“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

 

Leo the orphan

In a previous blog on “Mollie” Mary Walsh on October 28, 2009, I mentioned that when Mike Bartlett, her husband, shot Mollie at 611 Pike Street in Seattle on October 27, 1902, he then tried to committed suicide. “The newspapers billed it as the trial of the century. The trial began in November of 1903 and concluded Dec. 2 of the same year. Mike was acquitted based on insanity. He spent two years in a mental facility and was released. Six months later, he killed himself.”

This left their 17-month old baby, Leo Bartlett an orphan. He may have gone to the Seattle Children’s home built in 1885, seen above.

Leo was born  on March 18, 1901, according to the Juneau Empire story:

“Mollie delivered her son 73 miles above Rampart while the boat was taking on wood from a large wood pile on the Yukon River. Mike spent the last of their money on a drunken party soon after the birth. After the party, Mike, in a drunken haze, told Mollie that the people on board had named their son Leon Edward Seattle No. 3 Yukon Woodpile Bartlett. This news ended their marriage.”

Leo kept his name, at least the Leo Bartlett part, and was a veteran of World War I. He lived in Hot Springs Arkansas in the 1940’s but died in the Old Soldier’s home in Washington D.C. in the 1950s. Another record says he died on this day, October 22, 1971 in Spokane.

 

Washington State death records online. Juneau Empire Nov 14, 2010.

Frank Alfred Novak

Frank Novak was born on April 5, 1865 in Webster County, Iowa. He ran a mercantile store in Walford Ohio. He suffered some “financial reverses” (actually a gambling addiction) and put the business in debt. So, in frustration he took out a $30,000 life and accident insurance policy on himself. Then, on February 2, 1897 lured his friend Edward Murray to the store, crushed his skull, robbed him and then burned the store over him to cover the crime. He fled the scene, I found some evidence that Novak’s wife, Mary had claimed that he died in the fire, thus claiming the life insurance. But insurance companies are not so easily fooled. He was pursued for six months across the continent and to Alaska by Detective C.C. Perrin of Chicago or Denver. In total they traveled 26,000 miles back and forth across the continent. Finally in Washington, Perrin discovered that Novak had taken the steamer Al-Ki at Port Townsend on February 23 to Juneau. Perrin took the steamer Mexico on May 24 to Skagway. Both men had to secure provisions to cross the Chilkoot Pass.

Detective Perrin spent many days on the Chilkoot Pass looking for Novak. He then briefly saw him as his boat passed Novak’s boat on Lake Bennet. He followed Novak to Dawson where he got a warrant from the Canadians to arrest him and take him back to Ohio for trial. Novak was claiming that his name was J.A. Smith. But when Captain Constantine compared the dental records (possibly dentures) of Novak with his dentists records from Ohio, the Mounties decided that they had their man!

On the way back through St Michael, Novak told Perrin that back in Iowa, he kept a bottle of whiskey impregnated with morphine in the store and found Murray drinking it. Later during the fire he tried to rescue him but was unable to (perhaps because he had first bashed in his skull). Such a story! Perrin was not swayed and succeeded in bringing the murderer back to Iowa for trial.

In November 1897 he was brought back, tried, and convicted of second degree murder and put in the Anamosa prison in Ohio. A second trial by the Supreme Court upheld the lower court decision. By 1903 he was involved in photography and was on the prison band being a model prisoner and his friends petitioned the Governor for clemency. Not sure if that happened as he was serving a life sentence. He died in Chicago on July 12, 1930 but was brought back home to be buried in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a few miles from the scene of the crime in Walford.

The Carroll Herald, April 1, 1903. The Baltimore Underwriter October 1897. Two Years in the Klondike and the Alaskan Gold Fields by Haskell.

Murderous Assault


Clyde Bernal Guptill was born October 31, 1874 in Maine. He was working as a steamship agent in Skagway on October 19, 1911 when he was apparently brutally assaulted and robbed. When the assistant, Mr. Berryman went to open the office in the morning he found poor Guptill lying in a pool of blood with a bloody axe lying near. EEEoouuu!
The San Francisco Call reported on October 20 that the physicians did not expect him to survive. Oddly, he had taken in a large amount of money the previous day in ticket sales for the outgoing vessel, but the money was all there intact. Hence, no robbery.
Now oddly there are records of him dying in 1937, 1952 and 1964 in Washington (all of which born in 1874). Which is it?

A typical steamship office in 1910 is seen above. I will go now and check the newspaper archive to see if I can find out more about this new murder.
UPDATE: I checked the local paper for October and November 1911 and found that miraculously Mr. Guptill survived the attack, albeit with a fractured skull. The doctors decided not to operate and remove the bits of skull and just let him rest and recover. Perhaps that is why he survived. His brother, L.L. Guptill from Victoria came to take care of him. The police rounded up the usual suspects including the assistant Berryman, but later released them all, as they all had alibis. I read several weeks ahead and it appeared that they never solved the case. So it appeared as though Mr. Guptill lived on, probably one of those that died later in Washington. HUZZAH!

1911 MURDER


Although I do not have the specifics on the murder in 1911, what we do know is that two native Tlingit men were arrested and sent to San Quentin. Thomas Jacob Phillips born on this day, March 21, 1890 in Killisnoo Alaska and “Skookum Joe” Wright born 1867 in Dyea were accused of the murder. According to a report in 1994 done for the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture by the Institute of Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, Gorsuch, Colt, Smythe and Garber authors, the two Native men were falsely accused and imprisoned.
On page 13 of this paper, according to Salvation Army records, Joe Wright was “converted” around the turn of the century while he was working as a packer on the pass. After the trial, he was sent to San Quentin and there, he was recruited by the Salvation Army. He was released in 1912, returned to Haines and started the Salvation Army Church there. He started the Salvation Army band then and he continued to proselytize in Haines and Klukwan until his death. Tom Phillips, the other man accused of murder and sent to San Quentin went on to serve in World War 1. He died in 1941 in Sitka and is buried in the Sitka National Cemetery there.
Seen above is the Salvation Army band of Klukwan, although I do not have a date, my guess is that Joe Wright is pictured in it.

rootsweb; paper online: http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/Publications/5southeast_cmnts/AppendixA.pdf
Thornton, 2004 page 93

Frank Clement

On this day, March 14, 1898 Frank Clement of Hillsboro, Oregon was shot and killed at Sheep Camp, on the Chilkoot Trail by Colby Gottlieb Schneider of Howard County Maryland. It was reported that a lynching was averted by the actions of the officers involved and that the prisoner was in custody. There was no other information on this case but a Gottleb Schneider died in Oregon in 1937.

reported in various newspapers including the New York Times

Bill Gates and the eggs


“Swiftwater Bill” Gates, or Charles H. Gates was born in 1855 in Minerva New York. He was working as a boatman in Idaho in 1896 when he decided to go to Alaska. He and some partners leased “Thirteen El Dorado” which later paid out and made him a millionaire. Enjoying his new wealth, he would walk the streets of Dawson in top hat, white shirt and jacket (and said to bathe in champagne). He apparently loved women and gambling. He had the hots for Miss Gussie Lamore in Dawson and offered her her weight in gold to marry him. She however spurned him, and was seen in the restaurant with a new boyfriend ordering fried eggs – the most expensive item on the menu. So, to get even, Bill bought up all the eggs in Dawson and fed them to dogs, in another version fed them to the other dance hall girls. Miss Gussie loved eggs and so he hoped to get her attention. Apparently it worked as she offered to meet him in San Francisco and marry him (despite already being married). He married her younger sister, Grace, then divorced her and remarried and divorced several times in the next few years.
Swiftwater Bill was known to be at the gold fields of Nome, Alaska at the same time as William H. Gates I, grandfather of the Microsoft founder. However, despite the similarity in name and coincidences of geography, there is no apparent family relationship between “Swiftwater Bill” and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
In any event, some versions say that in 1933 he went to Peru and was mining silver there, when on this date, February 13, 1933 he died in mysterious circumstances, perhaps murder…..another account says he was murdered on February 21, 1937 and still another that he died of pneumonia following surgery back in Neillsville, Clark County, Wisconsin on February 13, 1933.
In any event, he certainly lived an exciting life.
Seen above with Joe Boyle-left, “Swiftwater Bill” on the right.

Source: Neillsville Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 16 Feb. 1933 obituary of “Swiftwater Bill” Gates.
http://wvls.lib.wi.us/ClarkCounty/clark/data/1/bbs16/16906.htm

Update on William G. Martin


Received this update on my previous post about William G. Martin and the lynching at Lake Bennett.

“In regards to William G. Martin, as big a fan I am of Bill Hunt’s, I’d have to say that it is he who is doing the imagining concerning Martin’s lynching at Lake Bennett, since he offers no references. Basically, it is just his opinion that the Martin episode never took place. But quite a lot of evidence suggests it did.

First off, Hal Hoffman was an experienced reporter who was assigned to the Klondike rush by the San Francisco Call. He hiked both the Chilkoot and White Pass trails in the summer of 1897 and reported from Juneau during the winter of 1897-98. I have followed his reporting closely and I see no reason why he would exaggerate this particular story.

Hoffman’s story about Martin was also collaborated by another reporter. An “H.L.M.” described the lynching in detail for the New York Tribune, and the story was carried in quite a few other newspapers. The easiest place to read it would be in a paper called the New Zealand Tablet. Google “William G. Martin Klondike” and the Tablet article appears on the first page.
One final piece of evidence that Martin was actually lynched. A George Martin from Missouri wrote a letter to the the St. Louis Republic on August 25th from Dyea, just days before the alleged lynching. Martin’s letter was published in the September 22, 1897 edition of the Republic, and it seems likely to me that this George Martin and William G. Martin were one and the same.
Nothing is ever certain in history, but when you have several contemporary accounts indicating an event happened, and one lone voice a hundred years later saying it didn’t, I’m going to have to favor the former.
Respectfully submitted, M.J. Kirchhoff”

Having looked into it further I found reference to an obituary in a Missouri newspaper: (SHELBY DEMOCRAT Thursday September 16, 1897 Page 2 column 9) so I would have to agree, that we refute the refutation of Bill Hunt!!!

According to a family posting on Rootsweb, William Green Martin was born 1856 in Liberty Township, Shelby, Indiana to William W. Martin (born NC) and Cloe or Chola Ensminger (born IN). His nickname was Gid Martin. He had three older sisters, Amanda, Martha and Mary.

Good sleuthing Mark! Honorary membership in the Skagway Historical Society granted on this day!

Lake Bennett seen above with the boat building in full swing.

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=shelbyinharrells&id=I06834

Ella D. Wilson


The New York Times of March 22, 1898 reported that a black prostitute had shot and killed a laboring man at the entrance to her cabin in the saloon district in Skagway. According to the captains of the Alki and the Hueneme the murder started as a result of trouble which began early on Monday evening over the disappearance of the man’s watch.
Apparently nothing was done to investigate this, but on May 28, 1898 – only two months later, Ella D. Wilson, a black prostitute or laundress, was strangled in her bed and her belongings stolen. Her house was on Holly Street, the same neighborhood. Perhaps the murder of Ella Wilson was simply retribution or frontier justice for the earlier murder. Although it was widely rumored that she had $3000, it is highly unlikely that a poor black prostitute could have amassed that much money. Even the high priced call girls made little money. Anyway I will check the local newspapers and see if there is a connection….

Dahl; Skagway death/coroners inquest and probate record

Nantuck Murders


I recently got a new book called “Sailor on Snowshoes – Tracking Jack London’s Northern Trail” by Dick North. Mr. North has spent decades gathering every detail of London’s trip to Dyea and Dawson, but one incident jumped out at me that I had never heard before.
On page 81, he states that when the Nantucks spoke of “previous wrongs, it is very possible that it was the murder of the two maternal uncles of Johnny Johns they had in mind. ” Johnny Johns was the nephew of Skookum Jim Mason and Tagish Charlie. In 1982 Johnny Johns insisted that “very early in the gold rush era transgressions of the law occurred that were never reported because there were simply no law enforcement officers around. He cited the fate of his mother’s two brothers in 1896. When several white men who had set up camp on the beach at the outlet of Lake Lindeman caught an Atlin native stealing their liquor supply, they promptly shot the thief, killing him instantly. Seeing the only witnesses were two natives (who happened to be John’s mother’s brothers), they killed them as well. Word of the murders leaked out to the village people when the Native girlfriend of one of the whites told John’s mother about it.”
So, I looked through “Life Lived as a Story” by Julie Cruikshank and found the genealogy chart for Angela Sidney’s family. Johnny Johns’ mother was La.oos Tiaa, kaax’anshi or Maria Johns, married to Tagish John. Maria had two brothers who were named Tl’uku and Kult’us but there is no information on them.
Since the 1896 murder was not investigated and the murderers’ names were not recorded it would seem that in this case, they got away with murder. Then, two years later, on May 10, 1898 the Nantuck brothers take retribution for past occurrences, which presumably had to do with the white powder incident – or maybe something else.
North says that Johnny Johns’ family may have instead been referring to the 1896 murders.
An interesting thought might be that the two miners who murdered the brothers could possibly be the same two miners that the Nantucks shot in 1898.
The Nantuck brothers’ testimony seems confused, as written up in “Essays in the History of Canadian Law: British Columbia and the Yukon” by John McLaren and Hamar Foster which is viewable online. It was generally accepted that the Canadian government was trying to understand the issues involved in cases involving First Nations people and that they were beginning to rethink the previous frontier justice actions.
This week the remains of Dawson and Jim Nantuck were re-interred after they were identified in Dawson after accidentally being dug up during a construction project last summer. The Dawson cemetery is seen above.