George Clement Stanley

Happy Birthday to George born January 13, 1873 in California, maybe Albany where he had relatives when he registered for the World War One draft. He was a painter and a paperhanger here in Skagway in the 1920’s, and in 1920 he was living at the Golden North Hotel. He died here in 1925, possibly in the Golden North (ghosts anyone?) and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.

The picture above is the memorial that used to be at Inspiration Point along the train tracks, dedicated to the pack horses on the trail of ’98. The picture was taken in 1967, I’m not sure if the marker is still there or not.



One Reply to “George Clement Stanley”

  1. Yes, indeed, George C. Stanley had family in Albany, CA. His correct birth date was June 13, 1880 and he was born in the community of Mission San Jose, CA. His death date of May 2, 1925 is correct on the wooden cemetery marker at the Pioneer Cemetery. His father, George Stanley, Sr. traveled to California from Ontario, Canada in abt 1878 where he met a local girl named Sarah Donegan. They married in 1879 and George C. Stanley was the first born of 5 chiildren. George, Sr. was a carriage maker and undertaker in this small community across the Bay from San Francisco. Unfortunately, he died in 1895 as the result of a tragic horse and carriage accident. Sarah remarried, but her new husband chose to embezzle money from the family business, leaving Sarah in financial straits. Her eldest son, George C. Stanley was only 15 years old at the time of his father’s death. George decided to accompany his Uncle John Stanley to the gold rush in Alaska in 1898 where they had hopes of making some money to send home to their families. I don’t know if they had intended to strike it rich with gold or just take advantage of the business opportunities of the time. But, within a short period of time, John opened a blacksmith shop in Skagway and young George did painting and paper hanging in Juneau and Skagway until he died in 1925. John left Alaska by 1900. George’s mother moved to Albany, CA where her next eldest son, Matthew Stanley (my grandfather) built 2 small homes with the wood that was salvaged from the business in Mission San Jose. Sarah took the children to Skagway to visit their older brother George sometime between 1900 and 1910. After that, George wrote to his mother often, and she relayed news to his siblings as it became available. My mother Leona Stanley (daughter of Matthew) spoke of her uncle George for as long as I can remember. I don’t believe he ever came back to the Bay Area once he moved to Alaska, but he was thought about and missed by the family. In 2004, I traveled with my cousin Kristina Stanley Fields to Skagway to visit his grave site in the Pioneer Cemetery. I had made contact with Karl Gurcke, Historian at the Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park who very kindly researched the information that I had sent to him. With his assistance, we were able to find George’s final resting place. At the time of his death in 1925, his mother Sarah was not able to travel to Alaska, so she sent a floral arrangement of straw flowers that were to be encased in glass to last “forever”. Of course, they were no longer there when Kristina and I visited the grave in 2004, but the person who made that promise certainly did it with kind intentions. Sarah died in 1941 in Albany, CA. Although neither Kristina nor I had known Uncle George, we were very happy to make the pilgrimage to Skagway on behalf of his parents, his siblings and the rest of the Stanley family in California. Thank you for remembering him.

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