Frederick Joseph Vandewall

Fred Vandewall was born on this day, August 16, 1879 in Wisconsin. He was the U.S. Customs Official here from early in the 1900’s to 1929 at least. He was also the Secretary for the Elks in 1915 and in 1923. His wife Florence was also from Wisconsin and they had one son Francis born here in 1908 and who moved to Grants Pass Oregon. Fred’s sister Hazel also lived here. The picture above is of the Skagway Customs Officials in 1906, so Fred may be in there somewhere, since Francis was born here shortly after. I’m not sure that they did not have more personnel working the customs station then we do now!

P.S. Happy Birthday to Buckwheat today also.

censuses; directories; 1936 newspaper article; World War One Registration;

John William Scott

John Scott ran the Scott Hotel in Carcross 1903. The hotel ran until 1940. He died on this day, August 13, 1920 in Skagway and is buried in the upper Pioneer Cemetery. Above is a flyer from the Skagway Alaskan in 1913.
That makes it look like a great place to stay, wish there was somewhere to stay in Carcross these days, my sources tell me that the Caribou Hotel there that has been renovated since 2004 will reopen next summer. I heard that when the fellow was murdered there in 2004, his head was missing and was later found somewhere else…..oooooohhhhh! I wonder if there will be headless ghosts there, certainly the possibility exists.; Yukon Archives COR 275 f 6

Capt. Charles E. Peabody

Love that snappy beard!

Born in Brooklyn New on December 4, 1857, Charles Peabody was from a famous old family that launched the Black Ball Line in 1818 out of a New York pier. He was a stockbroker on Wall Street, temporarily leaving the family’s profession on the sea.
Through family connections he was appointed special agent for the West Coast, where he managed the U.S. Revenue Cutter service. Leaving for the West at age 25 in 1882, he met a Miss Lilly Macaulay on the train.
Lilly’s father was William J. Macaulay, an early day lumber king on Vancouver island. As Charles pursued Lilly over the next few years, his father-in-law liked the cut of his jib and the two, along with Robert Dunsmuir, formed the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Co. at Chemainus, British Columbia.
Peabody became business manager and soon married Lilly on May 27, 1891. They made their home in Port Townsend, where Peabody had become prominent in the coal industry, logging operations and the Merchants Bank. Peabody and Oakes became partners in the Pacific Wharf Company there in 1891 and steered it through the financial shoals of the 1893 panic. On January 21, 1895, the partners, along with others, formed the Alaska Steamship Company. They bought the 140-foot steamer Willapa and placed her on the route to Southeastern Alaska in direct competition with the established Pacific Steamship Company. Back at the end of 1897, Charles E. Peabody reorganized the Alaska Steamship Company and his fleet expanded rapidly as the Klondike gold stampede mounted. In 1898 the stockholders formed the Puget Sound Navigation Company [PSN] as an inland water subsidiary.
Captain Peabody came to Alaska and joined the Arctic Brotherhood here in Skagway in 1900.
He also urged Bracket to build the road. He died on this day, August 12, 1926 of appendicitis in Seattle.;

Captain Charles Constantine

On this day, August 11, 1897 Capt Constantine of the NWMP foresaw problems with the goldrush and instituted the requirement for each miner to bring 1000 pounds of supplies with him when crossing into the Yukon. An excerpt from Pierre Berton:

Despite the precautions enforced by the North West Mounted Police, there were many who made it to the Yukon without proper provisions. “[Charles] Constantine of the Mounted Police viewed the situation with foreboding. As early as August 11 [1897] he had written bluntly to Ottawa that `the outlook for grub was not assuring for the number of people here–about four thousand crazy or lazy men, chiefly American miners and toughs from the coast towns'” (p. 172). Company stores in the region were also aware of probable shortages. “The company clerks admitted only one man at a time, locked the door behind him as they would the door of a vault, sold him a few day’s goods, and sent him on his way. A man could have half a million dollars in gold–as many of them did–and still be able to buy only a few pounds of beans, but it was sometime before the newcomers could understand this. They found it hard to comprehend a situation in which gold by itself was worthless” (pp. 172-173).

Klondike Fever by Berton

Sarah Elizabeth Eldred Baker

Although Sarah never came to Skagway, millions of people have wondered about the lighthouse which bears her name, Eldred Rock Lighthouse. The lighthouse, seen above was first lit in 1905.
In 1883 William Healey Dall voyaged up the Alaskan coast and wrote a book called the Alaska Coast Pilot – it describes the coast with measurements, drawings and maps for pilots who are going up the coast of Alaska. Along with him on this voyage was Marcus Baker, a cartographer and it was he who named various points along the coast after his wife, Sarah Eldred.
Sarah was born in Climax, Michigan on September 2, 1846 and married Marcus in Kalamazoo on December 13, 1874. She died on December 19, 1897 during the gold rush, but presumably never having left Michigan.

Lighthouse Friends; wikipedia entries

Winnifred Marion Telfer

Happy Birthday to Winnifred Telfer born on this day, August 9, 1919 in Skagway. Her mother, Mary Peterson, was the matron of the White Pass Hospital since 1915 when she met Eric Telfer. Eric was an accountant for White Pass. They married in November 1917. Eric took lots of pictures in the years the family lived here and Winnifred donated them to the Canadian Archives. Some photos were of hockey teams, the one above is of the women’s curling team in 1922, Mary Telfer may be in this picture. The family moved south in 1930.

Winnifred stayed in British Columbia most of her life and became a famous artist.

Archives Canada – Eric Telfer fonds. census.

Dwight B. Fowler

On this day, August 8, 1897, Mr Fowler was found on the Chilkoot trail with a 100 pound pack on his back, drowned. I shudder to think how this happened…
His body may have been shipped out – another good reason to belong to a fraternal organization that promised to bring a brother home if he died in some god-forsaken place.

Bond p. 26; Skagway death record; Wells

Marshal Alfred James Daly

Marshal Daly was the Special Marshal appointed to Skagway after Marshal Rowan was murdered in February 1898. Daly was here in April, May and June 1898 and prosecuted Soapy Smith in an assault case in June.

Daly achieved some notoriety in 1897 when U.S. Deputy Marshal William C. Watts was shot and killed on Admiralty Island on September 1, 1897 whiled serving a warrant, (he was the first lawman killed in the line of duty in Alaska).
Hiram Schell and William “Slim” Birch, the murderers, wounded three other lawmen. They escaped but were apprehended soon after with the help of the U.S. Marines and a bunch of outraged volunteers.
The Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted the case was our Alfred J. Daly. Despite his good efforts in that case, the jury found the men not guilty saying the Marshals had not adequately identified themselves before the attempted arrest. Governor John Brady was horrified and compared the decision to let them go to the outrageous things happening in Skagway with the Soapy Smith gang. Perhaps that is why he sent Daly to Skagway.

Alfred James Daly, died on this day, August 6, 1912 in Tanana Alaska, he was 39 years old. His remains were taken to Nome for interment. Pictured above is Tanana around the turn of the century.

Alaska Library; Skagway Museum Record; News account list NPS library; The Daily Alaska Dispatch, 1912-08-29; Sitka Daily Alaskan various dates in 1897; Forgotten Heroes of Alaska by Wilbanks.

Harriet Matilda Pullen

photo by Henry Alaska Dedman

Happy Birthday Mrs. Pullen!
Hattie Smith was born on this day, August 5, 1869 in Hope, Dane County Wisconsin. she married Mr. Pullen in 1880 and the clan moved to La Push Washington.
When the call of gold came, Harriet packed up and came to Skagway where she lived the rest of her life. She saw it all, horses that could not be off-boarded at Dyea – she jumped on their backs and rode them off through the water to the beach. She made pie tins out of flattened cans and started selling pies. With the money she made there she built a hotel that became the pride of Skagway, the Vanderbilts, President Harding and movie stars stayed there.
I first read of her in an article in Reader’s Digest in the 1960’s as one of their “Most Unforgettable Characters”. Quite a lady!
She died on August 8, 1947 in Skagway and is buried near her home on the east side of the railroad tracks.

Father George Edgar Gallant

Father Gallant was born in 1894 in Rustico, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

In 1898, during the Klondike gold rush stampede, Father Rene and Father Philibert Tumell, established Saint Mark’s Church in Skagway.

Young Father (later Monsignor) George Edgar Gallant, became the first priest ordained in Alaska on March 30, 1918. He came to Skagway in 1921 and built a new church and school here, which were named for Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus.
In 1931, Monsignor Gallant would establish Saint Pius X Mission Home for Native children who were either orphans or from destitute families, staffed by the Sisters of Saint Ann. It would be rebuilt in 1946, and would operate until the 1960s. Father Gallant stayed in Skagway until about 1929.
He was a Redemptorist Oblate and quite instrumental in encouraging and promoting the Redemptorists to establish a foundation in Alaska. He was a great devotee of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Devotions.
Monsignor Gallant died on this day, August 4, 1931 back in PEI, Canada.
The church above is St Theresa’s on State Street and 9th Avenue, services on weekends year round.; census; directories; familysearch