Frank Brown

From what I can tell there were at least three Frank Browns in Skagway. Frank W. Brown died on this day, June 19, 1907 in Skagway. Frank Edward Brown worked for White Pass in 1920. One Frank Brown was deported from Skagway after the Soapy roundup in 1898. But the most interesting story about Frank Brown is the one from 1988.
On January 26, 1988, the motorvessel Frank H. Brown, a 1965 Canadian cargo and fuel carrier was docked at the White Pass dock. This was one of the first container ships created but it must have lacked some safety features which are common today. That morning someone noticed the smell of gasoline and discoloration of the water around the stern tank of the ship. This tank had capacity of 124,000 gallons of fuel. Actions were immediately initiated to offload the tank to shoreside facilities. At the onset of the incident the wind was calm. However, by 10 a.m. the wind had built to nine knots from the north and continued increasing throughout the day. Response crews from the White Pass Transportation Co. initially boomed off the vessel but shortly thereafter opened the boom to avoid a fire hazard, on the advice of the U.S. Coast Guard. It was estimated that 2800 gallons of gasoline spilled into the harbor. Today Skagway still receives thousands of gallons of fuel and transfers it to fuel trucks which take the fuel to Whitehorse every day.
Seen above is the predecessor to the Brown, the Clifford Rogers as it unloads and loads containers (also invented by White Pass) to be loaded onto the train. This photo is from 1957 but is essentially the same as it was into the 1980’s.

USCG district 17. Government report 6547 online.

Lois Butt

Miss Lois Butt was a teacher in Skagway in 1915. I found reference to her in Nampa Idaho around the same time where they said she was a “tall red-headed old maid who was very stern”.
The picture above is a group of Skagway ladies in 1915 who were involved in the temperence movement. My guess is that Miss Butt is one of them. In my opinion they all look kinda frightening!
“Good morning Miss Butt!”

1915 Directory

Nantuck Murders

I recently got a new book called “Sailor on Snowshoes – Tracking Jack London’s Northern Trail” by Dick North. Mr. North has spent decades gathering every detail of London’s trip to Dyea and Dawson, but one incident jumped out at me that I had never heard before.
On page 81, he states that when the Nantucks spoke of “previous wrongs, it is very possible that it was the murder of the two maternal uncles of Johnny Johns they had in mind. ” Johnny Johns was the nephew of Skookum Jim Mason and Tagish Charlie. In 1982 Johnny Johns insisted that “very early in the gold rush era transgressions of the law occurred that were never reported because there were simply no law enforcement officers around. He cited the fate of his mother’s two brothers in 1896. When several white men who had set up camp on the beach at the outlet of Lake Lindeman caught an Atlin native stealing their liquor supply, they promptly shot the thief, killing him instantly. Seeing the only witnesses were two natives (who happened to be John’s mother’s brothers), they killed them as well. Word of the murders leaked out to the village people when the Native girlfriend of one of the whites told John’s mother about it.”
So, I looked through “Life Lived as a Story” by Julie Cruikshank and found the genealogy chart for Angela Sidney’s family. Johnny Johns’ mother was La.oos Tiaa, kaax’anshi or Maria Johns, married to Tagish John. Maria had two brothers who were named Tl’uku and Kult’us but there is no information on them.
Since the 1896 murder was not investigated and the murderers’ names were not recorded it would seem that in this case, they got away with murder. Then, two years later, on May 10, 1898 the Nantuck brothers take retribution for past occurrences, which presumably had to do with the white powder incident – or maybe something else.
North says that Johnny Johns’ family may have instead been referring to the 1896 murders.
An interesting thought might be that the two miners who murdered the brothers could possibly be the same two miners that the Nantucks shot in 1898.
The Nantuck brothers’ testimony seems confused, as written up in “Essays in the History of Canadian Law: British Columbia and the Yukon” by John McLaren and Hamar Foster which is viewable online. It was generally accepted that the Canadian government was trying to understand the issues involved in cases involving First Nations people and that they were beginning to rethink the previous frontier justice actions.
This week the remains of Dawson and Jim Nantuck were re-interred after they were identified in Dawson after accidentally being dug up during a construction project last summer. The Dawson cemetery is seen above.

Henry Havelock Norwood

Captain H.H. Norwood was born in 1859 in Berwick, Nova Scotia. He arrived on October 8, 1897 in Skagway with Zachary Taylor Wood and Walsh of the NWMP. Captain Norwood had spent time on the Arctic Whaler “Balaena” with the famous Japanese explorer Jujiro Wada.

Norwood taught Jujiro Wada to speak English, nautical skills and navigation. Wada made good use of these skills during a long adventurous life in Alaska.

The photo above might be Capt. Norwood with Jujiro.
Norwood sold some lucrative claims in the north and retired to San Francisco, California and died in 1917 in Sonoma.

the Pullen taxi

A nice early photo of Harriet Pullen on her wagon. Imagine being picked up from your cruise ship by this conveyance and transported to your hotel on 7th.

Ladies climbing up cliff

This is a scan of one of my personal photos taken around the turn of the century. Unknown date and people. I believe it was taken in Washington State. I love the expression on the middle lady’s face!

William Henry Chase

William Chase was a “self-taught” doctor who was here in Skagway during the meningitis epidemic. I’m sure the doctors here could use all the help they could get. “Dr.” Chase then went to Cordova where he was elected 14 terms to Mayor.
He was a prodigious author: “the Sourdough Pot”, Burton Pub. Kansas City 1923; “Reminiscences of Captain Billie Moore” in 1947 and “Pioneers of Alaska” in 1951. He was a delegate in 1932 to the Republican caucus. He died sometime after that.
The image above is probably not his, but who knows?

Pennington page 330.

Alfred Cyril Hirschfeld

Mr. Hirschfeld was born on this day June 8, 1866 in London, England. He came to Dyea and Atlin in 1898 and took many famous photographs including one of the goldrushers heading up the Golden Stairs.
He worked the Alaska and Klondike towns in 1898 and moved to Atlin by April 1899. Hirschfeld’s Atlin photo studio, seen above, was destroyed in the August 1900 fire. He purchased an Atlin Claim in December 1900 and sold it the following year. He was also the manager of the Atlin Lake Lumber Company that year.

Hirschfeld married and settled in Vancouver, but appears not to have practiced photography professionally there. He died on November 8, 1926 in San Francisco, California.

Cameraworkers website; BC archives.

AB Hall renovation

Locals will remember the winter that Jeff Mull took down the facade of the front of AB Hall and then replaced the back board and then cleaned and replaced the driftwood front. This photo was taken of the temporary structure and plastic sheeting which helped to keep him out of the weather during the work. The wood was coated with Cabot’s bleaching oil and so when the project was completed it all looked lighter than before.

Albert B. Towne

Albert Towne was born on this day, June 7, 1842 in New York. He seems to have passionately wanted to be a soldier! Although he joined the military almost as soon as the America Civil War began, it appears health reasons-most likely chronic asthma- caused farmer Town’s initial enrollments to be short lived.
However, by persistently reenlisting he, four units and three service arms later, successfully completed the War. Along the way his name was noted not only as Albert B. Town (the spelling used by the veteran on post war documents, but also Albert B. Towne and Albert S. Town. Whether these changes were conscious attempts to conceal previous enlistments or merely clerical errors is not known.

Following the War the 6’2” blue eyed Town returned to Michigan, married and resided in Monterey and Grand Rapids Michigan before moving to Washington state and then ultimately to Skagway, Alaska.
It is hard to grasp that there were several members of the Grand Army of the Republic that lived in Skagway. He worked as a baggageman for White Pass on Moore’s Wharf.
On June 14, 1914 this “minister of the gospel” was dead from a sudden bout of cerebral apoplexy (stroke). At passing the 76 year-old former cavalryman/infantryman/artilleryman was receiving a $25 per month in Civil War pension. He is buried in the Snohomish GAR cemetery.

1905 directory, 1915 directory; rootsweb; Civil War vets of Washington State online.