Albert was born on June 7, 1842 in New York. In the Civil War he was a private in the Ohio Infantry from May 1861 to August 21, 1861. After that he eventually ended up in Skagway Alaska where he worked for White Pass as a wharf baggageman and later as a foreman. There were a few Civil War vets in Skagway in those years. They must have had some good stories to tell.
Albert stayed here until about 1914 when at age 72 he moved to Snohomish where he died, on this day, April 16, 1914, and is buried in the GAR cemetery there. His death certificate said he was working as a painter then.
1905 and 1915 directories; rootsweb and civil war vets of Washington online.
Today is Seward’s Day and the state and local offices are closed to honor the man who fought, and nearly died to acquire the great land of Alaska. During the Civil War, when funds were scarce and Russia, too, was nearly broke from funding their wars, a great real estate deal presented itself. Although the negotiations took years to complete, the man who had the vision was U.S. Secretary of State, Wiliam H. Seward. Working for President Lincoln, he nearly suffered assasination on the same night that Booth shot Lincoln. Another member of the successionist movement pushed his way into Seward’s home, attacking his family and stabbing Seward several times in the face and neck. Miraculously surviving, Seward was not deterred from his task, and in 1867 not only saw the purchase of Alaska, but he also decided to go see the property.
In June of 1869, after retiring, Seward began his vacation to Alaska with a railroad trip across the country on the – then barely one-month-old – transcontinental railroad. He saw buffalo and Indian camps and visited Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. He then visited Sacramento and San Francisco.
Seward boarded the steamship “Active” as a guest of Ben Holladay (a California businessman) to visit the Chilkats up Lynn Canal. The ship visited Seattle and Victoria B.C. and then arrived in Sitka near the end of July. When they got to Klukwan or the port we now know as Haines, by coincidence, there was a U.S. government survey team also in the area to view a rare total eclipse of the sun. The party had timed its visit with the Chilkats to coincide with the eclipse. The Chilkats referred to tourists as “Boston Men” and assumed that Seward was the “Great Tyee” of the Boston Men. Obviously there had been men from Boston who had visited earlier but they were doing business presumably and were not casual tourists as the Seward party was in 1869.
When Seward returned to Washington D.C. he praised Alaska and said it was impossible to exaggerate Alaska’s physical treasures such as its rivers and its wildlife and noted that its untapped mineral and forest resources will make Alaska a “shipyard for the supply of all nations.” How prophetic!
James Shackelford was born in 1827 in Kentucky. He was a Union Brigadier General in the Civil War. He has the distinction of having captured Confederate cavalry commander John Hunt Morgan in mid-1863, effectively ending “Morgan’s Raid”. Shackelford’s first wife, died in 1864, and he was left with four small children. He felt it his duty to resign at the termination of the war, despite the fact the President offered him the rank of Major General.
He was also a lawyer and judge. In 1889 President Benjamin Harrison appointed him U.S. Judge in the Indian Territory. By 1902 he was the U.S. Attorney for Alaska.
General Shackelford died on this day, September 7, 1909 in Port Huron, Michigan but is buried in Kentucky.
Report of the Secretary of the Interior, 1902; familysearch; Wikipedia;accessgenealogy;
Albert Towne was born on this day, June 7, 1842 in New York. He seems to have passionately wanted to be a soldier! Although he joined the military almost as soon as the America Civil War began, it appears health reasons-most likely chronic asthma- caused farmer Town’s initial enrollments to be short lived.
However, by persistently reenlisting he, four units and three service arms later, successfully completed the War. Along the way his name was noted not only as Albert B. Town (the spelling used by the veteran on post war documents, but also Albert B. Towne and Albert S. Town. Whether these changes were conscious attempts to conceal previous enlistments or merely clerical errors is not known.
Following the War the 6’2” blue eyed Town returned to Michigan, married and resided in Monterey and Grand Rapids Michigan before moving to Washington state and then ultimately to Skagway, Alaska.
It is hard to grasp that there were several members of the Grand Army of the Republic that lived in Skagway. He worked as a baggageman for White Pass on Moore’s Wharf.
On June 14, 1914 this “minister of the gospel” was dead from a sudden bout of cerebral apoplexy (stroke). At passing the 76 year-old former cavalryman/infantryman/artilleryman was receiving a $25 per month in Civil War pension. He is buried in the Snohomish GAR cemetery.
1905 directory, 1915 directory; rootsweb; Civil War vets of Washington State online.
Captain Joshua Nickerson Rowe, was born on this day, June 9, 1837 in Rockfort or Rockland, Maine. He took a steamer up the Yukon from Seattle on June 16 1898. On return he left Dawson City on September 20th, 1898 as Captain of the steamer James Doneville, with about 120 passengers. On October 5th his diary noted “Got within one mile of the White Horse Tramway”. He died in the Bishop Rowe Hospital, Skagway, Alaska, October 18th, 1898. Services at the Union Church, and buried in the Gold Rush cemetery. He was a veteran of the Civil War.
His grandson wrote a book called “Women of the Sea” 1962 about his mother, Alice Rowe Snow who spent 15 years with her parents, Mr and Mrs Joshua Nickerson Rowe, aboard the schooner Village Belle, the brig J. Bickmore and the bark Russell.
rootsweb; books; Civil War websites; Encyclopedia of American literature of the sea and Great Lakes by Jill B. Gidmark
Judge Isaac Newton Wilcoxen and Judge James Wickersham, both judges in Skagway in the early years, both died on this day.
Judge Wilcoxen died at the age of 73 on October 23, 1910 in Seattle and since he was a Civil War vet is buried in the GAR cemetery there.
I.N. Wilcoxen was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood in 1900, a Judge in 1902, and member of the school board. He was also a lawyer and notary public in 1901.
Judge Wickersham died in 1939 in Juneau. He was elected as Alaska’s first delegate to Congress, serving until 1917 and then being re-elected in 1930. He was instrumental in the passage of the Organic Act of 1912, which granted Alaska territorial status, introduced the Alaska Railroad Bill, legislation to establish McKinley Park, and the first Alaska Statehood Bill in 1916. Wickersham made the first climbing attempt on Mount McKinley in 1903. In 1927 he wrote: A Bibliography of Alaska Literature 1724-1924 published by the University of Alaska press. In 1938 he wrote Old Yukon: Tales & Trails and Trials.
In Fairbanks, Judge Wickersham’s house is open to the public and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The picture above is of he and his wife Debbie in 1915 on the porch of that house.