Clara Hanna Richards

The first Postmaster (then called Postmistress) was appointed in 1897 in Dyea by President McKinley. That, curiously was a 51 year old woman who came up to Alaska from Boise, Idaho. Clara and her brothers Daniel and Arthur Allen Richards were from a large family. The 8 kids were all born in Middleburg, Ohio to their farmer father and mother, but they had moved to Idaho sometime in the late 1800’s. When the three siblings got to Dyea, Arthur Allen was appointed Deputy Marshal and Daniel was involved in some business.

The real story here was the scandal involving the Dyea post office. While Clara no doubt was working as hard as she could, the post office was a 14X20 cabin that by all accounts was deplorable. On most days the line stretched far and away with 300-400 men hoping to send and receive mail. Clara’s rule was that no man could ask for mail for any more that 2 people. So if a guy came down to get mail for his 8 companions, it would take him all day to get mail. The amount of mail going North from Seattle was stupendous: 8 steamers full per month docked in Dyea. One steamer alone carried 4000 pieces of mail.

Some men wrote to the Postmaster General in Washington that her volunteers were charging 10 cents a letter to patrons. Clara was accused of slackness and inefficiency as well as graft. It was charged that Clara knew about this, but she countered that it was impossible to do the job without additional funds and assistance from government officials in Washington. So the line stretched for hundreds of feet every day. Seen above is the Dyea post office, but I could not find a photo of Clara.

Clara Richards never married and died on December 28, 1928 at the age of 81 in Boise. She is buried in the Morris Hill Cemetery.

Jackson Family website; familysearch; a Marcuse letter of July 6, 1901 called the “Weekly Philatelic Era”; Klondike Saga: The Chronicle of a Minnesota Gold Mining Company By Carl Ludwig Lokke

Worick’s bookstore

This photo of John H. Worick’s Bookstore in Dyea shows that he was also a real estate agent. The sign at the right says
“For Sale:
Lot with 2 tory house Price $1500-
Cor(ner) lot on Trail 50 X100 ft. $350-
Cor. lot on Main St 24 X 100 Price $250-
Lot with house on river $375-
Lot 25 X 100 on Main St $150 (?)
T.L 8 (?) Cookstove $15
Lot 50 X 100 on Main St. $1250
Lot 25 X 100 on Main St $600
20 DOGS for sale cheap
leave orders for freighting to Sheep Camp
Tent 18 X 60 (?) feet
Lot on River St 50 X 80 with log house
25 ft. lots (?)”
Presumably that is Mr. Worick standing to the left, slightly out of focus, no doubt ready to run to his next deal…..say, that house on the river for $375 sure sounds tempting….

John H. Worick was born February 18, 1846 in Stephenson, Illinois to a big family, he was one of 13 children. He stayed in Dyea into 1899 and then must have returned to the mid-west where he died January 25, 1911 in Greenleaf, Kansas.

Obituary of his father in 1903 in Monroe Weekly Times; rootsweb family information;

The Queen of Alaska

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.

Jefferson “Red” Saling

Jeff Saling was born on this day, September 1, 1845 in Missouri. He came from Idaho with his two cousins Erwin Mickey and Wiley Anderson to Skagway. However the avalanche of April 3rd 1898 caught Jeff and he was one of the victims buried in the Slide Cemetery in Dyea.

Over the past 113 years, some of the headboards may have been replaced, but in any event, the headboard is wrong according to one descendant. It reads Jeff Saley from Weiser, Idaho but should instead read Jefferson Saling from Mann Creek Idaho. It would seem that his cousins would have given his home town since they were here, it is unlikely that someone here in 1898 would have come up with a name like Weiser.

The spelling of Saling could have morphed due to the lack of upkeep on the headboard.

So here is a perfect example of how unreliable wooden headboards are.

I have often thought that the descendants should be the keepers of their ancestors’ graves and markers. For the municipality to replace all 700 grave markers in the Gold Rush, Pioneer, and Slide Cemetery would be an expensive and difficult process. Fortunately, the descendant is considering making a new headboard as Marshal Rowan’s great granddaughter did last summer. She replaced it with a beautiful and completely appropriate marble marker which the city workers installed.

Seen above is the current marker.

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.

Floating Cottages in Dyea

After the big earthquake in 1903, apparently the beaches in Dyea were shifted in such a way that the tide came in a mile further than before. This caused some of the abandoned cabins and cottages to float away.
The New York Times of July 6, 1903 reported that some “Chilkat Indians …were picking up these cottages and floating them to shore between Dyea and Pyramid harbor. The chief of the Chilkats required the braves who had retrieved more than one, to share with the less fortunate of the tribe.”

New York Times July 6, 1903.

Edgar H. Wilson

Wilson was a very early businessman in Dyea. He and Healy ran a trading post in the 1880’s. Wilson was born in 1842 and was married to Katherine or Kittie Brown and had a 6 year old son and girls Gladys and Ethyl, newborns, when he died, on this day, May 20, 1895 in Juneau. Kittie and family stayed on at least until 1900 and then must have moved on.
Seen above is the Healy and Wilson trading post as photographed by Anton Vogee on Decoration Day (Memorial Day) 1898.

Cohen; AK Searchlight obit 5/20/1895

McCafferty and See

On this day, April 10, 1898 two men in Dyea died of tuberculosis. John McCafferty was from Montgomery County, Missouri and was described by his friend, William Thomas Painter in a letter: “John McCaferty was a big strong man. Went to Alaska in the Gold Rush 1898, most likely died on the Chillcoot Pass (where many failed to get over the terriable mountain) never heard from.”
The other man who died, Thomas E. See was also from Montgomery County Missouri and they traveled together from Missouri. From Mr. See’s obiturary: “…It seems that they died of an influenza peculiar to that climate. Mr. See was a brother to R. E. See, Marshal of the Missouri Supreme Court.” Everett Barton was a County Clerk and he traveled with both See and McCafferty. Seen above is the photo of that party. (Mr. See was 32 years old, McCafferty was 37. So See is probably the fellow on the lower left.)
Here is part of Barton’s journal:
“Our party, four in number, Lee Gregory, Thomas See, Frank White and myself left Montgomery City, August 9th, 1897, to embark on a journey of thousands of miles fraught with many hardships and dangers, passing through and making changes at Kansas City, Mo., Billings, Montana, on to Seattle, Washington, where we purchased our outfit and boarded the steamer City of Kingston, which plied the waters known as the Inside Channel extending north.”
Barton later mentioned McCafferty being part of the party:
“The toll from our county alone, being Thomas See, John McCafferty, Charlie Nebal, Mr. Frank Purcell who met his death at Seattle, also a Mr. Watson who died soon after reaching his home in Callaway county. As one Writer has said in writing of the many deaths in the early gold mining in Colorado. “Many with folded arms and rigid faces were consigned by strangers to hill-side graves with no child’s voice to prattle its simple sorrow, no woman’s tears to be-dew their memory”. Charlie Nebal or Nebel was 24 and died on the Chilkoot Pass also, but there is no record of his burial.

The Dyea Trail said that both See and McCafferty were buried in the Dyea Cemetery.

Dyea Trail: March 12, 1898: website:
Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma, 23 March 1898

Gone Postal 1898

William Steele was the postmaster in Dyea and had quite alot to deal with in 1898. Not least of which was Mrs. Sarah Rowley who attempted to shoot him because she thought he had stolen their goods.

Although she was arrested for the attempted murder of postmaster Steele in Dyea on June 12, 1898, she was later released on insanity. She and her husband, H. Campbell Rowley worked as packers on the Chilkoot Trail. They had lost their outfit when the SS Corona went down, and then their replacement outfit was also lost.
No wonder she went crazy!

When I worked at the Skagway Post Office in 1998 I encountered a number of irate and irrational people at the window who also thought I was hiding their mail. I remember one man who could not believe that his package, sent from Florida the day before, was not in Skagway since it had been sent priority! Another local man would scream at us if his Wall Street Journal was not in his box at 8 am, despite the fact that mail arrives by small airplane, and in huge bags, and weather permitting. So we would upend all the mail, look for his paper and make a special delivery to his box to avoid the commotion. Well all those postal workers that I worked with are retired now and the screaming man – well he died shortly thereafter of hypertension as I recall…..

New York Times 6/17/1898; Skagway Museum Record

Ernest Raphael Cheadle

Ernest R. Cheadle was born in 1860 in Albany Oregon. In 1880 he was working as a laborer in El Cajon, California.
Married Melinda Julia Hearn in 1889 in Sacramento, California and had two kids, Ernest Jr. and Bessie. He and Melinda Julia divorced in 1896 in San Francisco.
He came to Alaska and built the Cheadle Hotel and Restaurant in Dyea in 1898. He was also appointed the Dyea U.S. Marshal from June 10, 1898 to November 29, 1898.
Although he was living in Dyea, Alaska, he went to Seattle on February 2, 1899 and married Nellie Ada Hewitt. She presumably died because he then married Sylvia Jurinda Smith, a Swedish gal from Utah on November 2, 1903 and had two more kids. In 1910 he was living in Seattle, Washington with his 4 kids and Sylvia and working as a real estate person. Ernest Cheadle died on June 8, 1921 in Seattle, Washington.

Pictured above is another cozy hotel in Sheep Camp.

S.F. Call online; Washington State Records; Skagway Museum record; Rootsweb for King family;