Arthur was the eighth child born to the Richards family in 1859 in Ohio. His older sister, Clara ran the post office in Dyea, a story which I wrote about earlier here. Apparently her two brothers were also here, Arthur and Daniel.
Arthur was appointed by the U.S. Commissioner to be U.S. Marshal for the Dyea District. In a letter he wrote:
“I have been over the trail to the headwaters of the Yukon several times, to arrest men for getting into rows – generally for using guns…The wonder to me is not so much that men die but that any can survive the hardships. So much packing in mud and wading waist deep in ice-cold water, right from the glaciers above. A good many give up their outfits here for what they can get, and return home. ”
One descendent said that family lore has it that Arthur was responsible for laying the first telephone line from Dyea to the top of the Chilcoot Pass. That would have been during the 1897-98 time as there were several tramways built at that time also. They had better communication then than now, even cell phones don’t always work on the trail today.
He also said ” It is a pleasant trip up here from San Francisco except that accommodations are limited, and while the excitement keeps up the ships will be overcrowded. The steamer I came on, the Mexico, sank on her return trip in 200 fathoms of water and everything lost but the passengers.” this would have been in August 1897 because I found the following article:
The Alaska Searchlight of August 14, 1897 reported on the wreck of the Steamer Mexico: “near the end of Dixon Entrance. The steamer was southbound when it ran upon some hidden rocks at 4 o’clock on the morning of the 6 th . The rocks stove a big hole in the bottom of the boat, but luckily there was not freight on board and the bulkhead compartments of the boat kept it afloat for about two hours, when it finally sank in 100 fathoms of water. The shock caused confusion on board and passengers were thrown from their berths. In a few minutes, however the officers quieted down the passengers while the crew quickly launched the boats and every passenger was transferred from the sinking ship. The hand baggage belonging to passengers was taken from the ship and it is reported that the mail was taken off, although it is not definitely known. There were one hundred persons on board….”
1900 census; Daily Alaskan 3/13/1900 (in 2001 Skagway News); Skagway Museum record; CA death rec; Photo and letter courtesy of Diane Richards Design. Information and updates courtesy of Glenn McKinney – many thanks!
Although I have absolutely no record of either Holman or Nurnberg having a store in Dyea, this is how the photo was labeled that sold on ebay recently for $300. If you can blow up the photo note the odd decorations on the sign at the top corners.Read More
There was a Native Cemetery in Dyea which was different from the Slide Cemetery.
In the 1970’s, I believe, the cemetery started to wash into the river, so some of the graves were moved over to the area near the Slide Cemetery. The house pictured above must have washed away. The photo must have been taken prior to the October 1898 issue of Munsey’s where it appeared. I do not know who the man pictured was.
Munsey’s Magazine October 1898; NPS records; A.A. Hill bookRead More
Though I do not know the owner of the Glacier Hotel in Dyea, here is a nice picture of it, with lots of stuff in the foreground.Read More
The first Postmaster (then called Postmistress) was appointed in 1897 in Dyea by President McKinley. That, curiously was a 51 year old woman who came up to Alaska from Boise, Idaho. Clara and her brothers Daniel and Arthur Allen Richards were from a large family. The 8 kids were all born in Middleburg, Ohio to their farmer father and mother, but they had moved to Idaho sometime in the late 1800’s. When the three siblings got to Dyea, Arthur Allen was appointed Deputy Marshal and Daniel was involved in some business.
The real story here was the scandal involving the Dyea post office. While Clara no doubt was working as hard as she could, the post office was a 14X20 cabin that by all accounts was deplorable. On most days the line stretched far and away with 300-400 men hoping to send and receive mail. Clara’s rule was that no man could ask for mail for any more that 2 people. So if a guy came down to get mail for his 8 companions, it would take him all day to get mail. The amount of mail going North from Seattle was stupendous: 8 steamers full per month docked in Dyea. One steamer alone carried 4000 pieces of mail.
Some men wrote to the Postmaster General in Washington that her volunteers were charging 10 cents a letter to patrons. Clara was accused of slackness and inefficiency as well as graft. It was charged that Clara knew about this, but she countered that it was impossible to do the job without additional funds and assistance from government officials in Washington. So the line stretched for hundreds of feet every day. Seen above is the Dyea post office, but I could not find a photo of Clara.
Clara Richards never married and died on December 28, 1928 at the age of 81 in Boise. She is buried in the Morris Hill Cemetery.
Jackson Family website; familysearch; a Marcuse letter of July 6, 1901 called the “Weekly Philatelic Era”; Klondike Saga: The Chronicle of a Minnesota Gold Mining Company By Carl Ludwig LokkeRead More
This photo of John H. Worick’s Bookstore in Dyea shows that he was also a real estate agent. The sign at the right says
Lot with 2 tory house Price $1500-
Cor(ner) lot on Trail 50 X100 ft. $350-
Cor. lot on Main St 24 X 100 Price $250-
Lot with house on river $375-
Lot 25 X 100 on Main St $150 (?)
T.L 8 (?) Cookstove $15
Lot 50 X 100 on Main St. $1250
Lot 25 X 100 on Main St $600
20 DOGS for sale cheap
leave orders for freighting to Sheep Camp
Tent 18 X 60 (?) feet
Lot on River St 50 X 80 with log house
25 ft. lots (?)”
Presumably that is Mr. Worick standing to the left, slightly out of focus, no doubt ready to run to his next deal…..say, that house on the river for $375 sure sounds tempting….
John H. Worick was born February 18, 1846 in Stephenson, Illinois to a big family, he was one of 13 children. He stayed in Dyea into 1899 and then must have returned to the mid-west where he died January 25, 1911 in Greenleaf, Kansas.
Obituary of his father in 1903 in Monroe Weekly Times; rootsweb family information;Read More