graphie remarried someone named Rogers because she died as Mrs. Graphie G. Rogers on March 25, 1963 in California, either in Lodi or Los Angeles. She was 70.
I had a visitor come to my desk last summer who claimed her grandfather was G.W. Carmack, son of George Carmack and that he died in Poteau, Oklahoma but could not give me any further information, so perhaps George had other kids from either Kate or Marguerite.
There has been alot of interest in George Washington Carmack with the release of Howard Blum’s book, Floor of Heaven. It is a fun read if you haven’t read anything else on the story, but the footnotes are a little vague, in my opinion. But what do I know…seen above is a cabin with George, Kate and Graphie in happy times.

WA state records; California death index; SS death; Johnson; Thornton; Kitty Smith oral history:Life Lived Like a story; WA 1910 census;1901 Carcross census;Polk County News, Dec 20, 1923.

A “Superb” Disaster

On this famous date of the Titanic disaster, here is a local marine disaster. I first saw a number of deaths on the 4th of July 1914 and for years tried to find out about what happened. You will not find this story anywhere else.

On the evening of July 3, 1914 a few young guys in Skagway decided that they did not want to spend the holiday in town, but instead go to the big city, Juneau. So they piled in the little gas-powered boat “Superb” piloted by Captain George Black. On the 3rd of July at 9 p.m it was still light, and would be for another two hours. As they sped away from the dock, these 20 men waved goodbye to their friends as a light wind from the south picked up. By the time they passed Haines and got to Seduction Point, they were making little headway in the fierce south wind. Capt. Black decided to turn around and head for Haines where they pulled in about 1 am. There, 4 passengers off-loaded and 4 other passengers, including Myrtle Burlington, an African-American woman known as the “Smoked Swede” got onboard. At 2 am they decided to push on to Skagway, only 12 miles away. Capt. Black crossed Lynn Canal and tried to stay close to the east side. When they got to about a half mile south of Sturgill’s wood mill, the boat lurched throwing the passengers to the port side. Now the boat flipped over throwing everyone into the dark water. This was at 4 am and dawn was just beginning, but they were in the shadow of the mountains. Three men who were sleeping below were barely able to get out, Mr. Orchard broke a window to get out, badly cutting his hand.
The shock of the cold water must have been bitter, but once their clothes became waterlogged it was all they could do to cling onto the sides of the overturned boat as it drifted out away from shore. By now, Jud Matthews tried to save the Austrian, Amerena and Myrtle by tearing off her clothes and hooking her arm onto the boat. Tom Running finally decided to swim to shore and once he reached Sturgill’s, he ran back through the woods, losing the trail, to town where he got Charles Rapuzzi and Wirt Aden as well as Tom Ryan who headed out in boats. It was now 6:30 am. When they reached the boat which was now clearly seen from shore, the only survivors were Arthur Boone, Sam Radovitch, Orchard, Cassie Kossuth (see earlier blog), Jud Matthews, Peterson, and George Black. Rescuers recovered the body of John Logan and searched for the other 11 all day, cancelling the town’s festivities.
Lost were: Stanley Dillon, age 18, Henry Bernhofer, age 27, John Eustace Bell, Oscar Carlson, Bob Saunders, Lynch, Sam Rodas, Myrtle Burlington, Thomas Mateurin, Monte Price and Nicholas Amerena.
Later that day when it was realized the bodies had sunk to the depths of the ocean, the search was called off. Because so many people had come to town for the baseball games and the dance it was decided to go ahead with those events.

A few days later there was an editorial questioning why there was not an inquest into the accident, but it would seem there was none. Seen above is the scene of the accident, on a calm day.

from the Skagway Alaskan of July 5, 1914.

William Ogilvie

Ogilvie was born on this day, April 7, 1846 on a farm in Gloucester Township, Ottawa of Irish and Scottish immigrant parents. After learning the skill of surveying, he worked locally as a land surveyor. Later he qualified as a Dominion Land Surveyor and was first hired by the Dominion government in 1875. From 1887 to 1889, Ogilvie was involved in George Mercer Dawson’s exploration and survey expedition in what later became the Yukon Territory. With the packing help of Skookum Jim Mason, along with George and Kate Carmack, he surveyed the Chilkoot Pass, as well as the Yukon and Porcupine rivers. Ogilvie established the location of the boundary between the Yukon and Alaska on the 141st meridian west.

During the Klondike Gold Rush, he surveyed the townsite of Dawson City and was responsible for settling many disputes between miners. Ogilvie became the Yukon’s Land Surveyor and Commissioner to the Yukon Territory between July 5, 1898 and March 1901 when he resigned due to poor health.

He later wrote “Early Days on the Yukon” published in 1913. He died November 13, 1912 of poor health in Winnipeg.

“The Yukon Territory”; Wikipedia

The Hallelujah Lassies

One of the many religious communities in Skagway during the Gold Rush, the Salvation Army had several people working here. The most famous was General Evangeline Cory Booth who was born on Christmas Day 1865 in London to the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth. The names of some of the others here were:
Lieut. Emma Matilda Aitken (middle row far right)
Adjutant George Dowell (middle row, second from left)
Ensign Rebecca Ellery (middle row, far left)
Captain John Kenny (top row, second from left)
Ensign Thomas James McGill (top row, second from right)and his wife Laura Aikenhead McGill (not pictured)
Ensign Fred Bloss (top row far right)
Ensign Frank Morris (top row first on left)
Captain John Lecocq (front row)
These were members of the 1898 “Klondike Brigade” of nine Salvation Army soldiers, seven men and two women (well actually three if you include Mrs McGill). The “hallelujah lassies” arrived in May 1898 on the Steamer S.S. “Tees” (see yesterday’s blog) at Skagway and then proceeded to Dyea. They climbed the Chilkoot Pass while it was still deep in snow. Included in their outfit were two folding canoes for the river journey, but before the group could use the canoes, they had to cross the rotting ice of Lake Bennett. It took them three weeks to travel from Skagway to Dawson.

Thornton p 190; The founding of the Salvation Army, 1962;; descendent confirmation

Archibald “Archie” League

A couple of years ago the grandson of Archie League came by and pointed out his grandfather in this picture, which you have all seen no doubt. Archie was a bartender here-seen in white behind the counter. He also worked at Jake Rice’s opera house, was part owner in brothel, and he went on to Dawson and managed a theatre there.
His grandson said he was born in 1873 in Mechlenberg, Tennessee. That would make him 25 in the photo above, and the fellow there seems a little older, but who knows?
Now I checked the old newspaper listings at the National Park library and found that Archibald League shows up as an actor in 1903 in Nome, at the Monte Carlo Theatre. Seems he got around, but whether he was actually here is still a question.

New 2019 UPdate:

Here is a real picture of Archie, contributed by Bill Byrd his descendent:

Frank Patrick Slavin

“Paddy” Slavin was a famous pugilist in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Born in 1862 in Maitland, NSW Australia, he was the Heavyweight Champion of Australia at one time hence his nickname the “Sydney Cornstalk”.
Slavin was a rushing, moving, boxer-puncher with skill and an extremely hard punch in either hand. He was much like Jack Dempsey, the heavyweight champion, in his skills, ability to take punishment, and killer-instinct. He came to the Klondike in 1898 and fought in matches until 1902 in Dawson and the Klondike. The New York Times of June 18, 1899 reported that he and his partner (Joe Boyle) had 37 placer claims in the Klondike. It also stated that he had gotten $100,000 in investment money to mine. He was also a “Commissioner for affidavits” in Whitehorse in 1908. Here is a letter he wrote to a friend in 1908:
“…Now old pal I am sending by this mail a couple of papers of our little town, and in the first noted you will see I am still on the track and can make they boys go a bit. I won the two mile walk in the snow here at our winter sports. I can still do my two miles in 18 minutes – not so bad for an old “has been,” though he was one of the smartest of the old bunch. Not a pound of surplus flesh on me. We are going to have a great country here in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The population of the territory is made up of people from all parts of t he world, and there is a very strong percentage of kangaroos and New Zealanders. Dawson City is 350 miles further down the Yukon River and north of this we have good sport-horse racing and cricket, base-ball, curling and skating and hockey matches. I had the privilege of being the first starter in this territory. I started the first horse race in this part of Canada and the farthest north in the world and on that part of the glorious Empire which the sun never sets on in 1898.
My son Frank is quite a good lad with the gloves. He is now 16 years old and I have apprenticed him to the engineering. He has now put in a year. He is a very big boy for his age 5ft 10 in high and weighing 142 lb and can go some but I will not let him go out of the amateur ranks. I have two girls, one 14 years and one 18 months – a native daughter.” Letter published in the New Zealand Truth, Issue 143, 14 March 1908 page 8.
He signed up for WW1 in Canada but because of his age was turned down. He then enlisted in the Western Scottish Battalion and worked first in recruiting, but then fought in Europe, suffering from shell-shock in 1917 after 57 days in the trenches.

Frank Slavin lived in obscurity until his death on October 17, 1929 in Vancouver BC.

New Zealand “paperspast” website; Wikipedia; Nytimes article-8/22/1897; 1901 Dawson Census online

Joshua Nickerson Rowe

Captain Joshua Nickerson Rowe, was born on this day, June 9, 1837 in Rockfort or Rockland, Maine. He took a steamer up the Yukon from Seattle on June 16 1898. On return he left Dawson City on September 20th, 1898 as Captain of the steamer James Doneville, with about 120 passengers. On October 5th his diary noted “Got within one mile of the White Horse Tramway”. He died in the Bishop Rowe Hospital, Skagway, Alaska, October 18th, 1898. Services at the Union Church, and buried in the Gold Rush cemetery. He was a veteran of the Civil War.
His grandson wrote a book called “Women of the Sea” 1962 about his mother, Alice Rowe Snow who spent 15 years with her parents, Mr and Mrs Joshua Nickerson Rowe, aboard the schooner Village Belle, the brig J. Bickmore and the bark Russell.

rootsweb; books; Civil War websites; Encyclopedia of American literature of the sea and Great Lakes by Jill B. Gidmark

Murders at Tagish

Tagish is a community about 80 miles from here on the road to Atlin. On this day, May 10, 1898 there were two murders committed. The victims, Christian Fox and William Meehan, gold rushers, were shot by four Native boys, known as the Nantuck Brothers. The case became quite famous at the time. All four Natives were rounded up and imprisoned in Dawson, Frank and Joe died of tuberculosis in the jail. Dawson and Jim Nantuck were found guilty and hung on August 4, 1899.

“Essays in the History of Canadian Law” by David Flaherty for photo of the Nantuck brothers; “Life Lived like a story” and Essay in the “History of Canadian Law” online.

Joseph Whiteside Boyle

The “King of the Klondike” arrived in Skagway in 1898 and was both a wrangler and boxer. His reputation grew as he moved on to Dawson. His life story is nothing short of amazing:
“Boyle organized a hockey team in 1905, often known as the Dawson City Nuggets, that endured a difficult journey to Ottawa, Ontario (by overland sled, train, coastal steamer, then trans-continental train) to play the Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup, which until 1924 was awarded to the top hockey team in Canada and could be challenged for by a team. Ottawa thrashed the Dawson team.

During World War I, Boyle organized a machine gun company, giving the soldiers insignia made of gold, to fight in Europe. The unit was incorporated into larger units of the Canadian Army.

Boyle also distinguished himself in Romania, serving the king and queen of that country during the war, helping to protect the country from the Central Powers and to operate Romania’s railroads. He also mounted a daring rescue operation in which he swindled a number of captive soldiers back to Romania and successfully petitioned to new Bolshevik government in Russia to return the Romanian Crown Jewels from their storage in the Kremlin. He was awarded the special title of “Saviour of Romania” for these and many other deeds. He remained a close friend, and was at one time a possible lover of the Romanian Queen, British-born Marie of Edinburgh.

Somehow, he became a confidant, and maybe more, of Queen Marie of Romania, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. On the Queen’s behalf, Boyle negotiated the first peace treaty of Versailles and organized millions of dollars of Canadian relief for Romanians, earning the title of hero. He was decorated for his exploits by the governments of Russia, France, Britain and Romania.

His relationship with the queen remains something of a mystery. Some historians speculated they were lovers and point to a mysterious woman in black who brought flowers to his grave every year on the anniversary of his death in 1923. Queen Marie died in 1938 and nobody appeared at his grave after that year, so it was always thought that she was the mystery woman. Seen in the photo above with Queen Marie (left) in 1918.

It is a known fact that “Klondike” Joe Boyle successfully wrestled and killed a shark after falling off the side of his fishing ship, The S.S. Chipe.

Joe Boyle died on this day, April 14, 1923 of a stroke at the age of 56. He is presently buried in his Canadian home town of Woodstock, Ontario, after being buried for 50 years in Hampton Hill.

from Wikipedia and a great book: “Sourdough and the Queen: Many Lives of Klondike Joe Boyle” by Taylor, Leonard.

Major Henry Joseph Woodside

“Harry” Woodside was born in Arkwright, Ontario, Canada in 1858. He was one of the earliest white men to arrive in the North. In 1892 he was the census enumerator for the Yukon. Later he became the editor of the Yukon Sun in Dawson during the Gold Rush. His photographs from this period provide a considerable portion of the recorded visual history of the Gold Rush. He took the photo above of Dawson with Lousetown in the foreground.

Woodside left during the Boer War and volunteered for service in one of the Canadian contingents. He was given the rank of Lieutenant in the regiment and was about to sail from Halifax on the transport with the regiment when he was thrown from his horse in cavalry practice and nearly killed. He was in the hospital for weeks and while there was nursed back to good health by a nurse who later became Mrs. Woodside.

Major Woodside sailed for Africa to join his regiment after he had gotten out of the hospital. He got as far as Durban, South Africa when the war terminated and he was ordered home.

In 1904 he went to join his wife in Winnipeg. He served again with the rank of Colonel in World War I in the 5th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, and was wounded in France in May 1916. Woodside died in November 8, 1929, in Ottawa. The Fairbanks News reported his death on February 25, 1930.

Dawson Daily News Aug 27, 1904; Wikipedia;; Fairbanks news list. Ontario Death Registration.