Alfred Hulse Brooks was born on July 18, 1871 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from Harvard in 1894. He loved geology and exploring and so, in the gold rush, came to Alaska. He photographed many communities including Skagway – all of the photos are at the Yale Library Collection (which is odd considering he went to rival University, Harvard).
In 1898, the federal government announced a systematic topographic and geologic survey of Alaska that would include renewed exploration of the Brooks Range. Brooks, as new head of the Alaskan branch of the USGS, called the project “far more important than any previously done,” due in large part because it “furnished the first clue to the geography and geology of the part of Alaska north of the Yukon Basin.” Between 1899 and 1911, six major reconnaissance expeditions traversed the mountain range, mapping its topography and geology and defining the patterns of economic geology so important to prospectors and miners. He is credited with discovering that the biggest mountain range in Arctic Alaska was separate from the Rocky Mts. The range was named for him – The Brooks Range.
He served as chief geologist for Alaska for the United States Geological Survey until his death in 1924. Every year from 1904 to 1916 and from 1919 to 1923, Brooks wrote summaries of Alaska’s mineral industries. The missed years, during World War 1 were those that he spent in France as chief geologist for the American Expeditionary Force in France. He died on November 22, 1924 and is buried in Washington D.C. at the Oak Hill Cemetery. I love the inscription on his grave:
Wikipedia; findagrave; Hunt, “NPS Golden Places,” page 56.
The first automobile to drive in Skagway was in April 1900. That was when Count de Lamare came to Skagway with his three wheel automobile and another one. He was a Paris correspondent and brought his cars north to gain publicity for his writing. He was president of the Auto Club of Paris and an enthusiastic autoist. They presumbably took the train to Bennett where they set out on the lake. The three cylinder engine could go a remarkable 58 kilometers per hour but the other one with 5 horse power could only attain 26 kph. They were both gasoline engines and they carried along a sled with spare parts. Unbelievably they made it to Atlin in 5 days, gave rides there and then headed to Dawson!
The trip proved to be very difficult and they abandoned the vehicles somewhere in the Klondike. Still, their travel in the North where there were no roads was marvelous. The Count and his traveling companion Mary Hitchcock, traveled 1000 kilometers, in the late spring where they encountered icy and slushy conditions.
The little vehicle is seen above. No wonder the traveling party was so small….
from: Atlin – the story of British Columbia’s Last Gold Rush by Christine Frances Dickinson and Diane Solie Smith.
Last weekend we went to Atlin, it was beautiful. Stayed at the Brewer’s Bay Chalet which, although clean and plain has a million dollar view of the lake and snow covered mountains. After walking around town in the rain, we visited the Atlin Cemetery and photographed this curious monument to Harper Reed, gentleman adventurer. Have not been able to find out anything more, if anyone knows, please leave a comment.
Robert Kennicott was born in New Orleans on November 13, 1835. In April 1859, supported by the Smithsonian Institution, the Audubon Society of Chicago, and the Hudson’s Bay Company, he set off on an expedition to collect natural history specimens in the subarctic boreal forests of northwestern Canada in what is now the Mackenzie and Yukon river valleys and in the Arctic tundra beyond. Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders in the area liked him and so Kennicott encouraged them to collect and send natural history specimens and First Nations artifacts to the Smithsonian. He returned to Washington at the end on 1862. With the Civil War in full play in 1862-64, Robert and his younger brother lived in the Smithsonian Castle along with Edward Drinker Cope and other noted naturalists.
He traveled across the Unalakleet portage to Nulato over the winter of 1865-1866 with Charles Pease and 2 Canadians, Frank Ketchum and Michael Lebarge.
In 1866, Kennicott failed to reach Fort Yukon, where he expected to meet another party from the Frazer River. One story says that this failure so preyed on his mind that he took a dose of strychnine. Other reports state that he died of a heart attack, but in any event we know he died on May 13, 1866. His remains were returned to the Kennicott Family plot in Glenview, Illinois at The Grove, which is a National Historic Landmark.
To commemorate his efforts on behalf of science, the Kennicott Glacier, Kennicott Valley, Motor Vessel Kennicott, and the Kennicott River were named after him.
Alaska and its Resources by William Healey Dall; The Dyea Trail January 19, 1898; Wikipedia.
Fred Harte was born in 1839 in Northern Ireland and came to the Yukon in 1873. His party, with Arthur Harper, George Finch and Kinseller reached Fort Yukon from Canada by way of the Mackenzie, Peel, and Porcupine Rivers through the Chilkoot Pass in 1873. This well documented party is perhaps the first white party to cross the Chilkoot Pass. Harte later worked with McQueston and Mayo. All of these men were trappers who searched for furs but were at the beginning of the mining era when gold was discovered in the Yukon. All of these famous early explorers can have their own story told, but here we are celebrating Fred Hart. He was one of the charter member of the Yukon Order of Pioneers and served as the first Secretary for the Y.O.O.P. He died in November 1898 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Dawson. Seen above are some members holding the banner in Dawson.
In June of 1869, after retiring, Seward began his vacation to Alaska with a railroad trip across the country on the – then barely one-month-old – transcontinental railroad. He saw buffalo and Indian camps and visited Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. He then visited Sacramento and San Francisco.
Seward boarded the steamship “Active” as a guest of Ben Holladay (a California businessman) to visit the Chilkats up Lynn Canal. The ship visited Seattle and Victoria B.C. and then arrived in Sitka near the end of July. When they got to Klukwan or the port we now know as Haines, by coincidence, there was a U.S. government survey team also in the area to view a rare total eclipse of the sun. The party had timed its visit with the Chilkats to coincide with the eclipse. The Chilkats referred to tourists as “Boston Men” and assumed that Seward was the “Great Tyee” of the Boston Men. Obviously there had been men from Boston who had visited earlier but they were doing business presumably and were not casual tourists as the Seward party was in 1869.
When Seward returned to Washington D.C. he praised Alaska and said it was impossible to exaggerate Alaska’s physical treasures such as its rivers and its wildlife and noted that its untapped mineral and forest resources will make Alaska a “shipyard for the supply of all nations.” How prophetic!
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.
Mosier was born in 1866 in Des Moines Iowa. He attended Iowa State School of Engineering at age 16 and graduated in 1885 at age 19. He worked for railroads in Iowa until he moved to Seattle in 1888. The Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern hired him to work on the route near Snohomish. He went to Alaska in 1896 to report on a disputed waterway, but got involved with the gold rush and stayed, surveying from White Pass to Skagway, working for Captain Gaillard (who we looked at a couple of days ago).
The route that the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad takes today is a result of his survey in 1897.
In 1898, Mosier went to Dawson by way of St. Michael and the Yukon and spent ten years in the Klondike and adjacent territories, making his mark as one of the most successful drift miners in the region.
He returned to Washington in early 1924 just before his wife died, and he never returned to Alaska. Albert was a U. S. Deputy Mineral Surveyor and a U. S. Deputy Surveyor in Alaska in 1914. He died on this day, December 8, 1955 in the town that he platted: Sedro Wooley, Washington.
Seen above in his 80’s still using his surveying equipment.
Skagit River Journal website; glosurveyorsnotes.pdf; webpage on him as Washington pioneer.
David Brainard was born in 1856 in Norway, New York. On Sept. 13, 1876, 19-year-old David Brainard left home to travel to Philadelphia and view America’s first successful world’s fair, the Centennial Exposition. After taking in many marvels of the Machine Age, Brainard boarded a train for home. At New York City, he changed trains and reached into his pocket for money to buy a ticket, but there was none. Too proud to write his family for funds, Brainard took the free ferry to the US Army Post at Governor’s Island and joined the Regular Army. He didn’t know it, but David Brainard was on his wasy to becoming one of those rare individuals in military history who rose from Private to General by pulling himself up by his bootstraps.
When Brainard joined the Army, it had been only three months since Custer’s command was mauled at the Little Big Horn, and in no time, Brainard was sent to Montana Territory, to serve with the Second Cavalry against the Northern Cheyenne and Sioux Indians. The square-jawed Brainard was a keen soldier, who firmly believed orders clearly issued should be obeyed.
On May 7, 1877, Brainard participated in the Battle of Little Muddy Creek against the Sioux under Chief Lame Deer, and suffered wounds to his right hand and a gunshot wound to his right cheek, affecting his eye. Over half a century later, in 1933, he received the Purple Heart for his injuries.
He was a Captain in the 14th Infantry when he arrived in Skagway in February 1898. Captain Brainard was appointed Purchasing and Disbursing Officer of the Alaska Relief Expedition and was based in Dyea. Brainard’s relief expedition was intended to address the “sufferings” of the Dawson miners during the Alaskan Gold Rush, but they found the miners well supplied and needed no relief. He is most famous for being the last survivor (in 1935) of the United States’ Lady Franklin Bay Expedition (1881-84), an ordeal of unimaginable hardship. Only six survivors were rescued in 1884 after being stranded in the Arctic for two years in the harshest conditions.
Brigadier General Brainard died at the age of 90 on March 22, 1946 in Washington D.C. and is buried in Arlington.
military rec; ipy.org bio; “Duty Station Northwest” by Lymon L. Woodman