November 19, 1863

Gettysburg address by President Lincoln.
The address given at Gettysburg by Mr. Lincoln was only 35 years before the Gold Rush that hit Skagway with thousands of hopefuls. Some of these goldrushers would remember the date just as we might remember what we were doing in 1987! It doesn’t seem so long ago really.

Mr. & Mrs John H. McIntyre

I recently saw this Case and Draper photograph of Mr & Mrs McIntyre online. John was a postal carrier for White Pass on November 28, 1902 when he drowned in Atlin Lake. This according to an account by Graves in his book “On the White Pass Payroll” and also on a Rootsweb posting. His grave is in the Atlin Cemetery – Findagrave # 78004440

Anders Beer Wilse, photographer of gold

Seattle based photographer caught many cool images of people coming and going to the Klondike from the docks. Here in this picture from the Elmer A. Rasmuson Library collection at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is a picture taken in July 1899 of nearly $4 Million in gold dust packed into crates. Labeled as the Royal Canadian Force Collection, note the Mountie on the left. Everyone looks sooooo serious!

McDonald’s Section Gang for White Pass at Carcross

This photo is displayed at the Visitor Center in Carcross.

I took this photo last year when I visited the Carcross Visitor Center. It is interesting that it shows 4 Sikh workers there in 1906. They were part of a White Pass & Yukon Route Section Crew. I do not have any more information on them, but if anyone has more to add, please add a comment.

George Grant Shaw “I am in here to get all I can”

George G. Shaw was born in Long Lake, New York on July 15, 1872.  At the age of 15 he started working as a guide to sportsmen in the Adirondacks. In 1894 he went to Seattle and was thus poised to head to the Klondike in the Gold Rush of 1897 with two fellow goldrushers, Clem Frazier and Alvin Cook. They arrived in Skagway and headed up the Chilkoot trail with thousands of others. They made it to Dawson and made a claim but when he arrived back home, he had little to show monetarily, but a wealth of stories for his family. He traveled across Alaska by himself and took a whaling schooner to Siberia. He married in 1920 and passed away in 1958 back in Vermont.

I purchased the book today at a Farmer’s Market and will happily sell it to anyone who is interested. $15 plus shipping.

Capt. Charles John Bloomquist of the Sophia

In the midst of the 1918 Influenza epidemic and World War One, another big marine disaster occurred in the cold waters of the Lynn Canal.

Capt. Charles John Bloomquist was a passenger on the night of the grounding of the Sophia. The story of the Princess Sophia loss on October 24, 1918 in a blinding snowstorm, has been well documented, with a number of White Pass employees onboard heading back to Victoria for the end of the season. One report in the Daily Colonist on November 3, 1918, stated that only 2 of the victims drowned, the rest suffocated in the crude oil spilling from the ship.

I was curious to know a bit more about the Swedish Captain Bloomquist. He was born in 1867 in Stockholm, Sweden and came to Canada in 1883. He lived with his wife, Catherine at Shawnigan Lake, a small farming community 28 miles north of Victoria. He was listed there in the 1909 directory of Vancouver Island, also he kept a room at the Dominion Hotel in Victoria.  He left behind 4 sisters but no children.

He had worked for 20 years on the boats in the Yukon. He was the master of the White Pass Steamboat Dawson.  Before that he had worked for the Canadian Government on the Quadra and the Sir James Douglas.

The Princess Alice brought many of the bodies back to Victoria on the 12 of November 1918. On November 15 he was buried in Victoria with the Victoria Columbia Masonic Lodge as pallbearers. Rev. F.A.B. Chadwick gave the service. Catherine is buried with him at the Ross Bay Cemetery, she died November 27, 1969 at the age of 92! Here is a picture that Anne Scott made of the grave in Victoria! Posted on Find A Grave for this story – Thank you so Much Anne!!!

 

from the Daily Colonist October 29, 1918

Thomas Marshall Word Jr.

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I have received enquiries about Thomas Marshall Word Jr. or Tom Word from a woman who purchased historic photos of the Word family at an estate many years ago. She contacted me because she intends to put them up for sale on Ebay, which is great, so that everyone who is interested can have a chance to acquire them. It was several years ago that I was doing some research on him, but apparently I never wrote up the story. I quote here from Jeff Smith on his Soapy Website:

“For a few years now I have been exchanging interesting e-mails with Fred Wood, a great-grandson of Skagway’s Thomas Marshall Word. If Fred and I are correct Word is the man who acted as the go-between for Soapy and the vigilante’s after John Fay shot and killed Deputy U.S. Marshal Rowan and Andy McGrath. Word was involved in the hunt for the gang after Soapy had been killed and came real close to becoming famous as the man who captured the three top gangsters, Bowers, Foster, and Wilder. Hours later he was one of the guards protecting those same three bunco steerers locked away on the third floor of the Burkhard Hotel. Tom Word twice aided in keeping a blood thirsty vigilante mob from orchestrating a wholesale slaughter and that’s something his g-grandson can be proud of.”

Jeff has an excellent write up of the information that he has gathered here:

http://soapysmiths.blogspot.com/2010/03/tom-word-skagway-vigilante-1898.html

Anyway, for those of you who are interested, below and above here are a couple of photos of the photos.IMG_0200[1] IMG_0201[1]

Ernest J. Matthews

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The other day I was at an estate sale in Skagway and picked up this old postcard. After doing a little research I found that the author was indeed related to Bud Matthews who recently passed away here in Skagway.

Ernest J. Matthews was born about 1893 in Idaho. He married Catherine A. Lowe from Utah and they moved to Skagway around 1924 when their first son was born, James, known to everyone here as Bud.

Before they moved to Skagway however, they went to St. Michael’s, Alaska and apparently opened a Bakery Store there. Pictured above in the postcard is Ernest and Catherine. Ernest wrote this little card to Catherine’s brother, Lynn Hardy Lowe who lived in Salt Lake City. At the time it was written, 1920, he was about 7. Sadly Little Lynn died in 1925 from appendicitis. (My own son had a ruptured appendix at age 7 and how lucky we are today that surgery and an excellent hospital in Albuquerque saved his life.)

The card is signed E.M. and was written on December 7, 1920.

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