Archibald “Archie” League

A couple of years ago the grandson of Archie League came by and pointed out his grandfather in this picture, which you have all seen no doubt. Archie was a bartender here-seen in white behind the counter. He also worked at Jake Rice’s opera house, was part owner in brothel, and he went on to Dawson and managed a theatre there.
His grandson said he was born in 1873 in Mechlenberg, Tennessee. That would make him 25 in the photo above, and the fellow there seems a little older, but who knows?
Now I checked the old newspaper listings at the National Park library and found that Archibald League shows up as an actor in 1903 in Nome, at the Monte Carlo Theatre. Seems he got around, but whether he was actually here is still a question.

New 2019 UPdate:

Here is a real picture of Archie, contributed by Bill Byrd his descendent:



12 Replies to “Archibald “Archie” League”

  1. My research conflicts with the grandson of Archie League. The bartender in this photograph is Nate Pollack. He also appears in the photograph of the nine gang members being deported out of Skagway after Soapy was killed. Pollack’s name also appears as one of the nine men where as Archie League’s does not. Please let me know if my information is incorrect.

    Jeff Smith

    Jeff Smith

  2. I’m glad you commented Jeff, I was a little dubious myself, I think the descendants were a little enthusiastic when pointing him out. I will check with the park to see if there is anything else on “Archie”.

    1. The person you reference in the article was his son by a previous marriage than my grandmother He is known as the first Air Traffic Controller (born 1907) was his son by a previous marriage. My uncle (Dan League) met his step cousin Archie League in the Presidio in San Francisco during WWII when they were both enlisted. I have a picture of Archie League the son in his uniform as a pilot, before he became famous.

      Archie League the Vaudeville actor/commedian, and later radio personality was born in 1873

  3. Jeff is correct that is not my Grandfather in the photograph. I discovered the error and tried to email both parties I spoke with, but I guess the proverbial cat had roamed free of the bag…..I have other pictures from that time which prove it could not have been him although he was a bartender at times according to family lore. He knew Jack London and Leo Pantagenate as well. He also led a troup of chorus girls. The other Archie League cited by LRod was his son by a previous marriage who was his namsake. I located decendants of his previous marriage and correspond with them. My uncle met his half brother Archie League during the war in the Presidio in S.F. where Archie was an Airman. My uncle’s name was Danial League. Later on he got into radio and was popular in Tennesee with a host of radio characters he had developed. He also did comedy skits in Vaudeville up and down the West Coast.I have an extensive newspaper article that was done years later on his rather colorful life.

    1. I have quite a few pieces of poetry authored by Archie League. I’d be glad to copy it (it’s on typewriter paper) and send it to somebody. Apparently he was quite an upbeat type of fellow.

      1. Hey Bill, that would be great, I would love to post some of those online! I will be away for a few days, but when I get back I will post again. Thanks, Marlene

  4. Ok, I’ll try to dig them out of my collection of items I have that belonged to him and send them to you. What email address would you like me to use to send them to you? I have several original pictures and others that are from his younger life (if I can locate them).

  5. I also have a newspaper article (dated January 30th 1938) which did a special Sunday full page story on his life. I don’t know if anybody’s seen this or not. One of the pictures in the article is the one above (taken of Soapy days before he was shot).

  6. I have some pretty good stuff on Archie League from that 4 page Sunday special newspaper article on his life. I will transcribe this and the poetry. I’m creating a Wikipedia article on him and linking to his son the air traffic controller.

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