Godfrey Otto Chealander

Mr Chealander was born in Kalmar Sweden in 1867 and came to America where he settled in Kankanee Illinois. He married Mary Cecelia Costello there in 1893 and then moved to Tacoma. The family then decided to move to Skagway in 1897. Godfrey opened a cigar store business and was later the Skagway City Clerk in 1901. He was one of the organizers of the Arctic Brotherhood Camp #1 in Skagway and served as the Grand Arctic Recorder in 1905.

While living in Nome in 1907, he had been helping to collect the official Alaska exhibit for the Portland fair. But something about that exhibit was bothering him. It just wasn’t going to do Alaska justice, he thought, tucked away in a corner of the U.S. Government Building, alongside every other government department. Homeseekers and investors might never notice.

Chealander had an idea-and now he knew where to write. He sat down in the lobby of Nome’s Golden Gate Hotel, picked up a pen, and wrote a letter to his friend John Edward Chilberg. This was the letter that started everything. It opened with a bang:

“An Alaskan exposition for Seattle in 1907-how does the idea strike you?”

He was very involved in organizing this Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle Washington, the world’s fair that in 1909 drew more than three million visitors. Of course, being Swedish they also made sure there was a “Swedish Day” for all the Swedes in the area. (Yay Swedes!)

Godfrey later became involved in Washington politics and history. He died on this day, December 4, 1953 in Los Angeles.

from Washington history online

Martin G. Itjen

Martin Itjen died on this day December 3, 1942 in Skagway. Born in 1870 in Germany, Martin was a showman who promoted Skagway in many ways. He arrived in Skagway in 1898 as a stampeder. He later worked as a White Pass laborer, he owned a transfer business, was an entertainer, owned the Bay View House hotel, and was even an undertaker.

In 1935, as a great publicity stunt, Martin took his “street car” to Hollywood to promote Skagway tourism. He called on big screen starlet, Mae West, to “come up and visit him sometime.” His image of standing in front of his bus with Mae West is the most famous image.

He is buried in the gold rush cemetery next to a large gold-painted boulder which is chained down.

A fellow bloggist has lots more info on Martin’s family:

John McCubbin – White Pass explosion

John McCubbin died on December 2, 1898 in a premature explosion on the White Pass between camp 9 and 10. He is buried in the Gold Rush cemetery and that is all that we know about him.
In doing research about that name, we can tell that he was of Scottish heritage and that there were McCubbins in New Zealand, Ontario Canada, Yukon Canada, Scotland and in the U.S.

A good example of how difficult it is to trace someone with a somewhat common name and without any other information. So if you have any more clues please let us know – here is a link to help you on your search:


George C. Holt

George Holt, a Quaker, was a very early arrival to the Dyea area. He crossed the Chilkoot Pass to Marsh Lake and back about 1874 (variously reported as 1872 to 1878), first white man to do so. He brought out a small quantity of gold, but he’s best remembered for making the return trip through the pass without the knowledge or consent of the Chilkoot Indians who guarded it against outsiders. Holt was lucky to get out alive.
Born in 1850 in Ohio, he died in December 1885 at the Knik River (said to be about 45 years old), murdered by local natives.

The Alaskan 10.2.1897; Pierre Berton; many other books.