William G. Martin

Ok, so here’s a good one. There was no William G. Martin who was lynched on September 11, 1897 at Lake Bennett. This was a false story reported by Hal Hoffman to the Chicago Tribune and repeated many times thereafter.

It is still falsely cited on the “land of the free” website. William R. Hunt in the book “Whiskey Peddler, the story of Johnny Healy, North Frontier Trader” (1993) refutes this story.

Now this is not to say that there weren’t other cases of frontier justice as there are even pictures of men being whipped on the trail for theft. One man even committed suicide to evade such punishment. The photo above is a staged photo for a 1915 book about the Shooting of Dan McGrew.

James Murrell Shackelford

James Shackelford was born in 1827 in Kentucky. He was a Union Brigadier General in the Civil War. He has the distinction of having captured Confederate cavalry commander John Hunt Morgan in mid-1863, effectively ending “Morgan’s Raid”. Shackelford’s first wife, died in 1864, and he was left with four small children. He felt it his duty to resign at the termination of the war, despite the fact the President offered him the rank of Major General.
He was also a lawyer and judge. In 1889 President Benjamin Harrison appointed him U.S. Judge in the Indian Territory. By 1902 he was the U.S. Attorney for Alaska.

General Shackelford died on this day, September 7, 1909 in Port Huron, Michigan but is buried in Kentucky.

Report of the Secretary of the Interior, 1902; familysearch; Wikipedia;accessgenealogy;

List of Lawyers

Here is a list of 59 lawyers or attorneys in Skagway in the early days:

Acklen, Adams, Agner, Barnes, Bennett, Blackett, Bowman, Boyce, Burton, Carrier, Cassidy, Church, Corliss, Dautoff, Day, Dixon, Dillon, Elliot, Erwin, Goldschmidt, Grant, Gunnison, Hall, Hamilton, Hartman, Harding, Hartners, Helmcken, Hills, Jennings, Knapp, Lightfoot, Lilly, Lovell, Marquam, McEneny, Miller, O’Donnell, Ostrander, Paulsell, Perkins, Pratt, Price, Rasmuson, Sehlbrede, Shackelford, Shorthill, Shoup, Smith, Stevens, Taylor, Tupper, VanHorn, Webb, Weldon, Wilcoxen, Williams, Winn, Young.

Most had some other profession such as retail, lumber, teaching, hospitality, secretary, tax collection, judgeship, mining, hay & grain and engineering. Some worked for Soapy (Van Horn, Weldon, Dixon, and O’Donnell) and some worked for White Pass (Elliott, Harding, Cassidy, Hartman, and Helmcken).

Seen above is a likely set of characters.

John Garland Price

J.G. Price was born on this day, April 4, 1868 in Iowa. He became a lawyer and came to Skagway in August 1898 from Rico, Colorado. He married Maybelle Dent here on February 14, 1899 and later that year had a daughter Alma or Ruth, but she was born in Oregon. They had 4 children altogether: Alma/Ruth, Rachel, John Jr., and William who died in infancy.
John G. Price was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood and wrote “The Arctic Brotherhood” in the Alaska-Yukon Magazine in April 1905. He worked for the Price & Stevens Law firm and was a lobbyist in 1899 to Washington D.C. He retired to Washington state where he died in 1957 on Mercer Island.
According to Ashley at the ArcticBrotherhood blogspot, he was a supporter of “home rule”. Seen above is a demonstration in front of the old Elks Hall (which burned) of folks protesting for “home rule”.

1902;family chronicles GR part website;

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;

Charles Augustus Sehlbrede

Reverend Gus (he was also a minister) came to Skagway in 1898 from Oregon.
Born on this day, December 10, 1851 in Louisville, Kentucky, Gus was one of ten children. After college, he took the train to Oregon in 1877 and passed the Oregon Bar the next year. He married in 1883 in Salem, Oregon.

Because of the recommendation of U. S. Senator George W. McBride, Sehlbrede was appointed as U. S. Commissioner at Skagway, Alaska by President McKinley. While on that appointment, he presided over the coroner’s inquest for Soapy Smith. He was also appointed town recorder after John U. Smith left. (Smith was a crooked U.S. commissioner for Dyea from August 1897 to May 1898 who disappeared the night that Soapy was shot.)
Sehlbrede brought his wife, Ianthe, and his two daughters, Bertha Lucille and Emma Lucrecia to Skagway. However, Ianthe and daughters left in 1901 to go back Corvallis (wimps). Judge Sehlbrede joined them soon after in sunny Oregon.
The photo above is from a 1947 magazine article.
Sehlbrede died in 1922 in Corvallis also and is buried in Oak Lawn Memorial Park there.

1900 census;Pioneer History of Douglas County, Oregon; Pennington; 1902 directory;Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, published by Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago. 1904

Bates Shattuck

Born on this day, December 8, 1880 in Gresham, Oregon, Bates Shattuck was one of 5 brothers: Allen, Henry, Dudley and John who came to Alaska at the turn of the century. Most settled in Juneau, but Bates was the U.S. Customs officer in Skagway in 1904. Apparently Skagway was not his cup of tea as he went back south to Oregon that same year. Seen above are the other Customs officers in 1906. Remember that Skagway has been the Port for the Yukon since the railroad was built in 1898. The U.S. Customs has kept a similar number of employees year round since then. This time of year both the U.S. and the Canadian Border and Customs offices are only open from 7 am to midnight, but in summer are open 24 hours a day.

Juneau Parks & Recreation website; familysearch; 1905 Directory

Judge Justin Woodward Harding

Justin Woodward Harding was born on December 19, 1888 and died on August 15 1972. He was a Major in World War One. He was appointed U.S. Attorney in 1921 for the First District in the Alaska Territory and later in 1927 as U.S. District Judge. And it is here that he became an Alaskan Hero. Here is the story that started on December 7, 1929 (that other infamous day in history):

“Irene Jones was a young girl, born of mixed Tlingit and white heritage. She lived in the City of Ketchikan, Alaska. In 1929 at the age of twelve, she tried to attend her local public school. She had all of the qualifications of children, who are entitled to admission and are admitted to the public school under Alaskan law. Irene was in fact a very bright and engaging student. She started attending classes at the Ketchikan school [seen above] on September 3, 1929, and was a delight to her new teacher. However, two days later she arrived at the doors of the school, to find Superintendent Anthony E. Karnes waiting for her with his arms folded and a serious expression on his face. She was sent home by Karnes on the grounds that she was of Indian descent and that she and “all of her kind should go to the Indian school”. Her parents, William Paul and Nettie Jones, made numerous pleas to the Ketchikan School Board, but to no avail. On September 10, 1929 they filed a suit on Irene’s behalf for her to be admitted to the local public school.

In 1905 Congress established a territorial school system in Alaska to provide education for “white children and children of mixed blood who lead a civilized life”. Based on this law, the legislature of Alaska established a system of free schooling for children within its jurisdiction and did not make a distinction in regard to race or color. The 1905 congressional act also mandated that education of the Eskimos and Indians in Alaska remain under the direction and control of the U.S. government, Secretary of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs. The City of Ketchikan established a school system where white and mixed blood students attended schools together. However on December 7, 1928 the Ketchikan School Board adopted a resolution that modified this system. This rule said that the Ketchikan School Board would accept only those students in its locality “who are not acceptable to the United States Bureau of Education”. This meant that the School Board would no longer accept any child of Indian or Eskimo descent, including those of mixed blood.
Irene Jones’ attorney argued that the School Board violated rights provided Irene under the 14th Amendment. He presented evidence which showed that Mr. A. E. Karnes, the Superintendent of Ketchikan School District, led the effort to pass the December 7, 1928 School Board resolution to prevent children of native descent from attending Ketchikan schools. Mr. Karnes was also reported to have said to Irene: “We will get rid of all the other Native children too.” Irene’s attorney also gave other examples which showed that a school district could not override the laws of a state legislature or Congress. As a result, federal district judge, Justin W. Harding, ruled that the Ketchikan School Board had discriminated against Irene Jones and its December 7th resolution was not valid. In his final decision on November 29, 1929, Judge Harding ordered that Irene be admitted to the public school and that the School Board pay her attorney’s fees.”

And as for Karnes? Well, in 1939 he was promoted to Alaska’s Commissioner of Education, according to “A History of the Nome, Alaska Public Schools:1899 to 1958 From the Gold Rush To Statehood”, a thesis by John Poling. Karnes later retired to California and died in 1970 in Lake Elsinore.

from the court case, National Archives in Philadelphia online: Irene Jones v. R. V. Ellis et al.

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

John Wilson Snook

John Snook was the nephew of Marshal James McCain Shoup who was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood and the Midnight Sun Conspiracy. Perhaps Shoup was suspicious of everyone and so appointed his young nephew Snook (sometimes incorrectly spelled Shook) to be a Marshal in Dyea in February 1898 after Marshal Rowan was shot.
John Snook was only 22 years old, born October 20, 1876 in Salmon Idaho. He was only Marshal until April of 1898, (perhaps things got a little out of hand, more than he could handle). In any event, he made one very good contact while in Skagway – the sister of Frederick Clayson (famous Christmas Eve murder December 1899).
Charlotte Clayson was a bit younger than John, she was only 14 in 1898. So John waited until 1903 and married Charlotte in Portland Oregon. They moved to Salmon Idaho soon after and had at least two boys, John and Frederick there. John Wilson Snook was active in Republican politics in the 1920’s in Idaho. There is a law firm in Salmon that bears the Snook name, so apparently the law played an important part of this family’s tradition.
Charlotte’s sister, Esther Clayson Pohl was the subject of an earlier blog for her work in Portland.
John W. Snook had a long life, and died at the age of 99 in 1975 in Salmon Idaho. Charlotte, his wife of 67 years, had died in 1970. Seen above is the Salmon Idaho Cemetery where they probably lie.

“Law of the Yukon” Dobrowsky; 1909 AB book; Idahohistory.net;1902 directory, family chronicles; Mission Klondike by Sinclair; Mills; familysearch