“Little Egypt”

Known by her stage name of “Little Egypt”, Fahruda Manzar Spyropoulos born in Syria in 1871 became famous for her belly dancing at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. She apparently danced in Skagway and went to the Klondike. Much later, in 1933 she danced in the Chicago World of Progress Fair and then drifted into obscurity.

YA National Museum Of Canada Collection #816; Wikipedia

Ida Shonkwiler Kirmse

The first Mrs. Herman Kirmse was born in Oregon in February 1869, and came to Skagway with the family in August 1898. She died on this day, July 15, 1900 of convulsions in Skagway, but was buried in Seattle.

Herman then remarried in September of 1900, to Hazel Cleveland. They lived here for a couple of years, but then Herman accidentally drowned in Ketchikan after he fell off the dock there in 1912. The rest of the family stayed only a few years and were gone by the next census in 1920.

The Kirmse’s curio store has recently seen a revival with antique displays and other antiques for sale (corner of 5th and Broadway).
Coincidentally, today a man came in and asked about the “Kirmse Clock” on the mountainside. He was amazed that a clock could have been taken up there over a hundred years ago. Despite being told that the clock is just painted on the rock, he still chose to believe it is a real clock. Alas, we did not argue with him, he went off happy.

Skagway Death Record; census; correct spelling of Shonkwiler from descendent (wrong in Skagway death record)

Robert M. Parkins

Mr. Parkins, born about 1867 died on this day, July 14, 1901 in Skagway and was buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery by the Skagway Fire Department.

Skagway Death Record. Parkins coat of arms above.

Joseph H. Brooks

Mr. Brooks came to Skagway in 1897 from Vancouver. He was a merchant and wrangler. His company “J.H. Brooks, Packer and Freight” was headquartered in the St. James Hotel.
He is famous for taking 15 mules over the Chilkoot Pass and later took 335 mules over. He claimed that he and a Mr. Turner had first blazed the trail. He returned to Skagway in 1934 to collect information for his book and died on this day, July 13, 1934 on the Chilkoot Trail. He was born about 1867 and was about 67 years old when he died and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. Pictured above is the St. James Hotel where it now sits behind the Hardware Store on 4th Avenue.

Dahl book; photo of his card on p.25 of Skagway, District of Alaska 1884-1912 by Robert L.S. Spude,; Minter; Pennington

Daniel George Cock

The Reverend Daniel Cock was the Presbyterian minister in Skagway from 1899 until 1901 for Reverend Dickey.
Rev. Cock was born in Truro, Nova Scotia on this day July 12, 1874 where his forefathers had been Presbyterian ministers since 1770.
This Reverend Daniel George Cock died on April 20, 1958 in Canada.

Above is a headstone from the cemetery in Truro of the first Daniel George Cock (grandfather probably):
“Rev. Daniel Cock the first minister of this township He was a native of Clydesdale Scotland and was ordained to the office of the holy ministry at Greenock where he held a charge a number of years. In 1772 he accepted a call from the People of Truro where he continued to discharge the duties of his office until disabled by the infirmaties of age. He died on the 17th day of March 1805 aged 88”

Mills p 29, 69; Yukon site; Ulster-Scot History site online; findagrave.com

Skookum Jim Mason

Tagish-Tlingit packer Jim Mason or Keish which meant “Lone Wolf”, was also known as “Skookum (the Chinook term for strong) Jim” for his feat of carrying 156 pounds of bacon over the pass in a single trip. As a young man he worked as a packer, carrying the equipment and supplies of early prospectors over the mountain passes from the seacoast to the headwaters of the Yukon river. It was while doing this that he met Carmack, and the two formed a partnership that included Dawson Charlie as well.

Skookum Jim, his sister Kate Carmack and her husband George Carmack as well as Dawson Charley discovered gold at Bonanza Creek in the Yukon. This eventually led to THE GOLD RUSH which affected the entire world.

Jim was part of the Carcross Tagish band born in either Carcross or Dyea about 1856. He died on this day, July 11, 1916 in Carcross of a kidney ailment or Bright’s disease at the age of 60.

Johnson book: Canadianmysteries.ca; Gates; Yukon Archives 1087#8

Soapy Smith

One Hundred and twelve years ago in Skagway, the townspeople awoke to hear that Jefferson Randolf Smith who was born in 1860 in Noonan Georgia and created a bit of a ruckus here in Skagway with his business associates, died on the evening of July 8, 1898 in a shootout with that hothead Frank Reid, or maybe it was Jesse Murphy, an employee of White Pass.
On July 9, 1898 here in Skagway, the right Reverend Sinclair arranged the funeral for Soapy and buried him in the Gold Rush Cemetery. The townsfolk spent the rest of the day beating the bushes to round up the “Soapy gang” and invited them to leave. Although some were arrested, and a couple ended up in prison, few served very much jail time, for lack of evidence or witnesses.
There was a festive and excited atmosphere in Skagway on that day, followed by 112 years of boredom. Some will dispute that characterization, but it is true that shootouts seldom occur on the streets anymore although “fancy girls” hang out the windows and gold merchants line the streets.