Regie’s potatoes

Reginald Genn was born in 1873 in England. When he was 14 he ran away from home and went up the Niger River in Africa where he came down with “Black Fever”. Fortunately a passing ship took him back to England where he apprenticed to his uncle on a sailing ship at age 17. He went around Cape Horn twice, the second time he jumped ship in San Francisco and made his way to Victoria where he met up with his sister and brother.
He worked there as a clerk, then moved to Trail, British Columbia where he ran a bakery restaurant and laundry. He staked some gold claims in 1897 in B.C. and with a bit of money in his pocket headed to Seattle where he purchased a sail boat with two Norwegians and then bought 30 tons of Yakima potatoes to use as ballast for the boat. That cost him $90. When he arrived in Skagway he sold the boat and sold the potatoes for $100 a ton. “All that glitters is not gold,” he used to say.

By June 1, 1898 he was at Tagish where he got a Canada Free Miner’s Certificate. A month later he was staking gold claims in the Klondike.
By 1905 he had returned to Victoria where he married and then set out for New Zealand to start a chicken farm, but when they arrived he changed his mind and they returned to Victoria. By 1908 he and his wife and son returned to Glasgow Scotland where he tried to convince relatives to emigrate to Canada. By 1911 they had returned to Victoria. Reginald Genn died on May 7, 1953 in Victoria and is buried at the Royal Oak Burial Ground.
The photo above is of Regie with his 1929 Coupe in Victoria.

Pennington; rootsweb Genn family website.

Capt. Wilds Preston Richardson

Captain Richardson got around! He arrived in Skagway in 1902 with the 9th Infantry.
He was originally sent to build Ft. Seward in Haines as an army engineer. He was also a Captain on the Yukon river and a Major for the Alaska Board of Road commissioners. He was a General in the Infantry Brigade in World War I in France and Russia.
The “Richardson Highway” is named for him. In 1900 he wrote “Relief of the Destitute in the Gold Fields, a compilation of Narratives of Explorations in Alaska, (Senate report 1023, GPO).
Richardson was born in 1861 in Texas and died on this day, May 20, 1929 in Washington D.C.

1905 directory; Navy history website; “Duty Station NW” by Lymon L. Woodman

Frederick Funston

Fred Funston was too short to get into the United States Military Academy in 1884 (he being only 5 feet 5 inches tall). But that did not stop him, he went to the University of Kansas worked on the railroad, as a reporter and then developed an interest in the sciences. Working for the Department of Agriculture, he came to Alaska in 1893 and described crossing the Chilkoot Pass with the Smithsonian expedition:
“we…divided our goods into seven packs and engaged five men and two women to carry these loads to the summit of the pass… The Indians supported the loads on their backs by the aid of deerskin bands, passing across the forehead. Several children carried on their backs light loads, consisting of food and cooking utensils for the use of the Indians, while two of the dogs also wore packs.” from Over the Chilkoot Pass to the Yukon, Scribners, November 1896.

After leaving here he joined the Cuban Revolutionary army and fought for independence there – see him in the Cuban uniform above.

Funston later fought in the U.S. Army in the Phillipines in the Spanish American war of 1898. For his bravery he was awarded the rank of Brigadier General of Volunteers and the Medal of Honor. Fort Funston in the San Francisco area is named for him. On this day, February 19, 1917 while relaxing in the lobby of a San Antonio, Texas hotel, Funston was listening to an orchestra play The Blue Danube Waltz. After commenting, “How beautiful it all is,” he collapsed from a massive painful heart attack and died. He was 52 years old.


Jack Dalton

Jack Dalton had a very long and very interesting life. He was described by a woman in Haines as “a dapper, well-dressed, ladies man”. He is best known for opening up the “Dalton Trail” out of Haines.
He ran a hotel in Haines in 1896 and later arrested Jack Wade for murder, but also was himself jailed for shooting a shopkeeper McGinnis. He was later acquitted.
He was mentioned in the 1903 AK Boundary Tribunal by Don-a-wak, chief of the Chilkat Indians. In 1886, Jack signed on as roustabout and camp cook with the Schwatka-New York Times expedition to climb Mt. St. Elias. The party began their ascent at tidewater in Icy Bay on July 17, 1886. They traversed rugged terrain for twenty-five to thirty days, crossed fast coastal rivers, and reached an elevation of about 5,700-feet before Schwatka’s health failed, which terminated the first recorded attempt on the difficult mountain.
Dalton is featured in the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation website.
Born in 1856 in Michigan, he died in San Francisco on December 15, 1944.

Hudson Stuck

This famous mountain climber started out as an Episcopal Archdeacon of the Yukon. His party climbed McKinley in 1913 and he later wrote “Voyages on the Yukon and its Tributaries” and later “Ascent of Denali”. He died of pneumonia in Ft Yukon on October 11, 1920 when only 55 years old. He was born in London England in 1865.

Capt. Bogardus Eldridge

Capt. Bogardus Eldridge came to Skagway in December of 1897 with the 14th Infantry. He was commanded then to find a route from the Yukon to the Tanana River in 1898. When he left Alaska, he went to the Phillipines where he died in battle on this day, October 2, 1899.

He is buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Josiah Edward Spurr

Happy Birthday to Mr. Spurr, a famous geologist who came to Alaska and the Yukon to explore in 1896 and his geology papers and books were used by many in the goldrush to help find gold.
Mount Spurr volcano in Alaska, the mineral spurrite, and the lunar crater Spurr are all named after him. In this old photo Mr Spurr is in the center.

Frederick Schwatka

Happy birthday to Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka born on September 29, 1849 in Galena Illinois, one of the first white men to cross the Chilkoot Trail.

He went to West Point in 1867 and later by studying law and medicine received degrees in both law and medicine. He then served in the military in the Dakota Territory.
In 1878-1880 he made a trek to find the lost Franklin Expedition. He said it was “the longest sledge journey ever made both in regard to time and distance” of eleven months and four days and 2,709 miles. It was the first Arctic expedition on which the whites relied entirely on the same diet as the Inuit.

In 1883, he was sent to reconnoiter the Yukon River by the US Army. Going over the Chilkoot Pass, his party built rafts and floated down the Yukon River to its mouth in the Bering Sea, naming many geographic features along the way. At more than 1,300 miles, it was the longest raft journey that had ever been made. In 1885 he wrote the Report of Military Reconnaissance in Alaska of his trek in 1883.

He died in 1892 at the age of 43 from poisoning or overdose in Portland and is buried in Salem.