Folquert Wooland

Mr. Wooland was born on this day, March 20, 1847 in Norway. He came to Skagway from Leadville, Colorado and was a tailor by profession. He was a City Councilman in 1903 to 1904 and was a member of the Elks. In 1905 he moved to Juneau and died there in 1933.

Seen above are a couple of fashionable 1904 suits.

1900 census under Holland;1902 directory; family chronicles; Skagway Museum Record; Pennington.


Daniel Murphey was in a bar fight on May 10, 1908 with William Hoskins also in 1902 with Jimmy Burke, a longshoreman, at the Mascot Saloon. Skagway was still a wild place after the gold rush. (Oh those crazy Irishmen)

1910; Spude: Daily Alaskan Oct 11, 1902

Peter Clancy Bean

I was contacted yesterday by an author and historical researcher that had been reading the diaries of Frank Purdy that are held at the University of Fairbanks. One entry in those diaries mentioned the fact that the Purdy party had heard a shot on the evening of March 7, 1898 up near White Pass. The next morning they found the body of P.C. Bean who had been murdered. Now the clue here was that they said he was from California and he was actually Peter Clancy Bean.

The murder case is still unsolved.

from: 1880 census in California; Michael Gibson author of “Echo of a Family Secret” (the story of another unsolved murder available at is currently working on the biography of Frank Purdy, a goldrusher who passed through Skagway.

Gone Postal 1898

William Steele was the postmaster in Dyea and had quite alot to deal with in 1898. Not least of which was Mrs. Sarah Rowley who attempted to shoot him because she thought he had stolen their goods.

Although she was arrested for the attempted murder of postmaster Steele in Dyea on June 12, 1898, she was later released on insanity. She and her husband, H. Campbell Rowley worked as packers on the Chilkoot Trail. They had lost their outfit when the SS Corona went down, and then their replacement outfit was also lost.
No wonder she went crazy!

When I worked at the Skagway Post Office in 1998 I encountered a number of irate and irrational people at the window who also thought I was hiding their mail. I remember one man who could not believe that his package, sent from Florida the day before, was not in Skagway since it had been sent priority! Another local man would scream at us if his Wall Street Journal was not in his box at 8 am, despite the fact that mail arrives by small airplane, and in huge bags, and weather permitting. So we would upend all the mail, look for his paper and make a special delivery to his box to avoid the commotion. Well all those postal workers that I worked with are retired now and the screaming man – well he died shortly thereafter of hypertension as I recall…..

New York Times 6/17/1898; Skagway Museum Record

Million dollar sculptures

Believe it or not there are two Thomas Eakins statues sitting on the side of the road next to city hall. All but forgotten and in pieces, if the city sold them they might be able to pay the entire school budget next year. or not. Occasionally a visitor asks about them and is amazed that no one in the city seems to know anything about them…

“…no records exist for how the modeling was carried out, but given the time frame, it is logical that they were tackled individually, allowing a complete figure to be shipped to the foundry for firing while modeling was begun on the next. Having started in September 1896, Murray and Eakins were still at work on the sculptures in October 1897.
Murray’s and Calder’s statues were duly installed on the building, where they remained for the next sixty-three years. After the building was renovated in 1961 they were removed in the interest of pedestrian safety. Calder’s were preserved and later installed on the grounds of the Presbyterian Historical Society.
Eakins and Murray’s prophets, however, met a far stranger fate. Each was sold for $319, the cost of crating and shipping. Moses and Elijah were bought by Arthur Garrett of Skagway, Alaska, and eventually donated to a Catholic church there. The remaining eight became cemetery statuary in Frazier, Pennsylvania, where all but Samuel, as biographer Lloyd Goodrich noted, “fell prey to vandalism, weather or neglect.”
The partnership that began out of necessity for Eakins and desire to learn for Murray blossomed into a lifelong friendship. Eakins never publicly claimed co-authorship of the statues, suggesting that he wished both to promote Murray’s budding career and to protect him from any judgmental reaction among Philadelphians that the young sculptor had been ill-advised in his selection of a partner.”

From page 412 of the Revenge of Thomas Eakins by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick
Yale University Press, 2006

Ernest Raphael Cheadle

Ernest R. Cheadle was born in 1860 in Albany Oregon. In 1880 he was working as a laborer in El Cajon, California.
Married Melinda Julia Hearn in 1889 in Sacramento, California and had two kids, Ernest Jr. and Bessie. He and Melinda Julia divorced in 1896 in San Francisco.
He came to Alaska and built the Cheadle Hotel and Restaurant in Dyea in 1898. He was also appointed the Dyea U.S. Marshal from June 10, 1898 to November 29, 1898.
Although he was living in Dyea, Alaska, he went to Seattle on February 2, 1899 and married Nellie Ada Hewitt. She presumably died because he then married Sylvia Jurinda Smith, a Swedish gal from Utah on November 2, 1903 and had two more kids. In 1910 he was living in Seattle, Washington with his 4 kids and Sylvia and working as a real estate person. Ernest Cheadle died on June 8, 1921 in Seattle, Washington.

Pictured above is another cozy hotel in Sheep Camp.

S.F. Call online; Washington State Records; Skagway Museum record; Rootsweb for King family;

Samuel Roberts

This murder occurred on this day, March 13, 1898. Mr. Roberts ran the Wonder Hotel and saloon in Dyea and was murdered on his way home. Fitzpatrick, Corbett and Brooks apparently felt they could get away with murder during this period of wild abandon. They did not.

Because Alaska was a federal territory and not a state at the time, the case went to a federal court, was appealed, and then heard at the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court case 178 US 304 stated on May 28, 1900:
“The said John Fitzpatrick, Henry Brooks, and William Corbett at near Dyea, within the said District of Alaska and within the jurisdiction of this court, and under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, on the 13th day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, did unlawfully, willfully, knowingly, feloniously, purposely, and of deliberate and premeditated malice make an assault upon one Samuel Roberts, and that they, the said John Fitzpatrick, Henry Brooks, and William Corbett, a certain revolver, then and there charged with gunpowder and leaden bullets, which said revolver they, the said John Fitzpatrick, Henry Brooks, and William Corbett, in their hands then and there had and held, then and there feloniously, purposely, and of deliberate and premeditated malice did discharge and shoot off to, against, and upon the said Samuel Roberts, and that said John Fitzpatrick, Henry Brooks, and William Corbett with one of the bullets aforesaid out of the revolver aforesaid then and there by force of the gunpowder aforesaid by the said John Fitzpatrick, Henry Brooks, and William Corbett, discharged and shot off as aforesaid then and there feloniously, purposely, and deliberate and premeditated malice did strike, penetrate, and wound him, the said Samuel Roberts, in and upon the right breast of him, the said Samuel Roberts, then and there with the leaden bullet aforesaid so as aforesaid discharged and shot out of the revolver aforesaid by the said John Fitzpatrick, Henry Brooks, and William Corbett, in and upon the right breast of him the said Samuel Roberts one mortal wound, of which said mortal wound he, the said Samuel Roberts, instantly died, and so the grand jurors duly selected, impaneled, sworn and charged as aforesaid upon their oaths do say that said John Fitzpatrick, Henry Brooks, and William Corbett did then and there kill and murder the said Samuel Roberts in the manner and form aforesaid, contrary to the form of the statutes in such cases made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the United States of America. Burton E. Bennett U.S. District Attorney”
Fitzpatrick was sentenced to life imprisonment of hard labor at San Quentin, California. Brooks and Corbett received separate trials.

There is no information on what became of Sam Roberts’ body, whether he was buried in Dyea or Skagway. The three defendents all show up on the 1900 census at San Quentin.

court cases online;

Tsunami watch

Well we are all just waiting around for the tsunami to arrive. We are being told not to go swimming in the bay. Since it is 9 degrees, I don’t think I will go in today…

O’Connor and Utter outfitters

Although little is known about the O’Connor & Utter outfitters of Dyea in 1898, there is a chance that the Utter might have been Charlie Utter of Deadwood fame.
He was born in about 1838 in New York and his death is unknown. After Wild Bill Hitchcock died in Deadwood in 1876 Charlie went to Colorado and then back to Deadwood for a time. He went to Leadville, Durango and then New Mexico where his trail disappears in the 1880’s.
Utter worked as an trapper, guide, prospector and saloon owner. To someone like Utter, the Klondike would have been irresistible so it is my humble opinion that he was here. There was a Charles Utter who worked as a prospector in Juneau in 1903 and later he worked as a bartender in Nome in 1907 to 1910.
Utter’s biographer, Agnes Wright Spring, traced Utter to Panama in the early 1900s. Now blind he owned drugstores in Panama City and Colón. The last record of him was in 1913 down there where he reportedly had a family. Seen above is the actor who portrayed him in the series “Deadwood”.

Anton Vogee photo of outfitters; Penningham p 437; Fairbanks newspaper notes 1903, 1907, 1909-1910

Henry Mason Sarvant

Henry Sarvant was born in 1860 in New York. Immigrating to Tacoma in 1889, he had a long and varied life, working as a pioneer Tacoma civil engineer as well as serving for several terms as mayor of the town of Steilacoom. He made many trips to Mt. Rainier and made the first extensive surveys of the region. According to records kept by Mr. Longmire, on an expedition made in August 1892 with Mr. J. K. Samble, Sarvant was one of the first 11 people to reach the summit of Mt. Rainier. He led P. B. Trump’s party on several of the early climbs to the summit. He also worked for the Washington Geological Survey party of Mt. Rainier, and he named many of the lakes, glaciers, and peaks in the park. Later on, a series of glaciers on the northeast slope was named after him. Here he is pictured on a glacier on Mt. Rainier in 1896.

In 1897 Sarvant traveled to the Klondike region, where he worked as a surveyor and located a successful mine, earning enough gold to fund his later business and farming ventures. He followed one of the more popular routes through Dyea and over the Chilkoot Pass. It was not easy-during the winter months heavy snow and ice made the trip dangerous and difficult, and in the fall and spring travelers had to contend with thick, unending mud. He was also a photographer of the Gold Rush. Sarvant’s Klondike photographs were taken between August 1897 and November 1901. They chronicle his trip up to the Klondike at the beginning of the Gold Rush through Dyea and over the Chilkoot Pass to Dawson.

He died on this day, March 9, 1940 in Yakima Washington.

Univ. of Wash. library online.