“Packer Jack” Newman’s two loves

While most of us have heard the story of Mollie Walsh and her great admirer Pack jack Newman, I only just read the curious story of the second monument in Seattle. Mollie met Packer Jack in Skagway where he was smitten with her. He once shot a fellow in the legs right on Broadway so that he could not go up and visit Mollie at Log Cabin where she sold pies. Mollie later married Mike Bartlett who murdered her in Seattle in 1902.  In 1930 – 28 years after Mollie’s death Newman decided to honor the memory of his “Angel of the White Pass.” He commissioned a bronze sculpture of Mollie to be placed in Skagway.

And here the statue stands today, by a children’s playground that has become known as Mollie Walsh Park.

The inscription, written by the man who lost Mollie to the man who killed her, reads:

ALONE WITHOUT HELP / THIS COURAGEOUS GIRL / RAN A GRUB TENT / DURING THE GOLD RUSH / OF 1897-1898. / SHE FED AND LODGED / THE WILDEST / GOLD CRAZED MEN. / GENERATIONS / SHALL SURELY KNOW / THIS INSPIRING SPIRIT. / MURDERED OCT. 27, / 1902.

Jack Newman was unable to attend the dedication ceremony in Skagway, but sent a message.

“I’m an old man and no longer suited to the scene, for Mollie is still young and will remain forever young, her spirit lingers still reach across the years and play on the slackened strings of my old heart and my heart still sings – MOLLIE! – my heart still sings, but in such sad undertone that none but God and I can hear . . .”

However, his wife, Hannah let her husband know that she was less than thrilled with his tribute to his lost love.

To appease his wife, he quickly placed a dinner-plate-size bronze profile of Hannah on the exterior of the Washington Athletic Club, at Sixth Avenue and Union Street. The inscription:

MRS. HANNAH NEWMAN / WITH COURAGE AND FAITH IN THE / DEVELOPMENT OF OUR CITY OWNED / THIS GROUND FROM PIONEER DAYS / UNTIL THE ERECTION OF THIS BUILDING / 1930

Jack Newman died soon after Mollie’s statue was unveiled in Skagway – on May 4, 1931 of appendicitis. Although Newman had requested that he be buried in Skagway, beside Mollie’s monument, Mrs. Newman had him buried in Seattle. I could not find a photo of Hannah’s bronze on the WAC building on the corner of 6th and Union. If someone would like to photograph it, I will post it, but in the mean time here is a great picture of young Packer Jack. Cute guy!

Here is the pic of the bronze, care of Lindsey Haight

IMAG1965

 

Ensign Rebecca Ellery

Rebecca Ellery was born in 1858 in Muskoka and Parry Sound, Ontario. From an early age the family was listed in the Canadian Census as “Bible Christian” and later as Salvation Army. Every reference to her trip to the Klondike in 1898 refers to her as an “experienced missionary” (a euphemism for old). The previous picture that I posted of the Yukon Field Force shows her huddled in furs looking quite old, but actually she was only 40 at the time.

The other woman, Laura Aikenhead said in 1945, that the 1898 party had two detachable canoes that they carried over the Chilkoot Pass on their backs. When they put the canoes together at Lake Bennett, they enjoyed paddling up the lakes and rivers. She said it was the most northerly post the Salvation Army ever had.

Anyway, here is a much later photo of Rebecca. She may have gone back home to Ontario to be with family. Note the “S” on her collar for Salvation Army. Laura said she was a staff captain on the trip.

familysearch, censuses.

“Mother of the Klondike Missionaries”


Emilie Fortin was born on January 4, 1872 in Saint-Joseph-d’Alma, Quebec. When she was fifteen, her family emigrated to Cohoes, New York where she met Nolasque Tremblay whom she married on December 11, 1893. In 1894 she claimed to be the first white woman to have crossed the Chilkoot Pass, but was actually the fourth after Bell Healy, “Dutch Kate” Wilson, and Bridget Mannion who we met yesterday.
The couple spent the winter in Miller Creek in a little log cabin. That year, Émilie decided to invite the miners to share their Christmas dinner. On the menu was stuffed rabbit, roast caribou, boiled brown beans, King Oscar sardines, dried potatoes, butter and sourdough bread and prune pudding. Her reputation quickly spread throughout the Yukon. In the spring, Émilie and her husband made a garden on the roof of their cabin and harvested an abundance of radishes and lettuce. After a trip south, they came back by the Chilkoot pass in the middle of the Gold Rush. In 1906, they travelled in Europe for four months. Until 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Tremblay walked from one mining claim to another in the Klondike. Later, they settled in Dawson. She opened a women’s clothes store that is now an historic building.

Émilie Tremblay was a very courageous woman who distinguished herself by her social involvement and her devotion to others. She was the founder of the Ladies of the Golden North, President of the Yukon Women Pioneers and a life member of the Daughters of the Empire. The numerous medals that she received and some of her souvenirs were placed in the Saguenay Museum in Quebec. She was godmother to 25 children in addition to raising the daughter of her sister who was a widow with 9 children to feed. Émilie kept open house for travellers, missionaries and widows. Msgr Bunoz called Émilie the “mother of the Klondike missionnairies”. During the war, Émilie knitted 263 pairs of socks for soldiers, in addition to the ones she gave as gifts.
Her husband Jack died in 1935 so she visited her family and friends in Quebec and the United States.
She spent the last years of her life in a retirement home in Victoria, B.C.
Émilie Tremblay died on April 22, 1949, at the age of 77. In 1985, to commemorate her exceptional devotion to others, the authorities named the first francophone school in the Yukon École Émilie-Tremblay.
She is seen above.

Yukon Government website celebrating women in the Yukon; franco.ca; Gates; Acadian roots.com

The Queen of Alaska


Bridget Mannion was born on February 1, 1865 in Rosmuc, County Galway, Ireland. She emigrated in 1885 to St. Paul, Minnesota. Bridget worked as housekeeper for Seattle Pioneer Henry Yesler, before settling in Chicago, where she became cook to the wealthy family of Portus B. Weare, head of the North American Trading and Transportation Company which operated merchandise and transportation facilities in the Yukon. In 1892 her employer held a dinner party for Captain John J. Healy, another Irish born adventurer and his wife Bella. Whether it was the prospect of becoming wealthy or her innate sense of adventure, Bridget became determined to go to Alaska and persuaded the Healy’s to offer her a job as Mrs Healy’s maid. From the Healy trading post in Dyea, she moved up to the Yukon. By the winter of 1894-95 there were only twenty eight white women living in the Yukon amongst one thousand men. Unsurprisingly, Bridget received 150 proposals of marriage before she had got fifty miles up the Yukon, but it was Edward Aylward who would capture Bridget’s heart.

Edward Alyward was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland in November 1849 and emigrated to the US in 1867. He went mining for gold in Alaska in 1884 and in 1894 he met Bridget at a Yukon River Trading Post and convinced her to marry him. Their wedding was the first ever held in Fortymile, about 150 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Around 1900, Bridget and Edward left Alaska with their fortune and moved to live on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. A Seattle newspaper dated 3rd September 1896 carried an article about Bridget calling her the ‘Queen of Alaska’.
Edward died on 29th March 1914. He is buried in Seattle’s Calvary Cemetery. Following the deaths of her sister and a friend, Bridget longed for home. She acquired property in Rosmuc and eventually returned home to Ireland in 1948.
Bridget died at her beloved Turlough, Rosmuc, County Galway in January 1958, just weeks short of her 94th birthday. She is buried with her mother in Cill Eoin graveyard . Even in death her generous spirit lived on, and apart from bequests to family, neighbours and the local church, she set up a trust fund for the education of local children.

Irishclub.org

Kate Carmacks

I have blogged about Kate Carmack (or Carmacks as it is on the headstone) before. But this weekend while we were traveling up the road, we stopped at the Carcross Cemetery and photographed the headstone which I don’t believe is found anywhere else.

photo by Reed McCluskey

“Diamond Lil” Davenport


Her real name was Honora Ornstein born in 1882 to a prominent Jewish family in the cattle business in Butte, Montana. She stood about 6 feet tall and sported a diamond stuck in her front tooth, hence the nickname.
Diamond Lil had a “Luxury House” in Skagway. “But Diamond Lil was a courtesan in the fullest sense of the word, only entertaining the obviously rich clients who could pay handsomely for what she had to offer. Nevertheless she was fully entrenched in ‘the world’s oldest profession.’”
After the rush, Lil moved to Seattle where some accounts say she opened another house of ill repute and others say she took a job scrubbing floors.
She was married several times but died at the ripe old age of 93, in June 1975 in Yakima, Washington of insanity (probably dementia).
Seen above, she makes chubby look good.

Martinsen; Allen p 336; Klondike Stampeders Register; Yukon News online

An almost love story


Most folks have heard of the April 3, 1898 avalanche and how it swept away 100 people, with about 85 people dying and being buried in the Dyea Slide Cemetery. But have you heard of the strange case of Arthur L. Jappe and his “sweetheart” Vernie Woodward who saved him?
Pierre Berton wrote that when Jappe’s lifeless body was dragged out of the snow, Vernie was beside herself. Now, not being one to stand by and accept things, she worked on him for three hours, moving his arms and legs, pumping on his chest and breathing warm air into his lungs. Smart girl! It worked! Jappe came to – and supposedly uttered her name. We all assumed they lived happily ever after, but no, when I looked into it, I could not find Vernie at all, but I did find Mr. Jappe – and his wife and 5 kids back in New York. Turns out he had gotten married to Katherine Henrietta Reuflei in August of 1897 and had gone to Alaska soon after.
So he must have returned after his notoriety of surviving the avalanche. The Dyea Trail newspaper of the time reported that Jappe feigned ignorance of his relationships with Vernie, but it would seem that after the newspapers blew the story all out of proportion, poor Jappe felt the need to return to New York and do some explaining.

Pierre Berton, The Klondike Fever p 265; Snowstruck: in the Grip of Avalanches by Jill Fredston; familysearch; One Came Late by Allen p 319.

Della Murray Banks


In January 1945 Della Murray Banks wrote an article in the Alaska Sportsman Magazine about her work on the Dalton Trail. She and her husband Austin Banks had made previous trips to the Chilkat area – in 1896 she was burned at Cook Inlet and lost two fingers on her left hand.
Back in Seattle, in 1898, they were hired by Denison Tucker and the infamous Homer Pennock to lead them to the Klondike on the Dalton Trail. Early on Mrs. Tucker and her sister Mrs. Hutchins decided to stay behind in Seattle so that they would not get their feet wet. (They also could not cook or eat off of tin plates).
In July 1898 the party of about 10 people arrived in Skagway to see the town under martial law following Soapy’s death and subsequent goings-on. Della and her husband went over to Pyramid Harbor to stay instead. They found the English proprietor of the hotel celebrating the Santiago victory. Tucker hired two packers, Jack Noon and Tom McAvoy (who died on today’s date, December 16, 1918).
They used a couple of horses, Polly and “Swift”. They found a mule bit for the horse along the way, and near the summit of the Chilkat Pass, they traded that for a regular bridle found hanging in a tree. By the time they arrived at Dalton Post, Della was riding on a fine saddle and with good bridle, both acquired from the dead animals they passed along the way!
Della cooked on the trip and they paid her $50 a month. In the photo above she is cooking supper, as she puts it, “for our famished outfit. Each meal required ninety biscuits, which I could bake fifteen at a time in our sheet-iron stove. My knees became calloused from kneeling on the rough ground, kneading dough and making biscuits. Conveniences? There were none.”
Would you do this for $50 a month?

Apparently she did not even get that, as the consummate con man, Homer Pennock swindled Mr. & Mrs. Banks. The town of Homer was named by Della Murray Banks, (the first white woman in Homer) before she realized that she and her husband had been swindled. The name stuck, but Della and Austin did not stick around.

collection of her letters are at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley; The Homer Spit, Coal, Gold and Con Men, was
written by Janet Klein, and published in 1996

Hattie Maria Corrin Lockwood Strong


And speaking of nurses:
Hattie Maria Corrin was born in South Coventry, Connecticut on this day, October 23, 1864. She was educated in private schools and enjoyed a comfortable existence until the business recession of 1877 and the death of her father a few years later drastically affected the family’s fortunes. The family moved in with relatives and Hattie contributed to their support by giving piano lessons.

She was married in 1888 to Lester B. Lockwood and moved with him to Tacoma in what was then the Territory of Washington. Her only child, Lester Corrin, was born there in 1892. In 1897 the marriage failed and she found herself alone with very limited financial resources and a young son to support.

The Alaska Gold Rush was in full swing and in casting about for some means of supporting herself and her son, she and a friend, a professional nurse, decided to establish a combination hospital-hotel in Skagway for sick and injured miners. The two women pooled their resources to purchase building materials and medical supplies. En route to Alaska they were shipwrecked in a blizzard outside Skagway, losing all their provisions and barely escaping with their lives. She supported herself for about three years in Skagway in a variety of jobs, including nurse, assistant to a physician and steamship ticket agent, until the rigors of the life in Skagway affected her health. She returned to Tacoma, where she found employment as the supervisor of a mens’ club. Further decline in her health forced her to move to a milder climate and she used the small savings she had accumulated for her son’s education to move to southern California.

While convalescing in California, she met and in 1905 married Henry Alvah Strong, co-founder and first president of what is now the Eastman Kodak Company. Mr. Strong, a widower twenty-five years her senior, legally adopted her son and the marriage was an unusually happy one until Mr. Strong’s death in 1919.

Having made the transition from a life of struggle and hardship to one of considerable luxury, Mrs. Strong dedicated the remainder of her life to helping others less fortunate than herself. The list of her charitable activities and honors is far too lengthy to include here but includes the establishment in 1927 of a retreat near Paris for face-wounded veterans of the French Army (for which she received the Legion of Honor), the establishment of the Hattie M. Strong Foundation in 1928, and gifts of various buildings to hospitals, educational institutions and social service agencies in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Today there is a Hattie Strong scholarship given to students in their final year of study for a Baccalaureate or Graduate degree.

This and similar stories of heroes and heroines of the Gold Rush make me wonder: were they heroes before they came up to Skagway or did Skagway and the experience here make them see the world for the challenges and possibilities? Certainly in Hattie’s case we see a woman who pitched and and made a difference in the world. Hats off to Hattie!

Hattie M. Strong Foundation site.

Ester Clayson Pohl


Hettie, or Ester was born in 1869 in Seabeck, Washington in a logging camp. The physician who delivered Esther Clayson’s youngest sister was a woman and inspired Clayson to enter the University of Oregon’s Medical School in 1894. Her father was an English seaman who had jumped ship in 1864 and brought his family to join him three years later. His attempts to support his family as a lumber merchant, hotel manager, newspaper editor, and farmer were not entirely successful. After such unsteady beginnings, young Esther Clayson decided that she had no desire to be the helpmate of an Oregon farmer or pioneer hotel keeper. For a while, she could not decide between a career in theater or medicine. While theater seemed unreal to her, medicine was “drama in its highest form.” After graduating in 1898 from Medical School she married a fellow doctor, Emil Pohl. They joined the rest of the Clayson clan in Skagway soon after. As they arrived there was a meningitis outbreak.

Hettie and her husband, Emil set up the Union Skagway Hospital to treat the many sick men. The Pohls were indeed heroes of the town in that year.

The Clayson family had a large general store called Clayson’s. After the murder of her brother, Frederick Clayson on December 25, 1899 in the Yukon, the family eventually moved down to Washington. The doctors Pohl stayed in Alaska for a few years, but Dr. Emil Pohl himself died in 1911 in Alaska from either spinal meningitis or an encephalitis epidemic. After Emil’s death Ester married George Lovejoy in 1912 and relocated to Portland Oregon.
In 1907 Dr. Pohl was the first woman to direct a city department of health, the Portland Board of Health, in Oregon.
In 1919 she was co-founder and first director of the Medical Women’s International Association.
In her lifetime, Dr. Esther Clayson Pohl Lovejoy transformed the Portland Board of Health in Oregon by regulating the milk supply, providing funds for school nurses, and gaining Portland a national reputation for its high standards of sanitation. She also helped to establish the Medical Women’s International Association and the American Women’s Hospitals which, under her leadership, grew from an emergency committee for war-relief into an international service organization operating in thirty countries.
From 1911 to 1920, Esther Pohl Lovejoy continued her support of women’s suffrage, the League of Nations, and Prohibition, even running for a seat in Congress. She was an outspoken campaigner, publicizing the plight of poor farmers in the Northwest and calling local bankers “bandits” who charged ruinous interest rates in order to profit from the farmers’ misfortunes.
Dr. Ester Clayson Pohl Lovejoy passed away on this day, August 17 1967 in New York at the age of 98.
Her life is a shining beacon and an inspiration.

National Institute of Health: Changing the face of Medicine – Celebrating America’s Women Physicians – online; Murder in the Yukon; Klondike Mission, Sinclair; The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science by Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie, Joy Dorothy Harvey.