Peniel picture

I saw this great photo on Ebay that sold recently. Other than the date of 1905 there was little information about it, but I recognized the woman in the center as being Victorine Yorba. Looking through my records I believe that the two men are C.W. Ruth and E.L. Wilson who were revivalist preachers at the Peniel in 1905. One could also be the Rev. H. M. Tourney who led revival meetings in the Peniel in 1906. ¬†Miss Josie Barnett was also there working in 1905 and I do not know her date of birth so either woman on the ends could be her. Although the ebay seller thought this was at the Presbyterian church, I don’t think so. The interior does not match the Presbyterian Church, but could be the Peniel Mission. The signs on the walls do not match the somewhat staid Presbyterian dogma, but are more indicative of a revivalist clergy. “If God Be for us who can be against us” and “The son of man is come to Seek and Save that Which Was Lost” I can’t quite read the other ones. Also, note there is no altar but rather just a stage as if for preaching and note the extremely large Bible on the right.

Oct 3, 1905 local paper in park library;

Skagway Churches in 1898

Despite the stories of murder, prostitution and robbery, there were also quite a few religious centers in Skagway in the 1890’s. Here is a list:

Fathers Tosi, Robaut, Seghers, Gougis, Rene of the Catholic Church

Rev. C.J. Larsen of the Norwegian Danish Methodist Church

Rev.’s Young, Dickey, Grant, Thwing, Pringle, Sinclair, Turkington, Cock of the Presbyterian Church

Bishop Bompas and Rev.’s Ridley and Rev. Richard John¬†Bowen of the Anglican Church

Rev.’s Lyon, Carter, Howard, Cameron, Stuck, and Wooden of the Episcopalian Church

Ministers Dowell, McGill, Ellery, Kenny, Aitken, Ross and Booth of the Salvation Army

Rev.’s Jorden, Latourette, and Clevinger of the Baptist Church

Rev.’s Ulery, Kline, Tooley, Yorba, Barnett of Peniel Mission

Rev.’s Leach and Yokum of the American Episcopal

Missionaries Mr & Mrs White in Dyea in 1888

Independent Preachers Green, Williams, Mortimer, Gardiner, Sehlbrede, Leaman, Wright, Kiernoff, Warrens, Weavers, Rega, and Tourney.

I have found no reference to synagogues or Buddhist centers, but who knows?

Hope I haven’t missed any! I have written blogs on several people, but some disappear after the gold rush. I am reminded of Ray McKinnon’s wonderful portrayal of the real Rev. Henry Smith in the HBO series Deadwood, seen above.

many sources

Extortion?

So the other day on my daily trek between AB and city hall I passed a walking tour led by one of the RO girls. She was saying that Mabel could be called the biggest extortionist since she was getting something from someone relating to the Peniel Mission. I am intrigued! The only Mable that I have in my database is Mabel Ulery who was the Peniel Mission founder in 1898. She later became Mabel Holmes Cox and wrote a book in 1968 called the Lady Pioneer, which I have ordered and can’t wait to read! The “extortionist” is seen above….
If anyone knows the details of this intriguing story, please let me know!

Clayton Leslie Polley


Dr. Clayton Polley was the dentist for Skagway. He was born in 1907 in Massachusetts and moved to Skagway in 1934 just after getting married in Juneau. He practiced dentistry in Skagway from 1932 to 1947. Doc opened his dental office in what was formerly the Peniel Mission. He had his dental office upstairs and the family lived downstairs. In 1936, their first child, Ernest Edward, was born.

While in Skagway, the Doc served as the School Board President for six years and three years on the City Council. He was president of the Skagway Chamber of Commerce for two years and secretary-treasurer for three years. During World War II, Polley was captain of the Territorial Guard unit in Skagway. He was president of the Eagles Lodge, and organized and played in a dance band called the Glacier Bugs. Doc was a charter member and helped organize the Alaska Dental Society and served as its first elected president in 1951, and as its secretary-treasurer from 1956-1959.

He died on this day, April 9, 1996 in Juneau.
Seen above is the Peniel Mission building on 6th before restoration by the Park Service, it is now seasonal housing for the park rangers that do the walking tours in the summer.

Dahl book; Juneau P&R site

Justina M. Dickenson

“Jessie” Dickenson or Dickinson was born on this day, February 17, 1888 in Sacramento, California or possibly Juneau. In the 1900 census in Skagway she was living in the Peniel Mission as an orphan, but her birth date and place were not given. It is assumed she came up in 1899 from Sacramento with Victorine Tooley, a missionary.
She was baptized on June 4, 1901 at St. Saviours Church, actually then just a tent, in Carcross, by Bishop Bompas.
A family site on Genforum says that her mother and father were William and Helen who died in Sacramento before 1900 and that she was baptised at St. Saviours Church in Skagway, but I believe the only St. Saviours (Anglican Church) was in Carcross. (There was a St. Saviours Episcopal Church in Skagway a few years ago, but has no members now, it was only open for a couple of years and met either at the school or at someone’s house.)
It is also possible she was the daughter of George Dickinson, a partner of John Healey’s in Dyea since 1886. George died in November of 1888 in San Francisco.
She died on November 9, 1918 in Portland, Oregon.