Fusao or Furas Toyozumi or Tayozumi

Fusao, known as Joseph, was a cook at the Pullen House restaurant and Inn between 1910 and 1915 perhaps longer. In 1915 he registered for the draft for World War One. There is no record for him after that.
He was born on this day, December 17, 1887 in Kumamoto, Kyushu, Japan. This city is famous for Kawagoe Castle where 21 lords from various clans, all closely allied with the Tokugawa Shogun, resided during the Edo Period. The fuedal age ended in 1868 (remember Tom Cruise in The Last Shogun?). The shrine above is the Toyozumi Shrine in Japan built over a thousand years ago.
So Fusao was born twenty years after that, but emigrated to the U.S. in 1906. There were a number of other Japanese immigrants in Skagway in 1910, some worked in the jewelery trade.

1910 census, WW1 registration for Skagway, Alaska.
This is my last blog for 2010, I will return in January. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas Meli Kalikimaka

Della Murray Banks

In January 1945 Della Murray Banks wrote an article in the Alaska Sportsman Magazine about her work on the Dalton Trail. She and her husband Austin Banks had made previous trips to the Chilkat area – in 1896 she was burned at Cook Inlet and lost two fingers on her left hand.
Back in Seattle, in 1898, they were hired by Denison Tucker and the infamous Homer Pennock to lead them to the Klondike on the Dalton Trail. Early on Mrs. Tucker and her sister Mrs. Hutchins decided to stay behind in Seattle so that they would not get their feet wet. (They also could not cook or eat off of tin plates).
In July 1898 the party of about 10 people arrived in Skagway to see the town under martial law following Soapy’s death and subsequent goings-on. Della and her husband went over to Pyramid Harbor to stay instead. They found the English proprietor of the hotel celebrating the Santiago victory. Tucker hired two packers, Jack Noon and Tom McAvoy (who died on today’s date, December 16, 1918).
They used a couple of horses, Polly and “Swift”. They found a mule bit for the horse along the way, and near the summit of the Chilkat Pass, they traded that for a regular bridle found hanging in a tree. By the time they arrived at Dalton Post, Della was riding on a fine saddle and with good bridle, both acquired from the dead animals they passed along the way!
Della cooked on the trip and they paid her $50 a month. In the photo above she is cooking supper, as she puts it, “for our famished outfit. Each meal required ninety biscuits, which I could bake fifteen at a time in our sheet-iron stove. My knees became calloused from kneeling on the rough ground, kneading dough and making biscuits. Conveniences? There were none.”
Would you do this for $50 a month?

Apparently she did not even get that, as the consummate con man, Homer Pennock swindled Mr. & Mrs. Banks. The town of Homer was named by Della Murray Banks, (the first white woman in Homer) before she realized that she and her husband had been swindled. The name stuck, but Della and Austin did not stick around.

collection of her letters are at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley; The Homer Spit, Coal, Gold and Con Men, was
written by Janet Klein, and published in 1996

Winter Shipwreck

“On December 8th [1900] the Str. “City of Topeka” struck on the rocks at the south end of Sullivan Island, Lynn Canal, and her passengers and crew were fortunate enough to reach the shore with enough equipment to make a camp in the midst of the storm that was howling down the Chilcat Inlet.” (about 25 miles south of Skagway)

In 1890 the Steamer “City of Topeka” brought 3655 tons of coal to Alaska from Nanaimo BC. It is seen above, on the right, at Muir Glacier in 1895 when it was bringing tourists to Alaska on cruises. I wonder if they got their towels folded into little animals in their staterooms?

There is another rock down near Wrangell call “City of Topeka Rock” which might have been another spot that this poor ship went aground, but I cannot find information on that.

First quote is “Marine Disasters of the Alaska Route” – excerpt regarding wrecks in Lynn Canal, written by C.L. Andrews as a plea for the government to install safeguards in the Lynn Canal. published by the Washington Historical Quarterly 1916.

Fred and Clara Patten

Fred Patten was born in Nebraska in 1873 and Clara was from Wisconsin. They met and married in Auburn, Washington and had a daughter there in 1900. They had moved here to Skagway around that time. Sadly, Clara died on this day, December 14, 1905 of blood poisoning and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.
Fred stayed on and made a partnership with Chris Shea as carpenter and contractor. Together they wrote a book called “The Soapy Smith Tragedy” in 1907. (If you can find this book, it is worth quite a bit now.)
By 1907-1908, Skagway’s glory days as a gold rush boomtown had passed. Vacant buildings, derelict shacks and debris were visible everywhere. One visitor described Skagway as “the scrap-heap of creation.”
In an attempt to revitalize the town, Fred and Chris led a drive to centralize the town’s business district on Broadway. In 1908, Shea and Patten purchased two barracks, sawed the longer one in half, and moved all three to their present location on Broadway. The two halves were remodeled with a new false front to make up the Pack Train Inn and the Trail Saloon. By 1910 they had both moved on.
The building currently houses a fur store and a diamond store in the summer and says “U-Ah-to-no” on the side.

Washington records online; 1880 and 1900 census; Skagway death record

Allen Wayne Dennis

Allen was born in 1949 probably in this area and worked for White Pass. On this day, December 13, 1969, he was hit by a Casey Car on the railroad and killed. He is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.

Pictured above is a Casey Car in Carcross. These small cars are used by the Maintenance of the Railroad workers every day. The workers take these cars up the tracks early each morning in the summer to check the tracks to make sure there has not been a rock fall or other damage to the tracks.

Mary Matilda Moore Kearns

Mary was the daughter of Skagway’s Police Chief in 1907. She was born either in 1882 or 1885. On this sad day, December 11, 1907 three days after giving birth, she died and left behind two newborn twin baby girls: Mary Matilda and Matilda T. Kearns. Her parents, Charles and Matilda Moore brought the girls up. Her daughter Mary M. lived to be 90 and died in Spokane in 1997.
Mary Matilda Moore Kearns is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.
The photo above is from 1911 but is not of Mary and Matilda, just a couple of twin girls with a Buick Speedster somewhere else, but is a good depiction of the time.

1910 census; Skagway death record

The old city hall building

Unbelievably this building is still standing and I walk by it each night on the way home. It is falling apart and it is a shame that the city or the park service doesn’t buy it.

Charles Augustus Sehlbrede

Reverend Gus (he was also a minister) came to Skagway in 1898 from Oregon.
Born on this day, December 10, 1851 in Louisville, Kentucky, Gus was one of ten children. After college, he took the train to Oregon in 1877 and passed the Oregon Bar the next year. He married in 1883 in Salem, Oregon.

Because of the recommendation of U. S. Senator George W. McBride, Sehlbrede was appointed as U. S. Commissioner at Skagway, Alaska by President McKinley. While on that appointment, he presided over the coroner’s inquest for Soapy Smith. He was also appointed town recorder after John U. Smith left. (Smith was a crooked U.S. commissioner for Dyea from August 1897 to May 1898 who disappeared the night that Soapy was shot.)
Sehlbrede brought his wife, Ianthe, and his two daughters, Bertha Lucille and Emma Lucrecia to Skagway. However, Ianthe and daughters left in 1901 to go back Corvallis (wimps). Judge Sehlbrede joined them soon after in sunny Oregon.
The photo above is from a 1947 magazine article.
Sehlbrede died in 1922 in Corvallis also and is buried in Oak Lawn Memorial Park there.

1900 census;Pioneer History of Douglas County, Oregon; Pennington; 1902 directory;Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, published by Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago. 1904

Charles Hilty

Charles was a member of the Yukon Order of Pioneers. He was an early gold rusher coming to Skagway about 1893. He went on to Hunker Creek and Bear Creek, and made gold claims.
He met a nice German lady in Skagway about 1897, Carolina Bernhoeffer. She and her sister Mary (see earlier blog) ran the hotel “New Home Restaurant & Lodging house”. Carolina may not have ever been married. In any event, she went with Charles to the Yukon and was recorded in 1901 living with him there. They must have married soon after. Carolina was known as “Dutch Lena” and ran several hotels including the Hotel Skagway 1898, Bernhofer’s Roadhouse, Klondike 1901, the Travelers Home in Bear Creek in 1904, cook for Rigley & Templin in Council Alaska in 1905, and washer for Cascade Steam Laundry in Fairbanks. Carolina Hilty died in Skagway in 1906 and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery. I blogged on her earlier before I found the connection with Charles. I believe there are some errors on the headstone.

Meanwhile, Charles got into a shooting scrap in Tanana, Alaska and the Pioneers advanced him $1000.00 for lawyer fees. He was acquitted and repaid the money. The Yukon Order of Pioneers motto was “do as you would be done by”. It was formed during the Gold Rush era to ensure stampeders’ rights were protected.
Charles Hilty died on this day, December 9, 1920.

Yukon Genealogy site; 1901 Yukon census Volume YRG1 page v76 as posted also on the Yukon Genealogy site; Gold Fields of Alaska online no date.

Bates Shattuck

Born on this day, December 8, 1880 in Gresham, Oregon, Bates Shattuck was one of 5 brothers: Allen, Henry, Dudley and John who came to Alaska at the turn of the century. Most settled in Juneau, but Bates was the U.S. Customs officer in Skagway in 1904. Apparently Skagway was not his cup of tea as he went back south to Oregon that same year. Seen above are the other Customs officers in 1906. Remember that Skagway has been the Port for the Yukon since the railroad was built in 1898. The U.S. Customs has kept a similar number of employees year round since then. This time of year both the U.S. and the Canadian Border and Customs offices are only open from 7 am to midnight, but in summer are open 24 hours a day.

Juneau Parks & Recreation website; familysearch; 1905 Directory