I have received enquiries about Thomas Marshall Word Jr. or Tom Word from a woman who purchased historic photos of the Word family at an estate many years ago. She contacted me because she intends to put them up for sale on Ebay, which is great, so that everyone who is interested can have a chance to acquire them. It was several years ago that I was doing some research on him, but apparently I never wrote up the story. I quote here from Jeff Smith on his Soapy Website:
“For a few years now I have been exchanging interesting e-mails with Fred Wood, a great-grandson of Skagway’s Thomas Marshall Word. If Fred and I are correct Word is the man who acted as the go-between for Soapy and the vigilante’s after John Fay shot and killed Deputy U.S. Marshal Rowan and Andy McGrath. Word was involved in the hunt for the gang after Soapy had been killed and came real close to becoming famous as the man who captured the three top gangsters, Bowers, Foster, and Wilder. Hours later he was one of the guards protecting those same three bunco steerers locked away on the third floor of the Burkhard Hotel. Tom Word twice aided in keeping a blood thirsty vigilante mob from orchestrating a wholesale slaughter and that’s something his g-grandson can be proud of.”
Jeff has an excellent write up of the information that he has gathered here:
Anyway, for those of you who are interested, below and above here are a couple of photos of the photos.
The other day I was at an estate sale in Skagway and picked up this old postcard. After doing a little research I found that the author was indeed related to Bud Matthews who recently passed away here in Skagway.
Ernest J. Matthews was born about 1893 in Idaho. He married Catherine A. Lowe from Utah and they moved to Skagway around 1924 when their first son was born, James, known to everyone here as Bud.
Before they moved to Skagway however, they went to St. Michael’s, Alaska and apparently opened a Bakery Store there. Pictured above in the postcard is Ernest and Catherine. Ernest wrote this little card to Catherine’s brother, Lynn Hardy Lowe who lived in Salt Lake City. At the time it was written, 1920, he was about 7. Sadly Little Lynn died in 1925 from appendicitis. (My own son had a ruptured appendix at age 7 and how lucky we are today that surgery and an excellent hospital in Albuquerque saved his life.)
The card is signed E.M. and was written on December 7, 1920.
Vernette Allis was born on July 6, 1867 in Elyria, Ohio. Her father, Spencer Franklin Allis was a farmer. He and his wife Elizabeth Kales, had two sons and two daughters. She moved out west to Washinton and on June 28, 1892 she married Maxine L. Longuet in Seattle, King County, Washington. They had a son, Louis Leonard Longuet born 1 Sep 1893 in Seattle, Washington who registered for the draft in both WW1 and WW2 and died January 12, 1958 in Portland, Oregon.
In 1898 the little family came to Skagway and Vernette was the first teacher in a little cabin against the hill according to a photo in the Edith Feero collection of photos in Washington. Her Husband, Max, entered the Yukon in May 1898, and presumably she stayed here in Skagway with little Louis to teach. They returned to Oregon after the gold rush and Mr. Longuet died in 1950 and Vernette died on June 1, 1955 in Marion, Oregon. Above is a picture of her as a baby in 1867, hope to find a later pic sometime.
She wrote a book called “My trip to Alaska in ’98” which I have not seen, but would be very interesting.
Puget Sound Regional Archives; Edith Feero photo collection Washington Digital Library; Family Search for 1875 NY census; Rootsweb contribution by Kathy Gies;
Joseph McCann was born on May 3, 1879 in Quebec and came to Skagway in 1898 and like so many others, he worked for the railroad. He worked as a carpenter, brakeman and conductor. (He gave the photo of Jerry Quinlan to the family as we saw in yesterday’s post.)
Mary Kerwin came to Skagway from Ottawa, around 1904 and was in the Tuberculosis Sanitarium for awhile, recovered and then married Joseph. They had at least 5 children, one became a priest, one a nun and one a nurse at the hospital. They lived in Skagway until after 1930. Joseph died in Vancouver, B.C. in 1936 and Mary in Beaverton, Oregon in 1969. They all lived in a little yellow house which sits right behind our house, on 13th, as seen above. When we moved to Skagway in 1998, Wanda Warner lived in that house and she brought over an entire dinner for us as a housewarming present. I will never forget her kindness to us, she was a wonderful lady.
1910 1920 and 1929 census; Alaska Yukon Pioneer Roster;
Jeremiah G. “Jerry” Quinlan was born in 1861 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He and his sister Rachel came to Skagway around 1900. Rachel married Martin Conway and Jerry married Agnes Alice. Jerry was the first conductor of the White Pass Rotary Engine as he is seen in the photo above which was generously given by his descendent Quinlan Steiner today. What a dashing uniform too! Unfortunately Agnes Alice died in Skagway and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery and Jerry died in 1917 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery (he was 56). They lived at 607 Main Street and in 1910 had an adopted son, John , who was born in Washington in 1894. John later worked for White Pass as a wiper (whatever that means). I have seen this often in Skagway where children were adopted.
This month the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is gearing up for the upcoming season, I have always thought that the black snappy conductor uniforms look very smart. Let us all hope and pray for a safe season.
Clifford; Graves; 1910 census, Skagway Death Record; 1909 AB book; personal communication
Here is a picture of Adele (Barkdul) and her second husband Clarence McBurney. Adele had the first white child born in Skagway, Beryl.
photo courtesy of Judith Bacon.
Clue: only accessible after the snow melts on the pass – well unless you intend to ski it, which some people do. The water is very cold and the rocks are very sharp! Wear sandals!!!
In the summer in Skagway the best free tour is the ranger led walking tour of downtown. They leave about every hour, just like Old Faithful, and the groups are limited to 30, so people have to go in and get a free ticket for the next available walk. As you can see from their attire, a cool windy day is not uncommon and so a light wind breaker and rain hat is a good idea. If you’re lucky you may get a smart and handsome ranger like Arlen!
Last fall we hiked from Fraser on the Klondike Highway up the service road to the west and came to this beautiful remote lake.
Katherine Ann Gonzales was born on February 14, 1859 in California. She had a husband and two children but decided to abandon them and go to the Klondike in 1898. She worked as a whore in Skagway and men enjoyed her many talents. One day she was found smothered in her bed shortly after it was revealed that she was sleeping with several married men in town. It was a mystery who committed the murder – perhaps a jealous wife? Her husband John paid to have her body shipped home to San Jose. It is said that her ghost still haunts the alleys of Skagway on cold windy nights!