“Swiftwater Bill” Gates, or Charles H. Gates was born in 1855 in Minerva New York. He was working as a boatman in Idaho in 1896 when he decided to go to Alaska. He and some partners leased “Thirteen El Dorado” which later paid out and made him a millionaire. Enjoying his new wealth, he would walk the streets of Dawson in top hat, white shirt and jacket (and said to bathe in champagne). He apparently loved women and gambling. He had the hots for Miss Gussie Lamore in Dawson and offered her her weight in gold to marry him. She however spurned him, and was seen in the restaurant with a new boyfriend ordering fried eggs – the most expensive item on the menu. So, to get even, Bill bought up all the eggs in Dawson and fed them to dogs, in another version fed them to the other dance hall girls. Miss Gussie loved eggs and so he hoped to get her attention. Apparently it worked as she offered to meet him in San Francisco and marry him (despite already being married). He married her younger sister, Grace, then divorced her and remarried and divorced several times in the next few years.
Swiftwater Bill was known to be at the gold fields of Nome, Alaska at the same time as William H. Gates I, grandfather of the Microsoft founder. However, despite the similarity in name and coincidences of geography, there is no apparent family relationship between “Swiftwater Bill” and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
In any event, some versions say that in 1933 he went to Peru and was mining silver there, when on this date, February 13, 1933 he died in mysterious circumstances, perhaps murder…..another account says he was murdered on February 21, 1937 and still another that he died of pneumonia following surgery back in Neillsville, Clark County, Wisconsin on February 13, 1933.
In any event, he certainly lived an exciting life.
Seen above with Joe Boyle-left, “Swiftwater Bill” on the right.
Source: Neillsville Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 16 Feb. 1933 obituary of “Swiftwater Bill” Gates.
Never stand behind a horse.
Emilie Fortin was born on January 4, 1872 in Saint-Joseph-d’Alma, Quebec. When she was fifteen, her family emigrated to Cohoes, New York where she met Nolasque Tremblay whom she married on December 11, 1893. In 1894 she claimed to be the first white woman to have crossed the Chilkoot Pass, but was actually the fourth after Bell Healy, “Dutch Kate” Wilson, and Bridget Mannion who we met yesterday.
The couple spent the winter in Miller Creek in a little log cabin. That year, Émilie decided to invite the miners to share their Christmas dinner. On the menu was stuffed rabbit, roast caribou, boiled brown beans, King Oscar sardines, dried potatoes, butter and sourdough bread and prune pudding. Her reputation quickly spread throughout the Yukon. In the spring, Émilie and her husband made a garden on the roof of their cabin and harvested an abundance of radishes and lettuce. After a trip south, they came back by the Chilkoot pass in the middle of the Gold Rush. In 1906, they travelled in Europe for four months. Until 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Tremblay walked from one mining claim to another in the Klondike. Later, they settled in Dawson. She opened a women’s clothes store that is now an historic building.
Émilie Tremblay was a very courageous woman who distinguished herself by her social involvement and her devotion to others. She was the founder of the Ladies of the Golden North, President of the Yukon Women Pioneers and a life member of the Daughters of the Empire. The numerous medals that she received and some of her souvenirs were placed in the Saguenay Museum in Quebec. She was godmother to 25 children in addition to raising the daughter of her sister who was a widow with 9 children to feed. Émilie kept open house for travellers, missionaries and widows. Msgr Bunoz called Émilie the “mother of the Klondike missionnairies”. During the war, Émilie knitted 263 pairs of socks for soldiers, in addition to the ones she gave as gifts.
Her husband Jack died in 1935 so she visited her family and friends in Quebec and the United States.
She spent the last years of her life in a retirement home in Victoria, B.C.
Émilie Tremblay died on April 22, 1949, at the age of 77. In 1985, to commemorate her exceptional devotion to others, the authorities named the first francophone school in the Yukon École Émilie-Tremblay.
She is seen above.
Yukon Government website celebrating women in the Yukon; franco.ca; Gates; Acadian roots.com
Now here is not the way an engine should be….J.D. True in the foreground.
Bridget Mannion was born on February 1, 1865 in Rosmuc, County Galway, Ireland. She emigrated in 1885 to St. Paul, Minnesota. Bridget worked as housekeeper for Seattle Pioneer Henry Yesler, before settling in Chicago, where she became cook to the wealthy family of Portus B. Weare, head of the North American Trading and Transportation Company which operated merchandise and transportation facilities in the Yukon. In 1892 her employer held a dinner party for Captain John J. Healy, another Irish born adventurer and his wife Bella. Whether it was the prospect of becoming wealthy or her innate sense of adventure, Bridget became determined to go to Alaska and persuaded the Healy’s to offer her a job as Mrs Healy’s maid. From the Healy trading post in Dyea, she moved up to the Yukon. By the winter of 1894-95 there were only twenty eight white women living in the Yukon amongst one thousand men. Unsurprisingly, Bridget received 150 proposals of marriage before she had got fifty miles up the Yukon, but it was Edward Aylward who would capture Bridget’s heart.
Edward Alyward was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland in November 1849 and emigrated to the US in 1867. He went mining for gold in Alaska in 1884 and in 1894 he met Bridget at a Yukon River Trading Post and convinced her to marry him. Their wedding was the first ever held in Fortymile, about 150 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Around 1900, Bridget and Edward left Alaska with their fortune and moved to live on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. A Seattle newspaper dated 3rd September 1896 carried an article about Bridget calling her the ‘Queen of Alaska’.
Edward died on 29th March 1914. He is buried in Seattle’s Calvary Cemetery. Following the deaths of her sister and a friend, Bridget longed for home. She acquired property in Rosmuc and eventually returned home to Ireland in 1948.
Bridget died at her beloved Turlough, Rosmuc, County Galway in January 1958, just weeks short of her 94th birthday. She is buried with her mother in Cill Eoin graveyard . Even in death her generous spirit lived on, and apart from bequests to family, neighbours and the local church, she set up a trust fund for the education of local children.
This Case and Draper photo of the train in 1905 shows how much of the landscape was “scalped” for building and firewood. I don’t know exactly where this was, somewhere on the other side of the pass in Canada.
On July 24, 1897 the Juneau Searchlight reported that a Mrs. Ed Lord claimed to be the first woman to climb the White Pass as she got off the Steamship Rustler. I believe that she was not married to Edward Eldridge Lord (born July 9, 1874) who traveled with his brother Joseph Lord (born July 31, 1864) of Hornitas, Mariposa County, California and maybe David S. Lord another brother. I think there was a mixup in the reporting and she was actually Clara Latchaw who was married to Joseph. They were part of a large family in Hornitas. Their father Samuel had come to California in the gold rush from England. So, despite the fact that they had two small children, they may have left them with family in California while they went to the Yukon.
Joseph’s obituary stated that he spent a year and a half in Alaska during the 1898 gold rush.
Edward died in 1957, Joseph in 1939, David in 1949 and Clara in 1960 – all in Fresno, California. Joseph and Clara are seen above.
Rootsweb; Yukon genealogy; familysearch; California death records; Juneau Searchlight
From July to September 1890 John Muir and his friends toured Glacier Bay. Dr. Henry Platt Cushing did the meteorological, geologic and botanical studies on the trip. He was a prominent geologist who taught at Western Reserve University . He was joined by his collegue Dr. Henry Fielding Reid of the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, Ohio. (Today these two universities are combined to be Case Western Reserve University).
Their students were:
Comfort Avery Adams, who had just graduated from Western University with a degree in mechanical engineering and later taught at Harvard for 45 years in electrical engineering.
R.L. Casement of Plainesville, Ohio.
Mr. James H. McBride later physician at CalTech.
John F. Morse (presumably taking the photo) who later was a physician in San Francisco, but died at the age of 40 in 1898 there.
In 1890 Muir’s health was poor and he suffered from snow blindness. He expressed irritation with the “stream of tourists habitually snapping their Kodaks and asking naive questions, and with the haste at which they ceased gazing at glaciers whenever a dinner bell sounded.” However, like many tourists today, Muir returned to Glacier Bay in 1899. All of his friends later had glaciers named for them.
Happy Birthday to Bernard M. Behrends born on this day, February 6, 1862 in Bavaria, Germany and emigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1878. He came to Alaska in 1887 and worked for James Brady who would later be governor of Alaska. He married Margaret Virginia Pakle in 1889 in Sitka. She was a teacher and missionary at the Sheldon Jackson school. Sheldon Jackson performed the marriage ceremony. They moved to Juneau and opened the store in 1892 and his daughter Beatrice was also born in 1892 in Juneau. He then opened a bank about 1914. He and Margaret died within months of each other in 1936 in Juneau. Seen above is his store in Juneau. His store appeared in the 1902 and 1905 directories here in Skagway, but someone else managed it. Behrends Avenue in northwest Juneau is named for them. Seen above is the interior of the store.
Kinyradio placenames; 1902 and 1905 directories; Evergreen cemetery records.
On June 6, 1900 the U.S. Congress passed the Alaska Penal Code which provided for a tax to be collected on certain trades and businesses in Alaska. This tax was to fund local governments in the territory. Mr. Wynn-Johnson represented the Moore Wharf (seen above) which of course preceded the law. He decided to ignore the new law which required a license for the wharf. He was then arrested in 1902 by Marshal Shoup. Wynn-Johnson refused to post bail and instead sued the Marshal and the U.S. Government saying that his incarceration was unconstitutional based on the fact that the license and taxes were also unconstitutional. His reasoning was that the U.S. Government did not impose such taxes anywhere else and that Alaska was singled out. Further that such tax and license laws in Alaska were in place already. Section 8 article 1 of the U.S.Constitution reads:
“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and pay for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States.”
In 1904 the U.S. Supreme court ruled that the law was legal and that 1/2 of the money collected from licenses and taxes would go to local schools. The remainder would go into the U.S. Treasury.
Presumably Wynn-Johnson did alright because he then sold his house and moved to the Alkali Ranch in British Columbia.
The lawyer that represented him, George C. Heard, died not long after, on June 6, 1906 in Skagway. Below is the link to the legel language of the law, if anyone cares to interpret it better than I have, please be my guest!