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.


Henry Lewis Hulbert

Henry was born on this day, January 12, 1867 in Kingston-upon-Hull England. He was the first born into a prosperous family. He attended Felsted School in Essex, and entered the British Colonial Civil Service, with his first appointment in Malaya. While in Malaya, he married Anne Rose Hewitt. A subsequent personal scandal and divorce resulted in Hulbert leaving Malaysia and arriving in the United States.

Like so many others, he came to Skagway in 1897 and called himself a miner. Soon after, at age 31, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on March 28, 1898. He completed his boot camp training at Mare Island, California.

On April 1, 1899, Marines from the U.S.S. Philadelphia went ashore at Samoa in the Philippine Islands, with Royal Marines from two British ships, to intervene in a dispute between two tribal leaders over succession to the Samoan throne. The Marines were ambushed, and Private Henry Hulbert was one of three Marines and one Navy Gunner’s Mate to earn Medals of Honor for their heroism in the engagement precipitating withdrawal of the unit. Private Hulbert was cited for “distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy”.

Subsequently in World War One, he distinguished himself at the Battle of Belleau Wood, Soisson and the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge,where he was killed in action on October 4, 1918 at the age of 51. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. Captain Hulbert is buried in Arlington Cemetery.

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Henry L. Hulbert (DD-342), named in his honor, was christened on June 28, 1919, and commissioned and put into service in 1920. The destroyer was moored in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and brought down a Japanese torpedo bomber. The Hulbert was decommissioned in 1945.

from various online sources

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.

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; Frank Norris 1986 article

Godfrey Otto Chealander

Mr Chealander was born in Kalmar Sweden in 1867 and came to America where he settled in Kankanee Illinois. He married Mary Cecelia Costello there in 1893 and then moved to Tacoma. The family then decided to move to Skagway in 1897. Godfrey opened a cigar store business and was later the Skagway City Clerk in 1901. He was one of the organizers of the Arctic Brotherhood Camp #1 in Skagway and served as the Grand Arctic Recorder in 1905.

While living in Nome in 1907, he had been helping to collect the official Alaska exhibit for the Portland fair. But something about that exhibit was bothering him. It just wasn’t going to do Alaska justice, he thought, tucked away in a corner of the U.S. Government Building, alongside every other government department. Homeseekers and investors might never notice.

Chealander had an idea-and now he knew where to write. He sat down in the lobby of Nome’s Golden Gate Hotel, picked up a pen, and wrote a letter to his friend John Edward Chilberg. This was the letter that started everything. It opened with a bang:

“An Alaskan exposition for Seattle in 1907-how does the idea strike you?”

He was very involved in organizing this Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle Washington, the world’s fair that in 1909 drew more than three million visitors. Of course, being Swedish they also made sure there was a “Swedish Day” for all the Swedes in the area. (Yay Swedes!)

Godfrey later became involved in Washington politics and history. He died on this day, December 4, 1953 in Los Angeles.

from Washington history online

John Robert White

An ironic story. In 1899 White Pass had a strike by its workers wanting some basic worker’s rights-a long history of issues preceded this event. (Minter, in his book The White Pass describes those.)
The leader of the strike was a young man born on October 10, 1879 in Reading, England, John Robert White. He had joined the Greek Foreign Legion in 1897 and then came to Alaska in 1899. In Skagway, the confrontation with White Pass Engineer Mike Heney and Dr. Whiting resulted in Dr. Whiting striking White on the head with a shovel. White was sent to Sitka and jailed for 6 months.
After that, White joined the military and served with the 4th Infantry in the Phillipines where he rose to the rank of Colonel. He retired from the U.S. military in 1914 and went to Europe and served for the Red Cross and the new Rockefeller Foundation (establishing medical proceedurs). He then joined the A.E.F. in WW 1.
Now here begins the ironic part:
In 1920 he joins the U.S. National Park Service. He started as ranger, then chief ranger, then Superintendent of such parks as Grand Canyon, Sequoia, and Death Valley. He then became Regional Director of two regions in the Park Service in 1940-41. White died in Napa, California in 1961 at the age of 82.

Today in Skagway the White Pass and National Park work amicably together, unaware of the history of John Robert White.

The photo above shows the Washington staff of the National Park Service in uniform in 1926. Left to right: Arno B. Cammerer, assistant director; Harry Karstens, superintendent of Mount McKinley National Park; Stephen T. Mather, director; Charles G. Thompson, superintendent of Crater Lake National Park; Horace M. Albright, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park; John R. White, superintendent of Sequoia National Park; Arthur E. Demaray, assistant director; Ernest Leavitt, assistant superintendent of Yosemite National Park; W. B. Lewis, superintendent of Yosemite National Park.
(This is from the John Robert White papers collection at the University of Oregon.)

Zachary Taylor Wood

On October 8, 1897 four RCMP officers arrived in Skagway on the S.S. Quadra. They were sent here to open an office and report on conditions. They were Inspector Zachary Taylor Wood, Captain Norwood, Major James Walsh (who had met with Sitting Bull), and Hurdman.

Inspector Wood stayed in Skagway off and on and then in May moved his office to Lake Bennett. He reported hearing gunfire on the street of Skagway one day and hitting the deck until the shots stopped. He also described a frightening time moving gold from the Yukon to Victoria, eluding the Soapy gang in Skagway by small boat.

He is a distant cousin of my husband’s family and it is inspiring to know a family member was here in the goldrush. Captain Wood died in 1915 in North Carolina while traveling, but he is buried in Caturaquil Cemetery Kingston Ontario where his family was from.

This photo shows Mrs. Z.T. Wood driving the “last spike” on the WP&YR on June 8, 1900. It says that J.T. is standing next to M.J. Heney. It also says it is in Whitehorse. Another ceremony was in Carcross on July 29, 1900 that was the last spike driven for the entire line, and was re-enacted in 2000.

Robert William Service

Robert Service, the poet of the Yukon died on September 11, 1958 in France. His poems brought the “Spell of the Yukon” alive to millions of people who never even visited the North. Although he passed through Skagway, he worked as a bank teller in Whitehorse. His life was long and very interesting. His cabin is still open to visit in Whitehorse, it sits on First Avenue at the museum.

Last year (2011) we visited the bank in Victoria where he worked. It is a beautiful pub now called the “Bard and Banker” downtown. I highly recommend it! (December 14, 2012)

White Pass VP Hawkins

September 8, 1860 is the birthday of Erastus Corning Hawkins, the Chief Engineer of the White Pass Railroad construction and later Vice President and General Manager of the White Pass 1900-1902. He died in New York in 1912 from an operation. In the photo above you can see the four main guys responsible for building the railroad: Samuel Graves, John Hislop, E.C. Hawkins, and Michael J. Heney.

from Graves, The White Pass, and the White Pass website