Joseph McCann – Conductor on the White Pass Railroad

McCann House

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;

Jerry Quinlan – First White Pass Conductor

Jerry Quinlan

 

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

More fundraiser items for Buchanan’s charity

                           

I love to get photos of historic things from followers! Here are three photos of matches which were sold as fundraisers for boys in the inner city to help fund their trip to Alaska with George Buchanan back in the 1930’s. They funded their trip by selling kitchen items to earn 1/3 of the money, 1/3 was given by Mr. Buchanan and 1/3 was contributed by the parents. Buchanan loved  Alaska and presumably felt that exposing the boys to the great state would expand their view of the world. I wonder if it worked! There are also some items on display in the White Pass Depot.

When riding the train to the summit, the train agents will point out across the valley  the words “On to Alaska with Buchanan” painted on the rock wall.

Thanks to Scott Cummings for the photos!

The Tutshi and the Duchess at Carcross

Here are three alternative White Pass & Yukon Route modes of travel.  The paddlewheel steamer Tutshi is seen here whole before it burned many years ago. On the left is an old White Pass horse drawn wagon. The little Duchess engine which was used over on Lake Atlin is looking alot spiffier here too. These days you are not allowed to climb on top of it and try to pry the pieces off. Kids.

The Duchess was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1878 and John Irving purchased her from the Collieries on Vancouver Island in 1899. She was shipped north on the S.S. Danube and hauled by train to Carcross and then barged to Taku Landing. In 1900 White Pass acquired the interests of the John Irving Navigation Company and the Atlin Short Line Railway. On July 18, 1900 the Duchess pulled the first load across the portage. At $2 fo 4 kilometers it was the most expensive trip in the world. Passengers rode amidst packages and cargo, stamping out cinders and sometimes asked to help push the train the last part over the hill where the grade was 7%. For many years White Pass owned the transportation route from Vancouver all the way to Atlin. The Duchess ran until 1919 when she was replaced by engine no. 51 (one of the two original  Baldwin engines built for White Pass.) In 1932 the other engine, no. 52 was brought there.

 

Railroad dock full

So who says you can’t put more than 2 cruise ships at the Railroad dock? Here in 1904 Case & Draper photographed 5 steamers tied up.

Cost of freight 1900

In a Northwest Mounted Police Report of 1900, the cost of freight on White Pass from Skagway to Whitehorse was 4 1/2 cents per pound (a distance of 110 miles). It was observed that this was high but certainly not as high as it had been before the railroad was built. Then, by horse, it was 40 cents to $1 a pound.