James Wesley Young

Mr. Young was an integral part of the Skagway community at the turn of the century. He was born on August 15, 1853 to a large family in St. David Parish, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada. He was assistant to Erastus Corning Hawkins, the White Pass Chief Engineer.

Young was also the proprietor of the 5th Avenue Hotel by 1904 (see above photo) and the chief agent for the Great Northern Railroad in Washington.
Young died on this day, March 26, 1905 of pneumonia in Dawson, Yukon. His wife, Emma had died 3 days earlier in Dawson. They left behind a daughter, Edna.

family chronicles; photo of 5th Ave hotel on p.58 of “Skagway District of Alaska, building the Gateway to the Klondike” by Spude, NPS; Minter; Hunt; Pennington; genealogy.com

Frederick Trump

Well Happy Birthday to Frederick “Fritz” Trump (Drumpf) the grandfather of Donald. Born in Kallstadt Germany on this day, March 14, 1869, he came to Skagway and then built the New Arctic Restaurant and Hotel at Lake Bennett in 1900. He sold the restaurant and returned to Germany where he married and then returned to Queens, New York.
He died too young, in 1918, of the Spanish flu in New York. The money he made at Lake Bennett helped to build the Trump enterprises.


Ross Starner

Mr. Starner was the owner of the Colorado Pack Train bar. He was from Ornby, Colorado born there in 1865. He was a member of the Knights of Pithias when he accidently shot himself on March 6, 1898. Now there is a grave designated with his name in the Gold Rush cemetery, but there is also the possibility that he was shipped away.
In those days, it was very important to people to have their bodies brought home for burial instead of being buried in some God-forsaken place like Skagway. So, the answer was to join a fraternal organization such as the Eagles, Masons, Knights of Pithias or the International Woodmen of the World. As a member, the organization promised to have your remains shipped home.
The Victoria Daily Colonist reported that the shooting happened on the Dyea trail as a result of the discharge of his own revolver, and that Deputy Marshall Rankin also had a bullet in his leg from a similar accidental discharge. Seems like guys then could have benefited from a gun safety program.

Skagway Death Record; Victoria Daily Colonist March 16, 1898.

Deadly Hotel Fire in Dyea

On this day in 1898 there was a fire in Dyea. The Every One’s Home Hotel and the adjoining saloon and dance hall there burned at night. Although 20 people were sleeping there, 4 people did not make it out as reported by the New York Times on March 10, 1898. The dead were identified as Bert Meeker of Portland, a man named Russell and two unidentified men. It was also reported that a woman’s body was recovered, but Mrs. Bert Meeker escaped as reported by the Dyea Press on March 12, 1898 and was staying at Murray’s.

New York Times March 10, 1898; Dyea Press March 12, 1898.

Peter Edward Kern

On this day February 8, 1937, Peter Kern died in Tarrant County, Texas at the age of 76, being hit by a train while taking his morning walk.
Kern originally came to Skagway from El Paso Texas in 1897 and worked as a jeweler, designing the original logo for the Arctic Brotherhood – the gold pan with nuggets.
He was one of the original members of the Arctic Brotherhood. He was also involved with the Home Cable Company one of the original Tramway companies – there were several.
Born in New Ridgel, Ohio, he married Antoinette Sommer here in Skagway on May 21, 1902. In May of 1908 he built the famous Kern Castle on the hillside overlooking Skagway. Sadly it burned a few years later in 1912.
Peter and his wife and daughter left Skagway in 1910 and moved back to El Paso where he constructed Kern Place a unique and historic neighborhood located about one mile north of the downtown area.

Construction began on Nov. 21, 1914. Earliest construction began on Cincinnati Street, and by 1917 about 40 homes had been built. Though urban today, when Kern Place was built, it was on the edge of the desert and was well removed from the populated areas of El Paso.

The entrance to Kern Place was a lively arch built in 1916 and was designed by Pete Kern.

from: www.kernplace.org/forum and other sources

George Clement Stanley

Happy Birthday to George born January 13, 1873 in California, maybe Albany where he had relatives when he registered for the World War One draft. He was a painter and a paperhanger here in Skagway in the 1920’s, and in 1920 he was living at the Golden North Hotel. He died here in 1925, possibly in the Golden North (ghosts anyone?) and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.

The picture above is the memorial that used to be at Inspiration Point along the train tracks, dedicated to the pack horses on the trail of ’98. The picture was taken in 1967, I’m not sure if the marker is still there or not.

Charles Henson Meadows “Arizona Charlie”

“Arizona Charlie” had a dance hall in Dyea in the goldrush. He also had a saloon at Stone House and then a Grand Opera House in Dawson. He was born in Visalia California in 1860. Charlie was tall, dashing, and flamboyant. He wore a flowing moustache and long hair, in the manner of the Wild West showman he was. He had a dozen careers and a thousand schemes. Occasionally, one paid off. He prospered during the Klondike gold rush. Charlie’s Grand Opera House, now called the Palace Grand Theater, is a landmark in downtown Dawson City. He was a legendary sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
He apparently bled to death on this date, December 9, 1932 in Yuma Arizona while operating on his own vericose veins w/pocket knife.

lots more on Charlie at Wickenburg-az.com; Frank Norris 1986 article

Martin G. Itjen

Martin Itjen died on this day December 3, 1942 in Skagway. Born in 1870 in Germany, Martin was a showman who promoted Skagway in many ways. He arrived in Skagway in 1898 as a stampeder. He later worked as a White Pass laborer, he owned a transfer business, was an entertainer, owned the Bay View House hotel, and was even an undertaker.

In 1935, as a great publicity stunt, Martin took his “street car” to Hollywood to promote Skagway tourism. He called on big screen starlet, Mae West, to “come up and visit him sometime.” His image of standing in front of his bus with Mae West is the most famous image.

He is buried in the gold rush cemetery next to a large gold-painted boulder which is chained down.

A fellow bloggist has lots more info on Martin’s family:

Bessie Geraldine Gideon

Bessie and Edwin Gideon built and owned the Caribou Hotel in Carcross (home of Polly the Parrot).
They lived there for many years and Bessie died on October 27, 1933 on the third floor. It is said that she still haunts the hotel (does Polly sit on her shoulder?). The Hotel is undergoing a complete re-modeling after the murder of the latest owner a few years back, and should re-open soon.
Edwin had died in 1925 and is buried in the Carcross Cemetery, supposedly so is Bessie.
Bessie Trusty had married Edwin Wallace Gideon before 1898 according to a Gideon family website.

John Jerome Healy

On this day, September 15, 1908, John Healy died down south in either San Francisco or Seattle. Healy was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1840, emigrated to the U.S. in 1853 during the great famine. He married in New York in 1863.

He was once boss of a whiskey fort on the Montana-Canadian border w/ partner Dickson(the fort was burned by Indians). He was also sheriff of Cocteau County, Fort Benton Montana in 1880 (see census for kids and wife Mary).
He died a rich man according to Pierre Berton, having come to Dyea and establishing a trading post there with Wilson in 1886. The Healy and Wilson Trading Post lasted for many years in Dyea as there were stampeders before the big gold rush in 1897/98. In 1886 he had 16 stores in Alaska. He also served as U.S. Marshal in Dyea.
The town of Healy, a village on the Alaska railroad, a river flowing into the Tanana River, a rock on Admiralty Island and a locality near Yukon Kuskokwin Delta are all named for him.

He is buried in Seattle.

from: Healy; Greer; Hunt;Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Dan Thrapp; A descendent says there is a biography of him written by Edwin Tappen Adney. It is currently lodged in the Naval college in New Hampshire.