George Johnson was born about 1875 probably in Alaska. He was a packer to the railroad camps along the White Pass line in 1898-1899. He was described as being half Native.
On January 2, 1899 May Burke witnessed the shooting of George by Jesse Rounds, a prostitute at White Pass City because George was harassing her.
(This location, along the White Pass route about half way to the top of the pass, is now owned by the National Park Service, but there have been no plans to do anything with the area.)
Six months later, May Burke was arrested at the Summit for “disturbing the peace”. Apparently these railroad camps were lively places.
George died on this day, January 4, 1899 and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.
A wild Discouraging Mess, page 70; Skagway coroners inquest
The brothers Krause were born in 1848 and 1851 in Konopath, Westpreussen, Preussen or what we would call Poland today. They were noted Anthropologists who explored the Chilkat and the Chilkoot Passes 1881. They spent the winter of 1881-82 at Haines, studying the Chilkat for the Geographical Society of Bremen and then wrote “To the Chukchi Peninsula and to the Tlingit Indians: A Scientific Expedition Carried Out by Aurel and Arthur Krause in 1881/1882”. Aurel also wrote “The Tlingit Indians: results of a trip to the Northwest Coast of America and the Bering Straits” published in 1885, translated by Gunther in 1956. Unfortunately this did not have much effect on general knowledge since it was in German. In this 1885 account he describes Lake Arkell (or Kusawa) as an early trade route between coast and interior used by the Chilkats. By 1887 George Dawson said that the use of this route was declining by Tlingit traders because the journey from the coast to the head of the Takhini was so difficult. They began using the Chilkat Trail even though it was longer, yet less dangerous. I looked these up in the Alaska Atlas and was amazed at these routes which were not only longer but crossed several glaciers. No wonder they were more dangerous, there were stories of men falling into crevasses on those routes. It is easy to see on a map why the Chilkoot trail from Dyea became so popular.
The Krause research was not only the earliest but some of the most comprehensive accounts of Northwest coast cultures before they were significantly changed by European contact.
Aurel died in 1908 and Arthur died in 1922 both in Berlin.
The Yukon, London 1898 p.378; Yukon places & names, Coutts; Thornton p 286; Life Lived Like a story, page 369. Under Mount Saint Elias: The History and Culture of the Yakutat Tlingit, by Frederica de Laguna SMITHSONIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO ANTHROPOLOGY VOLUME 7
I happened to see a photo of the Wheeling online and wondered what it was, as it looked a bit different than the other ships.
Turns out it was a little U.S. warship that was sent around the Pacific to intimidate locals.
In October 1897 it arrived in Hawaii and gave the Hawaiians quite a shock, until they learned that the President had sent it with important communications for Admiral Miller, in command of the naval forces at Honolulu and Mr. Sewall the U.S. Minister.
Six months late, in March of 1898, Governor Brady was on his annual inspection of the Alaska ports aboard the Wheeling.
After leaving Dyea they sailed to Hoonah and found the local community all inflamed about a recent homicide and subsequent intentions to make the mother of the 6 year old child who had supposedly committed the murder pay up in blankets. Governor Brady told the local tribe that they could not do that anymore. At Yakutat he found another case of a witch hunt that nearly killed three people. To reinforce his word, he had Captain Sebree practice the guns of the Wheeling as an object lesson.
Governor Brady said that the trip had “done much good for the Natives as they dreaded a gun boat more than anything else.”
Shortly thereafter on July 25, 1898 it was reported that Canadian sealers were raiding the rookeries of the islands of St. Paul and St. George. Stationed at Unalaska, the gunboat Wheeler certainly had her hands full patroling the entire Bering Sea.
On January 26, 1911 there was a report that the Wheeling had suffered an explosion while enroute from New York to Cuba. She must have survived that because in 1915 she was at the ready in Haiti when President Wilson was having some problems with Mexico. That article mentions that the entire Atlantic fleet of 21 warships was at the ready.
Seems the little Wheeling got around!
The Morning Herald March 23, 1898; Evening Post, January 26, 1911; Clinton Mirror, March 13, 1915; The Philadelphia Record, Sept 25, 1897.
Alice was born in September 1897 and died on this day November 16, 1898 and is buried in the vicinity of the Slide Cemetery with a large marble marker. She was only a year and two months old. The marker also is for presumably her 11 year old brother, John J. Mason who died the following June. Although there are other Native Masons buried nearby, there is no record of their family. Seen above is the marker, courtesy of Mike from findagrave.com.
“Spanish Pete” was born in 1857 in Noya, Spain and came to Skagway in the gold rush. He worked as a mail carrier in Dyea in 1900 but had came to Alaska in 1896. In 1903 he beat up Joe Lee, a Tlingit native because he lived next door. The Daily Alaskan article from April 28, 1903 reported that “Spanish Pete had beat up an Indian named Joe Lee on April 27 at Dyea after he discovered Lee near a house that the Indian had recently purchased but which Pete considered his own….Spanish Pete regards Dyea as his own private preserve and resents visits from Skagway as an invasion of his rights. When Lee denied Pete’s ownership and refused to vacate the property, the latter struck him with a four-foot club which he continued to wield vigorously until help arrived.”
Thomas Thornton states in his ‘Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment’ on page 211: “Native families who had traditionally harvested and smoked fish at Dyea returned to their camps to do so, often complementing traditional subsistence harvesting with cultivated gardens. However, some returnees were intimidated by whites attempting to exercise control over the area.”
The Lee family lived in Haines but had a smokehouse along the river in Dyea where they would smoke coho and dog salmon. They would also gather highbush cranberries there on the flats where it was much easier to collect than in the brush. Coho salmon eggs were mixed with gray currants and cranberries to make kanigul (“paint”) a local delicacy. The Lee family would also cut birch to sell to the railroad for fuel.
1900;Klondike Nugget 6/10/1900; Thornton page 211
I can’t resist posting this sweet family portrait of Minnie Moore 1874-1916 (Mrs. Ben Moore or Lingit Sai-yet) and her three children taken in 1898. In his book “New Indians” unpublished, 2010, Dan Henry says that she was scorned by local Skagway women and her “half-breed” children were taunted by classmates. In 1906 they moved to Victoria. I will post the names of the kids later when I get them.
J.B. Moore Collection