Goldrushers in 1897

Hikers on Chilkot

During the winter of 1897 these goldrushers were using sleds to transport their stuff up the Chilkoot Trail. The photo is dated December 10, 1897.

Trail dog on Chilkoot 1897

dog at Chilkoot TrailThis picture taken in the winter of 1897 and processed on December 10, 1897 shows some goldrushers with their dog on the Chilkoot Trail. It looks like a rather large dog, perhaps a lab or cross. I wonder if he made it to Dawson!

 

James Lemuel Wortham

 

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Wortham was born on August 12, 1873 in Paris, Texas and was the manager of the Clifford Sifton steamer boat on Lake Bennett in 1900. He was a latecomer to the Yukon, arriving in 1900 but was still able to run a business on Lake Bennett then.  The Clifford Sifton was built on Lake Bennett during the Gold Rush. Somehow it was later run on the Yukon River, how it got there must have been quite a feat!

Major James Matthew took the above photo of the Clifford Sifton running the Miles Canyon rapids around 1900. This was an extremely dangerous thing to do and only a daredevil would attempt it.  The photo below shows it in 1902 on the Yukon River. That photo was taken by M.W. Goetzman.

Wortham died on this day, May 21, 1941 and is buried in Juneau at the Evergreen Cemetery.

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Digby Courier June 1900 online; ancestry message board

Which river and trail is this?

image-2Clue: 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!!!

Great new book on Dyea

Yesterday I attended a lecture at the National Park Service by M.J. Kirchhoff on violence on the trails and the Soapy story. There was also a critical review of Spude’s book which many agreed had many false assumptions and mistakes. Mark agreed that Jeff Smith’s book on Soapy is a very good reference for students and historians.

Mark’s new book is called “Dyea, Alaska – The Rise and Fall of a Klondike Gold Rush Town” printed in 2012 and available at the Skagway News Depot in Skagway. I leafed through it and was amazed at the incredible collection of historic photos of Dyea that have never been published before. Also at their clarity and good descriptions.  Here is Michael Gates description: “Kirchhoff is a widely respected historian whose previous works include an excellent biography of Jack Dalton as well as Clondyke: The First Year of the Rush… Kirchhoff tackles the overlooked aspects of Alaska and Yukon history and fills in the gaps in our understanding of the North…. Kirchhoff’s book charts the rapid decline of Dyea, and offers an explanation for the eventual death of this once bustling community, but you will have to read the book to learn the answer.”

I was also very flattered that he twice referred to this blog and my research! Wow, I feel a little light headed here!

There was some interest in numbers of deaths during the 1897-1899 period from various causes, so I will compile that data later today and do a review on that too.

Me looking surprised….

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 saving of Skagway City Hall

 

I read recently in our local newspaper that the city had quietly decided to purchase the old city hall on 5th Avenue which had been for sale for some time. Like many old buildings it had fallen into disrepair and being in the historic district, it would require extensive work to make it usable as a business, yet would be under many restrictions since it is a historical building. So I am so glad that the city has purchased it and will see that it is preserved in the same manner and with the same care that the Park Service has maintained the other historical buildings downtown. Seen above is the building as photographed by the Park Service, Karl Gurcke, in 2003. Seen below is the only interior photo taken by Hegg in 1898 showing the great leaders of town in discussions. George Brackett is on the far right with the long beard.

Rev. C. W. Ruth

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Apparently there were two Reverends named C.W. Ruth. One was Charles W. Ruth and the other was Christian Wismer Ruth.  In the October 3, 1905 edition of the Skagway newspaper (viewable at the NPS library here in town). That article mentions Rev. C.W. Ruth, an evangelist who was preaching at the Peniel Mission. I earlier posted  a picture of a group of evangelists in the Peniel Mission in Skagway and I guessed that one of the men might be the Rev. C. W. Ruth. Christian was born September 1st, 1865, in Hilltown township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  Both his father and mother were devoted and consistent Christians. C. W. Ruth was one of the ten founding fathers of the Church of the Nazarene.  Ruth grew up in Indianapolis, and from an early age was an evangelist for the Holiness Christian Church.  In 1902 Ruth merged the Spokane, Washington holiness churches of the People’s Mission into the Church of the Nazarene.  He was considered a conservative, who also thought unity was the most important issue facing the Church of the Nazarene during the turn of the century. I believe that it was Christian who visited Skagway because he said,  “I traveled more than one hundred and fifty thousand miles filling my engagements, and have labored in thirty-three states and Canada,  among twenty-five different denominations”. Many thanks to Deborah Ruth, a descendent for additional information on C.W. as posted on her blog!


	

Ranger led walking tours in Skagway

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!