Amazing Race

Mssr. Lelouvier entered the great race of automobilists from New York to Paris on January 30, 1908. He decided to race his Werner Car and for kicks, drive across the United States then take it on a boat from Victoria to Skagway. Then on the railroad to Dawson and down the Yukon River. Then he and his two companions would go across the Bering Strait, across Siberia and Europe.
I wonder if they made it Skagway?
Anyway, off to the Soapy Wake!
I think I hear the theme from “Those Amazing Young Men in their flying Machines”…

New York Times, January 31, 1908.

Henry Havelock Norwood

Captain H.H. Norwood was born in 1859 in Berwick, Nova Scotia. He arrived on October 8, 1897 in Skagway with Zachary Taylor Wood and Walsh of the NWMP. Captain Norwood had spent time on the Arctic Whaler “Balaena” with the famous Japanese explorer Jujiro Wada.

Norwood taught Jujiro Wada to speak English, nautical skills and navigation. Wada made good use of these skills during a long adventurous life in Alaska.

The photo above might be Capt. Norwood with Jujiro.
Norwood sold some lucrative claims in the north and retired to San Francisco, California and died in 1917 in Sonoma.

Heywood Walter Seton-Karr

Mr. Seton-Karr was born on this day, June 2, 1859 in Belgaum, India. He became a famous artist, explorer and “archaeologist” and came to the great Northwest in 1886. He kept a wonderful diary in which he sketched scenes such as the one above of Lynn Canal. It looks like Skagway with the jagged peaks behind.
Seton-Karr “discovered” the Altsehk or Dalton Pass near Haines. He died in 1938 in Paddington, England.

The Alaskan of June 28, 1890; Alaska State Archives.

Magnetic Pole at Skagway

In 1903 Professor Samuel Jackson Barnett of Stanford University stated that his extensive studies with USGS on the coast in the Skagway area determined that there is a magnetic pole here!
Reported in the Philadelphia Record:
“The party made a special investigation in the peculiar magnetic disturbances which have made navigation difficult in certain localities. Near Skagway the disturbances are very severe the deflection of the needle being so great that the compass is rendered almost useless in that vicinity. It was found that this strange state of affairs was due to the abundance of magnetic rock in the locality. This rock is present in immense quantities on Douglas Island and on the mainland and near Skagway. Professor Barnett says that there was almost a perfect magnetic pole at that point.”

Hmmm, a perfect vortex of inestimable value!

Philadelphia Record, September 12, 1903

William Ogilvie

Ogilvie was born on this day, April 7, 1846 on a farm in Gloucester Township, Ottawa of Irish and Scottish immigrant parents. After learning the skill of surveying, he worked locally as a land surveyor. Later he qualified as a Dominion Land Surveyor and was first hired by the Dominion government in 1875. From 1887 to 1889, Ogilvie was involved in George Mercer Dawson’s exploration and survey expedition in what later became the Yukon Territory. With the packing help of Skookum Jim Mason, along with George and Kate Carmack, he surveyed the Chilkoot Pass, as well as the Yukon and Porcupine rivers. Ogilvie established the location of the boundary between the Yukon and Alaska on the 141st meridian west.

During the Klondike Gold Rush, he surveyed the townsite of Dawson City and was responsible for settling many disputes between miners. Ogilvie became the Yukon’s Land Surveyor and Commissioner to the Yukon Territory between July 5, 1898 and March 1901 when he resigned due to poor health.

He later wrote “Early Days on the Yukon” published in 1913. He died November 13, 1912 of poor health in Winnipeg.

“The Yukon Territory”; Wikipedia

Angelo Heilprin

Professor Heilprin was born on this day, March 31, 1853 in Hungary. He was a naturalist, geologist and author. His book “Alaska and the Klondike: a journey to the New Eldorado, with hints to the traveller” and his book “The Dial” were both written in 1899 and are found online. The first book (online) has some nice photos of Skagway in 1898 that I have not seen before. Seen above is the professor.

He died in 1907 in New York City.

1880 census in NY; online bio; Hunt p 46

Henry Mason Sarvant

Henry Sarvant was born in 1860 in New York. Immigrating to Tacoma in 1889, he had a long and varied life, working as a pioneer Tacoma civil engineer as well as serving for several terms as mayor of the town of Steilacoom. He made many trips to Mt. Rainier and made the first extensive surveys of the region. According to records kept by Mr. Longmire, on an expedition made in August 1892 with Mr. J. K. Samble, Sarvant was one of the first 11 people to reach the summit of Mt. Rainier. He led P. B. Trump’s party on several of the early climbs to the summit. He also worked for the Washington Geological Survey party of Mt. Rainier, and he named many of the lakes, glaciers, and peaks in the park. Later on, a series of glaciers on the northeast slope was named after him. Here he is pictured on a glacier on Mt. Rainier in 1896.

In 1897 Sarvant traveled to the Klondike region, where he worked as a surveyor and located a successful mine, earning enough gold to fund his later business and farming ventures. He followed one of the more popular routes through Dyea and over the Chilkoot Pass. It was not easy-during the winter months heavy snow and ice made the trip dangerous and difficult, and in the fall and spring travelers had to contend with thick, unending mud. He was also a photographer of the Gold Rush. Sarvant’s Klondike photographs were taken between August 1897 and November 1901. They chronicle his trip up to the Klondike at the beginning of the Gold Rush through Dyea and over the Chilkoot Pass to Dawson.

He died on this day, March 9, 1940 in Yakima Washington.

Univ. of Wash. library online.

Mary Ellen/Elizabeth Higgins Hitchcock

Mary Higgins was born on this day March 1, 1849 in Baltimore Maryland or Virginia or Brooklyn, New York. In any event she was from a very wealthy family and married U.S. Navy Commander Roswell D. Hitchcock in 1871. He died in 1892 leaving her a bored and wealthy widow.
She was an eccentric writer who came to Alaska three times with her friend Edith Van Buren (grand-neice of President Van Buren), the last in 1899. Later that year she wrote a book entitled “Two Women in the Klondike” of her adventures with Edith and their two great dane dogs, Ivan and Queen, a dozen pigeons, two canaries and a parrot. I have read this account of their hardships (having to wait all morning for the warm water for their manicures) and having to discipline the insubordinate “servants” that they encountered. It would be funny except that I’m sure that their fellow travelers were not amused.
When they finally got to Skagway on their way south, they stayed at Brannick’s Hotel that had a 4-poster bed with spring mattresses, sheets and pillowcases.
They went to an oyster bar for dinner (beer, ten cents) and took the City of Topeka steamer south the next day.
She had her portrait done with Ivan, seen above. She felt she had endured great hardships, and told stories of her adventures back in Amityville, New York where she died in 1920 at the age of 71.

nytimes article 8/22/1899;; Two Women in the Klondike by Hitchcock.

George B. Goldschmidt

What does the Arctic Brotherhood have in common with the Titanic?
The answer is George Goldschmidt. Born in New York on October 16, 1840 he came to Skagway in February 1899 on the ship City of Seattle with 10 other men, who, on their way to Alaska decided to form their own secret society for good fellowship and brotherly love: The Arctic Brotherhood. However, he does not show up later on any of the later membership rolls, he was a man on the move!
Here is his obituary from the New York Times:
“George B. Goldschmidt, lost in the sinking of the Titanic, was one of the oldest members of the Bar Association, having become a member in 1870. He was born in this city in 1840, admitted to practice in 1882, and was one of the best-known conveyancers in this city. Mr. Goldschmldt served in the Twenty-second Regiment, N. G. N. Y., at Harper’s Ferry and in the Gettysburg campaign, and was afterward Major in the Fifty-fifth Regiment, N. G. N. Y. He was a member of the Union League, Army and Navy, New York, Lotos, Hamilton of Brooklyn, and North Woods Clubs and of the Museums of Art and of Natural History.”
He boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a first class passenger (ticket number PC 17754, £34 13s 1d). He occupied cabin A-5. Goldschmidt died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

Alaska Weekly article by Moore 1931; family search; NYTimes April 20, 1912

George Gordon Cantwell

George Cantwell was born on this day November 5, 1870 in New York. He was a birder and wrote articles for the ornithology publications. He collected and photographed specimens and later wrote both popular and scientific articles and books. He wrote the “Report of the Operations of the US Revenue Steamer Nunivak on the Yukon River 1899-1901” in 1902, published by United States Printing Office, Washington D.C.

When Hegg’s Dawson studio was devastated by a fire, it was rebuilt in November of 1898 and George G. Cantwell joined the staff in Dawson to assist with outside photographic work.
In 1913 he wrote the screenplay for a silent movie called “The Golden Heart.” It is the story of a young gold miner meeting a young woman in the mountains, staking a claim and marrying her. Unfortunately, the Library of Congress holds only a five minute remnant of the last known print of this film.
Seen above is a picture of Cantwell (on the left smoking a pipe and scrubbing a pan) camping on the Yukon river.
He died in March 1948 in Los Angeles or Palms California.

wrote “Birds of the Yukon Trail” in 1898; The Klondike:a souvenier in 1901; CA death record; online records