Creamer family in Dyea

The Creamer family posed for this picture in front of their nice log home in 1898 in Dyea. Left to right: Frances, Charles N. holding Genevieve, Charlie, Mattie, Mary Jane pregnant with Marion, and Tessie. The family moved back to Tacoma in 1899 but C.N. went on to Fairbanks. Later, in 1905, Charlie helped his dad drive cattle overland from Circle to Fairbanks for Waechter’s Meat Market.

Klondike – Pioneer Rediscovery 1998 reunion book.

Daisy Mason

A new photo of the headstone in Carcross Cemetery of Daisy Mason, daughter of Skookum Jim Mason. She studied drama in San Francisco. Later, she had to sell her house to pay for her dad’s funeral. I will post her dad’s headstone tomorrow.

All of the graves in Carcross are surrounded by little white picket fences. Located on the shores of Lake Nares just south of the bridge in Carcross, this cemetery is seldom visited but has some of the most famous people of the Yukon. If you do decide to visit please be respectful as it is a First Nations Historical Site.

photo by Reed McCluskey

Polly the Parrot

Although I have blogged about Polly before with a real picture of her, here is a picture of her gravestone. They claimed she was born in 1850 and died in 1972 but I have a hard time believing that. Since she was just a bird she did not have a birth certificate to prove she was born then, but who knows? She lived in the Carcross Bar/Hotel from 1918 when left there by the owner who died on the Princess Sophia. I talked to some folks who remembered her and said she was green and said naughty things, but they could not remember what exactly…..

photo by Reed McCluskey

List of Lawyers

Here is a list of 59 lawyers or attorneys in Skagway in the early days:

Acklen, Adams, Agner, Barnes, Bennett, Blackett, Bowman, Boyce, Burton, Carrier, Cassidy, Church, Corliss, Dautoff, Day, Dixon, Dillon, Elliot, Erwin, Goldschmidt, Grant, Gunnison, Hall, Hamilton, Hartman, Harding, Hartners, Helmcken, Hills, Jennings, Knapp, Lightfoot, Lilly, Lovell, Marquam, McEneny, Miller, O’Donnell, Ostrander, Paulsell, Perkins, Pratt, Price, Rasmuson, Sehlbrede, Shackelford, Shorthill, Shoup, Smith, Stevens, Taylor, Tupper, VanHorn, Webb, Weldon, Wilcoxen, Williams, Winn, Young.

Most had some other profession such as retail, lumber, teaching, hospitality, secretary, tax collection, judgeship, mining, hay & grain and engineering. Some worked for Soapy (Van Horn, Weldon, Dixon, and O’Donnell) and some worked for White Pass (Elliott, Harding, Cassidy, Hartman, and Helmcken).

Seen above is a likely set of characters.

List of Ships

In the Victoria Daily Colonist for Wednesday March 30, 1898 there was the following article which listed many ships that were traveling up and down the Inside Passage.

For those of you who follow the sinkings and near misses, this had lots of good information:


The Steamer “Scotia’ has a Close Call in the Waters of the Taku Inlet

“Hermosa” Breaks her shaft on her initial Trip – “South Coast” reported lost.

The early spring in the north, hailed with so great delight by the eager Klondiker, has set the iceberg fleet in motion sooner than usual. In consequence, while the journey to the Lynn Canal is invested with a new element of fascination and spectacular grandeur, shipmasters view with alarm the white flotilla as an added menace to the life of the small craft in the Klondike trade. Acco4ding to Captain Roberts, of the City of Seattle, which has just completed the fastest round trip ever made between Victoria and the north, two steamers at least have already come to grief, while grave apprehension is expressed concerning others.

When the Seattle visited Juneau on Saturday morning last she found there the 133 ton Puget Sound steamer Scotia, which was being discharged in haste for the purpose of going on the beach to repair, and leaking badly the while. She had been up-bound, loaded to the guards and in charge of Captain Johnson, and had traveled on Friday afternoon past a procession of bergs. During the night, while in Taku Inlet, she collided with one, despite a sharp look-out striking the silent mass of ice with such force that her stern fared badly. It may be days before she is able to proceed.

Later on Saturday, the Seattle passed the San Francisco steamer Hermosa, Trelethan master, which had come to grief while homeward bound and light, having completed her initial trip to the Lynn Canal. She had had the misfortune to break her shaft, and was anchored at Wrangell Narrows, awaiting the coming of an American tug to complete her interrupted trip. At Ketchican on Sunday it was learned that the steamer George W. Elder had been ashore on Mud Bank for twelve hours the previous day, but had got off unaided, and without injury.

At Ketchican, too, the Seattle’s officers heard t he rumors that the little steamer “South Coast” – another of Puget Sound’s contribution to the coffin ship fleet – had been lost above, neither confirmation nor details being obtainable, although the storekeeper said that he had heard the little steamer had been crushed by an enormous berg. The South Coast was a housed-in, wooden steamer of fair size, and left the Sound, up-bound, something more than a week ago.

The City of Seattle saw nothing and heard nothing of the Utopia, which left Seattle heavily freighted on Sunday week; nor the Alice Blanchard, the latter having continued her trip to Copper River. Nor was the little steamer Mist sighted on the voyage, although the Romona was passed at 4:30 Monday morning, having just got through Seymour Narrows.

Of the talked-about shipping in the north, the old bark Canada is said to be slowly but steadily settling in the water near the mouth of the river, abandoned by all having interest in her. The North Pacific is expected to make but few more trips between Lynn Canal and the Sound, her summer mission being to maintain communication between Juneau, Dyea and Skagway.

The Seattle, which spent all yesterday in port for inspection, could well afford the time, her just completed trip having been the fastest ever made between Victoria and northern ports. Incidents of the run down, as related by the log are as follows: March 25, passed steamer Thistle; at 7:46 stopped in answer to signals, at Berner’s Bay, and received on board a man who had fallen down the side of the mountain. He was badly injured and was landed in Juneau for hospital care. At 5:10 p.m. passed the steamer George W. Elder, bound up. On March 26, met steamer Navarro, north bound; also passed gasoline steamer Bessie K. bound south; met steamers Del Norte, Farallon and Tees, bound north.

March 27: passed tug Wallawalla with Yosemite in tow; also tug with the bark Colorado, bound up. March 28: met tugboat with three-masted schooner and scow, also steamers Centennial, Oregon, Lorne (with Richard III.), Romona and Al Ki.

seen above is a drawing of the San Pedro, a famous shipwreck in the Inside Passage in 1891.

Kate Carmacks

I have blogged about Kate Carmack (or Carmacks as it is on the headstone) before. But this weekend while we were traveling up the road, we stopped at the Carcross Cemetery and photographed the headstone which I don’t believe is found anywhere else.

photo by Reed McCluskey

John Hicks

On November 17, 1898 the Steamship Utopia caught fire while en route from Seattle to Skagway. During the excitement, John Hicks from Tacoma jumped overboard and everyone thought he had drowned. But Hicks managed to hold onto a capsized lifeboat and survive in the freezing water for 24 hours until the boat floated to Kake Island. He then wandered around for 8 days looking for some habitation until he returned to the beach to lay down and die. But no, he did not die there, as several local natives found him and took him to the local missionary, the Rev. Dr. Moon. Moon put him in a canoe to take him to Wrangell where he could receive proper care. But before they reached Wrangell poor Mr. Hicks died and Moon buried him on the beach.

Seen above, the Steamship Utopia was built in Seattle in 1893 and was captained by the famous Capt. “Dynamite Johnny” O’Brien. It was owned by the Alaskan Steamship Company until 1903 when it was acquired by the Puget Sound Navigation Company.

NY Times December 13, 1898; A Moment in the Sun by McSweeney online; Wikipedia

Skagway Churches in 1898

Despite the stories of murder, prostitution and robbery, there were also quite a few religious centers in Skagway in the 1890’s. Here is a list:

Fathers Tosi, Robaut, Seghers, Gougis, Rene of the Catholic Church

Rev. C.J. Larsen of the Norwegian Danish Methodist Church

Rev.’s Young, Dickey, Grant, Thwing, Pringle, Sinclair, Turkington, Cock of the Presbyterian Church

Bishop Bompas and Rev.’s Ridley and Rev. Richard John Bowen of the Anglican Church

Rev.’s Lyon, Carter, Howard, Cameron, Stuck, and Wooden of the Episcopalian Church

Ministers Dowell, McGill, Ellery, Kenny, Aitken, Ross and Booth of the Salvation Army

Rev.’s Jorden, Latourette, and Clevinger of the Baptist Church

Rev.’s Ulery, Kline, Tooley, Yorba, Barnett of Peniel Mission

Rev.’s Leach and Yokum of the American Episcopal

Missionaries Mr & Mrs White in Dyea in 1888

Independent Preachers Green, Williams, Mortimer, Gardiner, Sehlbrede, Leaman, Wright, Kiernoff, Warrens, Weavers, Rega, and Tourney.

I have found no reference to synagogues or Buddhist centers, but who knows?

Hope I haven’t missed any! I have written blogs on several people, but some disappear after the gold rush. I am reminded of Ray McKinnon’s wonderful portrayal of the real Rev. Henry Smith in the HBO series Deadwood, seen above.

many sources

Cheechako money

William Hiscock related that one day while walking in Dawson City he saw a man throwing silver coins out into the river. Someone had just purchased goods in his store and paid in Cheechako (silver) money. “He said nothing but would have preferred the gold dust currency so he calmly takes the money and walks out to the bank of the river and disposes of it, so that it will not come into the shop again.”

Hiscock said that everybody carried their gold dust in a small buckskin bag and when a purchase was made in any of the stores, large or small, you poured the gold into a small tin scoop and then shook it in to a small set of gold scales. The amounts for convenience were dollars and cents stamped on the weights.

At the time gold dust was worth about $16 an ounce. Today gold is in the $1750-$1800 range per ounce. Seen above is a fellow paying for a loaf of bread with gold dust.

A Kiwi in the Klondike by Hiscock; Yukon archives.

Lewis Grant Brower

Mr. Brower was from Skagway although I can find no other record other than that he died during World War 2 and was buried in the Sitka Military Cemetery on this day, August 8, 1944. Perhaps he died in combat, but that is just a supposition.

The Sitka National Cemetery is one of the smallest national cemeteries and until World War II, was the only one west of the Mississippi River. It had its beginning in the days immediately after the transfer of Alaska to the U.S. from Russia, when various military units were stationed in Sitka and the present location was taken over by the military as a “Military Cemetery”. The oldest burial is December, 1867.

Skagway Death Records; Sitka Cemetery Records.