The interesting thing about this photo of 2 native women and child packing stuff in 1897 at Dyea is the shape of the canoe which is very traditional, yet this one is not that decorative. It one of the few photos of Tlingit children and women at work.
Mary was a Coastal Tlingit woman maybe born near Haines – probably Klukwan in 1874. I say maybe because her mother was living there and talked to Angela Sidney about Daisy, her granddaughter years later. They were members of the Raven Clan who bore the name Lukaax.adi.
Mary is famous because of her husband, Skookum Jim or Keish Mason. They were married around 1893, and Daisy was born June 22, 1895. Jim died in 1916 in Carcross and Mary died on this day, December 28, 1927 in Alaska, perhaps Haines or Skagway. Daisy died only a few years later in Seattle but she was also buried in Carcross with her father. I do not know where Mary’s grave is, I would assume in Carcross also, I will look for it the next time I am up there. The plaque above is in Carcross and was put in in 2000.
Life lived like a Story p. 101 and note #45;
1901 Canadian census in Carcross; news acct from list in NPS library
A photo taken by Frank H. Nowell in 1906. It could be Louis Kah-kaka-klah because the next photo was of him with Susie Kah-kaka-klah (his wife) that I blogged on before:
They both were in the 1900 census. He was born in 1881 and was a hunter. She was born in 1884.
There was a Native Cemetery in Dyea which was different from the Slide Cemetery.
In the 1970’s, I believe, the cemetery started to wash into the river, so some of the graves were moved over to the area near the Slide Cemetery. The house pictured above must have washed away. The photo must have been taken prior to the October 1898 issue of Munsey’s where it appeared. I do not know who the man pictured was.
Munsey’s Magazine October 1898; NPS records; A.A. Hill book
Skookum Jim or Keish, Mason (1856-1916) was the brother to Kate Carmack who was married to George Carmack. Keish could carry 156 pounds of bacon over the Chilkoot Pass in one trip. Mary (1874-1927) was his wife. Daisy, his daughter, or Saayna aat, (1895-1938) studied Drama in San Francisco but had to sell her Dad’s house to pay for his funeral.
George Carmack by Johnson; Life Lived Like a Story.
Although I do not have the specifics on the murder in 1911, what we do know is that two native Tlingit men were arrested and sent to San Quentin. Thomas Jacob Phillips born on this day, March 21, 1890 in Killisnoo Alaska and “Skookum Joe” Wright born 1867 in Dyea were accused of the murder. According to a report in 1994 done for the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture by the Institute of Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, Gorsuch, Colt, Smythe and Garber authors, the two Native men were falsely accused and imprisoned.
On page 13 of this paper, according to Salvation Army records, Joe Wright was “converted” around the turn of the century while he was working as a packer on the pass. After the trial, he was sent to San Quentin and there, he was recruited by the Salvation Army. He was released in 1912, returned to Haines and started the Salvation Army Church there. He started the Salvation Army band then and he continued to proselytize in Haines and Klukwan until his death. Tom Phillips, the other man accused of murder and sent to San Quentin went on to serve in World War 1. He died in 1941 in Sitka and is buried in the Sitka National Cemetery there.
Seen above is the Salvation Army band of Klukwan, although I do not have a date, my guess is that Joe Wright is pictured in it.
rootsweb; paper online: http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/Publications/5southeast_cmnts/AppendixA.pdf
Thornton, 2004 page 93
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
The brothers Krause were born in 1848 and 1851 in Konopath, Westpreussen, Preussen or what we would call Poland today. They were noted Anthropologists who explored the Chilkat and the Chilkoot Passes 1881. They spent the winter of 1881-82 at Haines, studying the Chilkat for the Geographical Society of Bremen and then wrote “To the Chukchi Peninsula and to the Tlingit Indians: A Scientific Expedition Carried Out by Aurel and Arthur Krause in 1881/1882”. Aurel also wrote “The Tlingit Indians: results of a trip to the Northwest Coast of America and the Bering Straits” published in 1885, translated by Gunther in 1956. Unfortunately this did not have much effect on general knowledge since it was in German. In this 1885 account he describes Lake Arkell (or Kusawa) as an early trade route between coast and interior used by the Chilkats. By 1887 George Dawson said that the use of this route was declining by Tlingit traders because the journey from the coast to the head of the Takhini was so difficult. They began using the Chilkat Trail even though it was longer, yet less dangerous. I looked these up in the Alaska Atlas and was amazed at these routes which were not only longer but crossed several glaciers. No wonder they were more dangerous, there were stories of men falling into crevasses on those routes. It is easy to see on a map why the Chilkoot trail from Dyea became so popular.
The Krause research was not only the earliest but some of the most comprehensive accounts of Northwest coast cultures before they were significantly changed by European contact.
Aurel died in 1908 and Arthur died in 1922 both in Berlin.
The Yukon, London 1898 p.378; Yukon places & names, Coutts; Thornton p 286; Life Lived Like a story, page 369. Under Mount Saint Elias: The History and Culture of the Yakutat Tlingit, by Frederica de Laguna SMITHSONIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO ANTHROPOLOGY VOLUME 7
Alice was born in September 1897 and died on this day November 16, 1898 and is buried in the vicinity of the Slide Cemetery with a large marble marker. She was only a year and two months old. The marker also is for presumably her 11 year old brother, John J. Mason who died the following June. Although there are other Native Masons buried nearby, there is no record of their family. Seen above is the marker, courtesy of Mike from findagrave.com.
“Spanish Pete” was born in 1857 in Noya, Spain and came to Skagway in the gold rush. He worked as a mail carrier in Dyea in 1900 but had came to Alaska in 1896. In 1903 he beat up Joe Lee, a Tlingit native because he lived next door. The Daily Alaskan article from April 28, 1903 reported that “Spanish Pete had beat up an Indian named Joe Lee on April 27 at Dyea after he discovered Lee near a house that the Indian had recently purchased but which Pete considered his own….Spanish Pete regards Dyea as his own private preserve and resents visits from Skagway as an invasion of his rights. When Lee denied Pete’s ownership and refused to vacate the property, the latter struck him with a four-foot club which he continued to wield vigorously until help arrived.”
Thomas Thornton states in his ‘Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment’ on page 211: “Native families who had traditionally harvested and smoked fish at Dyea returned to their camps to do so, often complementing traditional subsistence harvesting with cultivated gardens. However, some returnees were intimidated by whites attempting to exercise control over the area.”
The Lee family lived in Haines but had a smokehouse along the river in Dyea where they would smoke coho and dog salmon. They would also gather highbush cranberries there on the flats where it was much easier to collect than in the brush. Coho salmon eggs were mixed with gray currants and cranberries to make kanigul (“paint”) a local delicacy. The Lee family would also cut birch to sell to the railroad for fuel.
1900;Klondike Nugget 6/10/1900; Thornton page 211