Capt. Charles John Bloomquist of the Sophia

In the midst of the 1918 Influenza epidemic and World War One, another big marine disaster occurred in the cold waters of the Lynn Canal.

Capt. Charles John Bloomquist was a passenger on the night of the grounding of the Sophia. The story of the Princess Sophia loss on October 24, 1918 in a blinding snowstorm, has been well documented, with a number of White Pass employees onboard heading back to Victoria for the end of the season. One report in the Daily Colonist on November 3, 1918, stated that only 2 of the victims drowned, the rest suffocated in the crude oil spilling from the ship.

I was curious to know a bit more about the Swedish Captain Bloomquist. He was born in 1867 in Stockholm, Sweden and came to Canada in 1883. He lived with his wife, Catherine at Shawnigan Lake, a small farming community 28 miles north of Victoria. He was listed there in the 1909 directory of Vancouver Island, also he kept a room at the Dominion Hotel in Victoria.  He left behind 4 sisters but no children.

He had worked for 20 years on the boats in the Yukon. He was the master of the White Pass Steamboat Dawson.  Before that he had worked for the Canadian Government on the Quadra and the Sir James Douglas.

The Princess Alice brought many of the bodies back to Victoria on the 12 of November 1918. On November 15 he was buried in Victoria with the Victoria Columbia Masonic Lodge as pallbearers. Rev. F.A.B. Chadwick gave the service. Catherine is buried with him at the Ross Bay Cemetery, she died November 27, 1969 at the age of 92! Here is a picture that Anne Scott made of the grave in Victoria! Posted on Find A Grave for this story – Thank you so Much Anne!!!

 

from the Daily Colonist October 29, 1918

Walter Goyne the “Going Kid of Alaska”

 

 


dog sled

Certainly all of Goyne family members deserve their own posting, but I will start with the most famous – Walter James Goyne. Born on May 29, 1897 in Pendleton Oregon, as a baby, he was taken to Skagway in 1898.  His father, Francis (Frank) took his whole family to Skagway – wife Hattie, his son Hillary born 1895 Oregon, Ida Evaline born 1888 in Tillamook Oregon, Mabel Florence born 1893 in Tillamook Oregon, Stella Grace born 1896 in Tillamook Oregon, not to mention his Dad, William, born 1838 in Ontario.  So, with all the kids, wife and dad in tow, they made it to Skagway to find that Hattie was pregnant again. She bore son Lynn on August 28, 1899 in Skagway. Hattie and the kids moved to Dawson to be with dad in 1900. Another sister, Nugget was born in Dawson in 1901. Dad Frank had been delivering the Dawson Daily News on a 300-mile run in 1904. Although Lynn and his dad Frank stayed in Alaska, Hattie and the kids moved back to Oregon where she divorced Frank and remarried in 1909.

Walter caught the dog mushing bug from his dad and participated in dog sled races elsewhere. He won the Hudon Bay dog sled race in Manitoba due in large part to the harness he was using for his dog team. After the race, the 1920 census has him listed in Fall Lake, Minnesota.    Walter was a guest celebrity in Luverne, Minnesota in 1920 when the Palace Theater was showing the movie “Carmen of the Klondike”.     Walter drowned when he and dogs went through thin ice on Moose Lake in Manitoba.   Below is the grisly obituary from the local newspaper:

FAMOUS DOG RACER FROZEN IN ICE
DOG TEAM STILL HITCHED TO SLED AND THE MAN STILL SITTING UPRIGHTSearching parties have found the body of Walter Goyne, famous American dog derby racer, who was drowned, Nov. 15 when he went through the ice on Moose lake with his dog team.
Through the transparent ice the body could be seen in eight feet of water sitting bolt upright on the sled, partly covered by an eiderdown robe. stretched out in front in perfect alignment were the nine racing dogs.
The provincial police who investigated the accident, said they believed Goyne was traveling at racing speed toward shore in an effort to escape thin ice, when he plunged through and under heavier ice, where escape was impossible.
Of eleven loose dogs that were following Goyne and his racing team, two perished with their master and their bodies were found close to the team. Goyne’s dogs were considered among the best in the north country. and much was expected of the in the 1922 derby.Goyne, Walter (15 Nov 1922)Star Valley Independent
 Here is a further story about the race history:

 The first annual race, in 1916 was formulated by Grant Rice, editor of The Pas Herald of the era.  In the race of 1920, Walter Goyne, who was born in Ruby, Alaska, made history when he came out of the frozen hinterland of Alaska to compete in the early Le Pas Dog Derby.  When Mr. Goyne arrived in The Pas that day many years ago, he discovered that all the local mushers were using an old style toboggan for racing, with their dogs hitched in tandem style.  Goyne brought with him the famous Alaskan dog sled with his dogs hitched in the now famous Alaskan hitch, that is, dogs are two abreast with the leader centering the team in front. Northern Manitobans of that era were quite skeptical of Goyne’s sled and “new” hitch and in fact gave him little chance of winning that race of 1920.  But when the race was over, and Goyne had won by an easy margin, the skeptics were forced to eat humble pie.  Today Goyne’s Alaskan hitch and sled is being used by all famous mushers in Northern Manitoba, the East and the St. Paul Winter Carnival whose dog races date back to 1889.

    The race of 1920 which Goyne won with ease, will always be remembered as one the Northland’s greatest.  Consider the fact that Goyne had a crippled foot which forced him to ride on the sleigh more than his rivals thought best in a long grueling non stop race.  You see unlike today’s race, which is broken up into three daily laps, in Goyne’s time it was 140 miles to Cranberry Portage or Flin Flon and back non-stop.

    Another item Goyne introduced to the North was the parka.  Before he came to The Pas, the parka was unheard of.  It was while visiting at the home of Mrs. E. W. Bridges that the parka was first introduced as the only type of winter clothing to adequately protect the upper part of the body from the freezing winds of the Northland.  Mrs. Bridges took Goyne’s parka and using it as a model she made smaller replicas for her own children, one of whom later made a great name for himself in dog racing in The Pas derbies and those staged in the east.  His name, Earl Bridges.  Today the parka is a standard part of every northerner’s winter wardrobe.

    After Goyne’s first big win in 1920, he had one ambition, namely to win the race three times thus receiving the Derby Cup.  In 1921, he entered again but was forced out when his 13 year old lead dog failed him.  Ironically that was his last race locally.  In the fall of 1922 Walter Goyne drowned in Moose Lake.  The man who found Goyne’s body was another well know Northern figure, the late Tom Lamb of The Pas.  When Goyne’s body arrived at The Pas, The Pas Herald records the incident as follows: “It was a silent procession up Fischer Avenue..and many town dogs fell in with Goyne’s pups.  Not a bark or growl was heard, it seemed as if the four footed animals understood the meaning of procession.”

 fro trapersfestival.com

A Skagway kid in France 1918

Loring and Mary Wilkes came to Skagway from Nebraska  in the gold rush with their little son Mark Edward. Loring worked as a cook but in 1948  wrote: “Packers on the Dyea Trail” in the Alaska Sportsman (June).  His son Mark went to World War One and listed Skagway as his home town.

Mark Edward Wilkes disappeared on this day, November 13, 1918 in France, perhaps near Exermont or Nantillois. Many  officers – Majors Murray Davis and Fred A. Cook, Captains Joseph G. Duncan, Edgar Hayden Dale,  James C. Kenady all died as well as many Lieutanants, Sergeants, Corporals and privates.  Sadly, the Great War in Europe ended on November 11, two days prior to the announcement of the many deaths.

In September and October 1918, the 35th Division was attempting to reach the village of Exermont.  The church and town were nearly destroyed near the Chaudron Farm Road by a counter attack of the German Army on September 29, 1918. Seen above are some of the American soldiers in the church there.  There is a memorial in the town to the fallen soldiers which is perhaps the only marker that Private Wilkes has since he was listed as MIA. Below is the marker in Skagway which does not bear his name.

http://www.genealogybuff.com/misc/ww1/il-ww1-ago-casualties46.htm

George S. Black

Another Skagway Sleuth sent me this nice photo of the grave of George S. Black buried in Fairbanks at Birch Hill Cemetery, plot: Pioneer 2, tier: 2 , row: 7.

Here is the previous story in the blog on him:

http://www.skagwaystories.org/2011/09/george-s-black.html

Rotary accident


On February 28, 1902 there were two German men pushing a sled north of White Pass along the rail line. The snow was about 3 feet high on each side and apparently one of the men became confused when the train approached and fell in front of the snowplow. The Yukon paper reported his name was Hauser and that he had a wife and kids in Coulee Washington but the Skagway paper reported his name was O. Hauseman and that he had relatives in Oregon. He apparently stayed at the Portland Mizpah Hotel in Skagway before his fateful trip. I could find no record for either name in either Washington or Oregon, so presumably it is screwed up somehow.
Makes you look at that rotary with a little more caution…

Skaguay News March 2, 1902 on microfiche.

Frank Hawley Darling


On December 5, 1898 there was a snow avalanche at Crater Lake that buried 5 people, among whom were Mrs. Lizzie M. Clay Darling and her husbands two sons who were teenagers. She and Frank Hawley Darling were married on May 23, 1891 when she was 21 years old. Possibly Frank had been married before but I could only find the marriage record for Lizzie.
Frank was born in 1855 in New York and it is possible that he was an artist in California early in his career.
He waited for Lizzie and his sons to arrive at Lake Lindeman, but they never made it. After losing his family he returned to Seattle and worked as a clerk until his death on this day, December 6, 1925 – 27 years and a day after the tragedy.

P.S. Although the newspapers reported that he had two sons that died, the NWMP report stated there were 4 men: Warren, Rouhl, Johnston (Bert Jones), and Harry Shaw as well as Mrs. Darling. She was too young to have two teenage sons even from a previous marriage. If Frank had two other sons, then their names would have been Darling also. I checked the censuses in Washington and did not find that he had been previously married or that he had sons. Furthermore, if he took his wife down to Washington to bury her there, why not take these sons too? So in the end I think the newspapers made up the boys to make a more dramatic story. I have not yet found any information on Warren or Rouhl.

Seen above is the cemetery at Lake Lindeman. Perhaps the boys were buried here, but Lizzie was buried in Edmonds, Washington at the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery.
RCMP report online.

Edward James Gray


Mr. Gray was born in England in 1855 and came to Lake Bennett from Victoria where his wife was living. He was working on the sawmill when he had an accident, on this day, November 29, 1899 and died. His body was shipped back to Victoria and he lies with so many other gold rush unfortunates at the Ross Bay Cemetery.

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

The dubious story of M.C. Daly


“A thrilling story of starvation and death in the wilds of Northern Alaska is recorded in Skagway, Alaska. The victims were M. C. Daly of Boston, Mass., and two Frenchmen, names unknown. The story was brought to Skagway by William Lawlor, an Arizona miner.”

Although this appeared in the Seattle papers in November 1899, it is dubious in my opinion that it happened in Skagway or the Yukon because it is a year after the gold rush at a time when businesses and roadhouses had been set up. Further there is no record on this day of Mr. Daly or two Frenchmen dying here.
However there was a tragedy at Kotzebue where at least 48 people starved to death under horrible conditions in August 1899 until Lt. Jarvis and the revenue cutter Bear arrived to rescue the miners there. read that story here:
http://genealogytrails.com/alaska/northwestarctic/goldrushdeaths1899.html
The photo above is of Kotzebue in winter-I think I will go get a hot cocoa now.

(Seattle, Washington, The Evening News, November 15, 1899, page 1)

Harry Huntington’s letter


Harry wrote a letter to his fiance (later wife) Jennie from Alaska which is dated 1897, but he must have meant 1898 as it is written on the back of a newspaper extra which has the date April 3, 1898 printed on it. The EXTRA published by the Dyea Trail is about the death of eighteen prospectors in a snow slide.

“Sheeps Camp April 7, 1897, My beloved Wife:-How I wish I was on my way to meet you My Love My all. If tomorrow is a good day we will bid adieu to Sheep Camp and take up our abode at Lake Linder Mon. We were on the summit yesterday, paid our duty and took most of our freight down the hill out to Crater Lake. Wolff and Percival will finish up today. I went as far as the stables and brought back the dogs. Yesterday I dug my freight out of about eight feet of snow, you can see men all over the trail digging out their “caches”, some will never find theirs. Today is warm and the sun shines brightly on the snow covered Peaks. Up to yesterday fifty one bodies have been taken from the snow slide, and some that are alive are in evidence now of the awful experience of being under the snow and couldn’t move a muscle. I talked with one man that was in 45 minutes. He said he could breathe alright and was very comfortable physically but not mentally.
The search for the misfortunate was kept up until last night no one being allowed to pass the Place with a pack or load. There is no one at work this morning and I guess they have given it up. The snow slide made no noise whatever and wasn’t even heard by the ones that were caught.
We never left our camp during the storm and don’t work any stormy days, we have lost a lot of time but it has given us an opportunity to get mail from our dear ones a home. I hate to leave on that account. I rec. a nice letter from Halla yesterday, and I got it by accident too.
One of the Crossley boys was down Sheeps Camp and saw my name on front of a store.(?) There are two places to get mail and I suppose they got it on account of having “Please Forward to Sheeps Camp” on it. You can address your letters to Takish House North West Territory from now on They come from Dyea the 20th of each month.”

from “The Descendents of Nathaniel Huntington” online genealogy book.