W.S. Woolever was born on this day, May 17, 1863. Before heading out for the gold rush, he was a partner in a hardware store in Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada. He caught gold fever and abandoned his wife Clara (Ayres) and his two daughters, Miriam and Yula. The daughters had a brief reunion with him some years later in Seattle at which time, he gave my grandmother Miriam his gold rush journal. For those interested in his journal is presently at the Wallaceburg museum.
Between 1901 and 1904 Woolever staked gold claims in the Yukon and actually came away with some profits. During his time here in Skagway, he became an active member of the Arctic Brotherhood. Woolever married Paulina Scott Banks after 1905. When Paulina died in 1927 Woolever met Daisy Banks Haner, also a widow in 1926. They married on August 01, 1927 in Whatcom Co., WA.
Winfield Scott Woolever died on May 4, 1945 in Wickersham, Washington at the age of 82. Seen above is his third wife, Daisy with her son Lawrence Haner, born 1912, and taken at their Wickersham, Washington home.
Paulina was not the sister of Robert Bruce Banks who died in the fiery explosion of the Clara Nevada here in Skagway in 1898.
Many thanks to John Martin for the early history in Ontario, and to Beverly Banks Hammer and Malcolm Haner, grandson of Daisy for setting this story correct! As with all family histories, the true stories lie with the family, not all of which are as stalwart as we would hope. I just try to spotlight the goldrushers for their feats here in Skagway and the Klondike!
Happy Mothers Day to Rachael Quinlan born in 1870 in St. Johns New Brunswick and came to Skagway with her brother Jerry Quinlan. She met Martin Conway here, married and had Elizabeth (Bess) in 1903, John (Jack) in 1905 and Martin Jr. in 1907. I believe Martin Jr. died in Seattle while going to high school there. Bess also went to Seattle for high school. Jack married Gertrude McGrath in 1930 and was Skagway Postmaster from 1930-33. He then went to Sitka where he was Mayor and banker for the 1st National Bank at Sitka. His descendent Quinlan sent me this lovely photo of Rachael and John and Bess sitting in front of their house in Skagway about 1907 or 1908. I previously blogged on Martin Conway where I have posted a new portrait of him. many thanks to Quinlan Steiner for these previously unseen photos of longtime Skagway residents.
When I was “young” I worked as a ranger in Yellowstone doing snowmobile patrol. Here I am with my not so trusty snowmobile in January 1979. Just thought you all might like to see me doing something completely different.
posted in the local paper on October 3, 1905:
“I am closing out for cash the following articles:
8 fine dogs – well broken to harness
16 pairs of fine Pennington wool mills woolen blankets
1 large Polar bear skin
1 buggy which would be well suited for a delivery wagon.
These are bargains for those that want them.
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!
John was born June 10, 1873 in Montgomery, Illinois. He came to Skagway from Seattle with wife Annie Ellen Douglas and son Herl. John ran a grocery store and a travel business. The 1900 census also shows a James B. Lincoln (born June 1871) married to Annie L. with son Fred who was born on this day, March 6, 1895 in Washington. The first family returned to Washington sometime after 1900 where they all lived out their lives. Herl served in WWI and died in 1918 at age 22 of influenza.
Now I would say that John is actually James, the two Annies are the same and Herl is Fred, but no, they are actually different because Herl died in 1918 but Fred died May 1969.
Now of course I was wondering if they were related to President Abraham Lincoln who was also from Illinois, although born in Kentucky. And the answer is yes, but you have to go back to the 1600’s in Hingham England to find a common grandfather. So they were maybe 6th or 7th cousins.
John and his wife Annie Ellen are seen above in November 1901. The family website says that indeed John and family were in Alaska, but even they have questions about the various relations.
family website; familysearch; 1900 census; Washington death records.
The Aggees came to Skagway from Telluride Colorado. Alonzo Aggee and his sons Roy and Harry arrived via the Chilkoot Pass on October 9, 1899 yet Alonzo, his wife Martha or Madie Crouch and their son Alonzo Jr.(Sam), daughters Helen and Ollie all show up on the Skagway census in 1900. They may have been in the process of moving to Dawson when the census took place. Oddly, despite the fact that they were one of the few African-American families in the Yukon, the Skagway census lists them as being white.
Alonzo worked for a time as a deckhand on the steamers going up and down the Yukon River. Then he settled down in Dawson City as a barber, and the rest of the family, including his wife Martha, sons Sam and Harry, and daughter Helen arrived soon after.
Harry and Roy worked as barbers with their father, but in 1901 Roy, the oldest son, died of peritonitis. The family carried on. Sam gained fame as a member of Dawson City’s 1910 championship hockey team. He died in 1925 in Tacoma. Harry died in 1917 in Seattle and Martha in 1930. Alonzo L. Aggee outlived them all and died at the age of 81 in Skagit, Washington on December 21, 1940.
-On the Trail of the Yukon’s Black Pioneers by Kilian; Washington death records; Skagway 1900 census.
I’ve had this picture in my desk for years and thought I’d share it with you.
There was an obscure reference in the Skagway Death records to a child “Preigmore” who died in April 1898. After much research and reading of old newspaper articles and censuses I was able to piece together the story of the Prigmore family. First I will quote the San Francisco Call of August 23, 1897. It refers to Duke Prigmore who made more than one trip from Washington to Skagway on the family’s quest for gold.
“Many Outfits Lost: Bad Condition of the White Pass Trail from Skaguay where Gold Seekers are Struggling
SEATTLE, WASH Aug 22. Possibly the best description of the White Pass Trail from Skaguay is given in a letter from Duke Prigmore received in this city yesterday. It was brought down by the steamer Starr. After leaving camp on Saturday, Mr. Prigmore says, ‘The first three miles is a fairly good wagon road, which leads to the Skaguay river, a rather shallow but very swift stream. There the miners have erected an improvised bridge, over which only one horse can be taken at a time. Beyond the bridge for three miles horses and wagons can be used. Devil’s Hill is then reached. The trail is not over two feet wide here, while the climb is at an angle of 45 degrees. At the summit of the hill horses are compelled to make a jump of nearly two feet high only to alight on a slippery rock. Further on the trail is a steep incline, on which logs have been laid forming a kind of ladder.
After crossing the first hill a half mile of fairly good traveling is encountered when the big hill is reached. The path over this hill can scarcely be called a trail as Mr. Prigmore says it is quite narrow and at places is almost impassable for horses. The formation is of a soft and slippery slate rock. The trail winds crookedly around the hill or rather mountain while below it sheers off 500 feet to the river. At this locality many horses and packs have been lost. It is almost impossible for horses to pack any considerable amount of supplies around this bluff. After traveling several miles of this kind of road the big marsh is reached.
Here the packers become frightened as a horse will either flounder and roll in the mud until he gives up from sheer exhaustion, or else loses the pack and breaks a leg. This bog is one and a half miles long, and many of the miners are here camped waiting for the winter freeze so they can get over it.
A party ahead on the marsh told Mr. Prigmore that very few had passed them and they were making but slight progress, which fact leads him to believe that scarcely ten parties have thus far this summer crossed the Summit by way of Skaguay.”
Well, Duke came south and got more horses to pack over the pass and in the winter of 1898 his father, Isaiah Daniel Prigmore, and Duke’s younger brother, Leroy, came along. It must have been on this trip that young Leroy succumbed to pneumonia and died in Skagway on April 2, 1898. Isaiah took his body back to Washington and buried him in Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham. Isaiah and his wife Francis were also buried there in 1926 and 1935. Although I could not find an age for Leroy, or “Roy” as his headstone says, he must have only been about 9. Duke was 22 when he started this adventure, but he too died (of typhoid) in 1903 back in Ellensburg Washington at the age of 28. In all Isaiah and Francis had 8 children, the rest of whom remained in Washington and had families.
Seen above is the lovely Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, Washington.
Bayview Cemetery online; various news accounts, family rootsweb info; Skagway Death record.
Alice was born in September 1897 and died on this day November 16, 1898 and is buried in the vicinity of the Slide Cemetery with a large marble marker. She was only a year and two months old. The marker also is for presumably her 11 year old brother, John J. Mason who died the following June. Although there are other Native Masons buried nearby, there is no record of their family. Seen above is the marker, courtesy of Mike from findagrave.com.