The “Snow King” and the last spike.

Charley Moriarity or Moriarty (otherwise known as the “Snow King”), was the head of the track-laying gang on the White Pass. He was a silent, red-headed Irishman and had a great capacity for working himself, and getting others to work.
Many people have been given credit for putting in the last spike on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad at Carcross on Sunday, July 29, 1900.
In the book “On the White Pass Payroll” Graves describes a list of people attempting to drive the last spike with pathetic results. After all the pomp and ceremony, he states,
“Then everybody cheered and a continuous clicking noise announced that the films yet remaining in their Kodak’s were being used up, and there was a lot of hand-shaking. In the middle of this the corner of my eye caught the “Snow King” sneaking up with a spike puller which he stealthily applied to the dilapidated last spike. Poor thing, it didn’t take much pulling z- it was glad to go, and Charley quietly marked the hole with a piece of chalk for the subsequent attention of his track men. I was rather pleased with the evidence of strict attention to business even in the midst of pleasure.”

1905 White Pass train


This Case and Draper photo of the train in 1905 shows how much of the landscape was “scalped” for building and firewood. I don’t know exactly where this was, somewhere on the other side of the pass in Canada.

Another train wreck

The date on this photo was 1900 and based on the snow level it must be September or October. I did not previously have a record of a car “on the ground” as railroaders put it. I don’t have any records of anyone dying on this date by accident, so perhaps it was just an “Ooops”.

Stikine Bill

Hamilton Ross Robinson was born in Anson, Maine in 1872, but left his wife and two daughters behind to work on the railroads up north. In 1898 Heney hired him and put him at the front saying he was a “veteran at the game of railway building”. Robinson had worked across Canada building railroads and had most recently worked on the Stikine River building track to Telegraph Creek. He became the White Pass master of transportation and was ambassador to Canada from White Pass. He was known as the “Master of Horse” as head of the grading gang. He later opened the Robinson Roadhouse which is a roadside pulloff on the road to Whitehorse today. He returned to Maine where he died in 1926 at the age of 54. Whiting described him as a mountain of a man with huge calloused hands, which is evident from the photo of him above.

Whiting, Hoggatt and Heney


Here’s that photo that I posted before, it was mislabeled to be Heney in the middle, but actually that charming mug is the governor, Wilford Bacon Hoggatt! This is a scan from the same book, Grit, Grief and Gold by Whiting.

George Johnson


George Johnson was born about 1875 probably in Alaska. He was a packer to the railroad camps along the White Pass line in 1898-1899. He was described as being half Native.
On January 2, 1899 May Burke witnessed the shooting of George by Jesse Rounds, a prostitute at White Pass City because George was harassing her.
(This location, along the White Pass route about half way to the top of the pass, is now owned by the National Park Service, but there have been no plans to do anything with the area.)
Six months later, May Burke was arrested at the Summit for “disturbing the peace”. Apparently these railroad camps were lively places.
George died on this day, January 4, 1899 and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.

A wild Discouraging Mess, page 70; Skagway coroners inquest

Frank Herbert Whiting


Born in 1857 in Mt. Pleasant Iowa, Frank Herbert Whiting came to Skagway on Friday, May 27, 1898 as Superintendent of the new White Pass & Yukon Railway. He is a background character in the Soapy shooting, having been busy on another dock unloading rails and sleepers with Mr. Graves at the time. After the shooting the Citizen’s Committee appointed the “Committee of Safety” to determine what the fate would be of the many Soapy conspirators, alleged friends and miscellaneous suspicious characters. The “Committee of Safety” consisted of eleven men. Four of these men managed transportation companies, two owned hotels, one blacksmith, two lawmen and of course the two White Pass managers, Graves and Frank Whiting. These eleven men selected the prisoners and forced them to sign over their money and agree to be handed over to the legal authorities.
Some of these men that were accused of vague crimes said that the “Committee” used their temporary and arbitrary power to get rid of business competitors in the witch hunt. Certainly in the volatile atmosphere, few Skagway residents questioned the doings of the most powerful men in Skagway. A total of fifteen men and one woman were deported but no doubt others left rather than be subjected to the “Committee” or possibly lynching.
Jeff Smith points out that when these deportees arrived in Seattle on the Steamship Tartar there is no evidence that any were ever taken into custody.
But back to Frank Whiting. He and his wife Martha and their 6 kids left Skagway in 1903. They probably returned to Denver, where they had lived before. Frank died on this day, January 3, 1936 in Seattle on a visit to his son. He was buried in Denver in the Fairmont Cemetery. One other note was that he was the great grandson of Timothy Whiting who fought in the Revolutionary War, and so was a compatriot SAR.

NPS website; Archives Canada; Alias Soapy Smith by Jeff Smith; findagrave.com; familysearch.

Clifford James Rogers


Happy Birthday to Clifford J. Rogers born on this day, December 22, 1887 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He came to Skagway in 1900 and started working for White Pass in 1905, and eventually became President of White Pass. He and his brothers stayed in Skagway and all worked for the railroad. He was a naval architect and designed the first container ship.
In November 26, 1955 the new White Pass container ship was named for him. The Clifford J. Rogers set sail for Skagway then with her first load of “containerized freight.” The new ship and containers, coupled with the upgraded and diesel engines on the railroad and trucks on the roads made the Yukon the home of the first integrated container system in the world.
In 1965 the Rogers was sold and replaced with the 6,000 ton Motorvessel Frank H. Brown, one of the world’s most modern freighters.
Clifford’s wife in 1909 was Elizabeth Gertrude Steutiford. In 1949, Clifford James Rogers Jr. married Patricia Colwell in Ellensburg Washington.
Clifford Sr. died in 1978 at the age of 91 in Snohomish, Washington.

Seen above in the first Victoria College class in 1903 (age 16 far left).

Michael James Heney


So a descendent of Mr. Heney has said that the previous photo of Heney in which he is smoking a cigar is not actually M.J.
Coming from a descendent, I have to concur and so have removed the offending photo and am now replacing it with one of him at a luncheon given to him by his workers, seen above. Heney is on the far right with a natty little beard. Notice how the workers on the left look just a little uncomfortable though.