Winnifred Marion Telfer

Happy Birthday to Winnifred Telfer born on this day, August 9, 1919 in Skagway. Her mother, Mary Peterson, was the matron of the White Pass Hospital since 1915 when she met Eric Telfer. Eric was an accountant for White Pass. They married in November 1917. Eric took lots of pictures in the years the family lived here and Winnifred donated them to the Canadian Archives. Some photos were of hockey teams, the one above is of the women’s curling team in 1922, Mary Telfer may be in this picture. The family moved south in 1930.

Winnifred stayed in British Columbia most of her life and became a famous artist.

Archives Canada – Eric Telfer fonds. census.

Dr. John P. Brawand

Dr. Brawand AKA James P. Browand was a physician and surgeon at the Red Cross Hospital and the White Pass Hospital in Skagway from 1897 to his death, on this day, June 21, 1914. Brawand was born in Iowa in 1861 to Swiss parents but came to Skagway from Chicago.

In addition to being a doctor he was also a civil engineer and served on the Skagway City Council in 1910,1911, and 1912.

He had a child living with him in 1910 probably an orphan. He is buried in the Elks Cemetery which is above the Pioneer Cemetery.

Polks Gazateer, censuses, Skagway Death Record.

Robert McCahon Dickey

Rev. Dickey was born in 1880 in Armagh Ireland. He was a Presbyterian minister who arrived in Skagway on October 9, 1897 from Winnipeg. Reverend Dickey established a church and hospital in Skagway, but had then turned it over to the American Episcopal Church, as the town was in US territory. Dickey preached the first Presbyterian service in Skagway on October 10, 1897 at Burkhart Hall.

Dickey quickly helped build a Union Church — involving the Episcopalian, Baptist, Native Christian Church, Methodist, and Presbyterian communities. He maintained friendly relations with the Catholics and Jews of the community, as well. He is also recognized for seeking trained nurses and other medical personnel for the local hospital. He set up a church at Lake Bennett where he caught typhoid. He persuaded Lady Aberdeen (Ishbel Maria Hamilton-Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair, 15 March 1857 –18 April 1939 pictured above) to send some of her newly created Victorian Order of Nurses to Klondike in July 1898. He is quite famous in the area and stayed in the Yukon until his death, on this day, May 6, 1950 when he died at age 70 in Teslin perhaps.

Cohens book GR Gateway;Yukon geneo; Sinclair; Mills

Leonidas John Hamlin Wooden

The Reverend Doctor Wooden came to Skagway in 1898 and succeeded the infamous Rev. Campbell at the Episcopal Church. Dr. Wooden staffed the Bishop Rowe hospital.
He was also a member of the Arctic Brotherhood in 1900 but around that time he had moved to the Yukon. In the summer of 1904 there was a diptheria epidemic in Circle, Alaska and Dr. Wooden was appointed by Commissioner Nichols to be the Health officer there with full power to “quarantine and protect the public health by all reasonable ways and means”. He and his wife Frances had 6 kids, three who died young. They were all probably here, but there is no record of them.
Leonidas Wooden was born in Indiana in 1856 and died on this day, May 5, 1945 at the age of 89 in Montgomery Kansas.
The picture above is of the little church in Carcross which still has services on Sunday.

Klondike Mission, by Sinclair; 1901 Yukon census; Congressional Reports for the 59th Senate, 1905-1906; Familysearch

William E. Britt

Mr. Britt was a druggist born in 1873 in Norway. Like many Scandinavians (my grandparents included) he came to Chicago. From there he came to Skagway in 1898 to seek his fortune. He stayed for many years and was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood and Skagway City Council. He was also very involved in gardening. He ran a drug store in a building which is still standing, but forgotten, on 5th Avenue. It is known as the Board of Trade Saloon, but it was acquired by the city and used for many years as the city hall and as the library. It sits next to the old Mabel G’s, between there and the “Wandering Wardrobe” little crib building.
Mr. Britt eventually moved to Juneau and died there on this day, May 4, 1932 and is buried in the Evergreen Masonic Cemetery.

The picture above is of that building when it was used as city hall.
censuses; Skagway News; AB book

Bishop Rowe Hospital

John Earnest Southerland or Sutherland died on this day, April 6, 1898 in the Bishop Rowe Hospital. Although we do not know how he died, it was most probably again from meningitis. He was born in New Zealand, perhaps Otago, in 1874, so he was only 24 when he passed away and was buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.

A few days later, on April 15, 1898 a letter from the Right Reverend Peter Rowe, Bishop of Alaska was received in New York. In it he described the desperate situation in Skagway and the need for the hospital:

“…the people of Skaguay have been forced to start an emergency hospital. The need of it beggars description. It has relieved many cases of great distress. The people have responded to appeals to their humanity nobly. Impressed with the importance of the institution, representatives of the public have asked me to take charge of it, and I have done so. They have transferred it all into our hands.

“The emergency hospital is a low cabin 30 feet long and 18 feet wide. One room on the ground floor answers for kitchen and cots; one room above is but half-story or attic. In this room I found 12 cots, and 10 of them were occupied with men in all stages of pneumonia and meningitis. Yesterday while visiting it a young man was brought in from the summit, 18 miles, on a sled, tied on to keep him from falling off, having been dragged over rocks and through mud all that distance.

“Last night I was with a young man who died in my arms, from New Brunswick, telling me what to say to his father and mother and sisters. It was most sad, most pitiful. Sickness is ging to increase. The appeals to our humanity cannot be ignored. The sick are absolutely friendless, helpless, and without the hospital would simply die by the wayside. We have one woman nurse, two men, and a cook. Skaguay doctors are attending for little or nothing as expenses permit. We must build an addition if only of an inexpensive and temporary character.

“I am going to begin this immediately. Present accommodations are totally inadequate and unsuitable. We have assumed great responsibility.”
The author of this letter, Peter Trimble Rowe is pictured above.

-from the New York Times of April 16, 1898; Skagway Death Records; headstone.

Carolina Hilly

Happy Birthday to Mrs. Carolina Hilly according to the headstone in the Skagway Gold Rush Cemetery. There are some interesting things on this headstone, the words “sister” and the Jesuit symbol, see above. She died here in Skagway in 1906 at the age of 52 from heart disease but we really have no other information about her. There was a “Dutch Lena” Hilty who ran the hotel Skagway in 1898 according to a Yukon site, so it is possible that is the same person.

There is a Case & Draper photo from the early 1900’s of the Superintendent of nurses named Carolyn??? #768 in AK photo archives. It is possible that is her, but who knows?

Mary Elizabeth Stewart

Mary died on this day, March 25, 1919. There is absolutely no information other than her name and date of death on the death certificate, so I will try to view the newspaper records for additional info. During the spring of 1919 the influenza hit Skagway and took down quite a number of people.

Helen Cecil Wilson, wrote to her mother at this time:
“Skagway, Alaska 3/23/1919
Dear Mother;
We are still “flued up.” The hospital filled up and they had to open what was formerly The White Pass Rooming House. They could get no one to cook & keep house so I volunteered to do it. I came here yesterday and had to order food – dishes etc. I think they are scared & feared the worst. So far I have 2 of the teachers – all others are at the Hospital. I am fine – I hope I had it when I was sick a month ago but I am not sure. I never was better in my life.
Our doctor was the first to get it and we have a government doctor and 2 nurses at the Hospital. The doctor comes every day & the nurse was here at home this morning. Otherwise I am monarch of all I survey. I brot my oil stove an there ws a coal stove here. I had a chicken cooked and a dinner partly planned – So I brit
the chicken along. You should have seen Mr Hohn & I get the horse ready – We came down in a taxi with my oil stove strapped to the running board. Mr Hohn carried the chicken and I lugged a dish of gelatine – When I get back to my type writer I’ll tell you the funniest tale ever –
Love to all Helen”

from the Alaska State Library papers of Helen Cecil Wilson

Francis Merrill Sulzman

Father Sulzman came to Skagway in 1931 when Monsignor Gallant established the Saint Pius X Mission Home for Native children who were either orphans or from destitute families, staffed by the Sisters of Saint Ann. The Mission was rebuilt in 1946, and operated until the 1960s.

Sulzman was born on this day, March 16, 1906 in Waterford New York and when he left here he joined the army and served as a chaplain in World War 2. He died in 1966 in Matanuska Alaska.

from the Hugh F. McColl webpage at; and the oblatvs.blogspot

Edgar Richard Peoples Jr.

Ed and Estella Peoples moved to Skagway in 1898 from Illwaco, Washington. Ed was a furniture maker and undertaker. On this sad day, March 11, 1901 their two year old son died of tuberculosis in Skagway. Little Edgar was cremated and his remains taken to Portland, Oregon.
The People’s Mortuary was found on the southwest corner of 8th and Broadway from about 1898 to 1901.
Mr. Peoples was the Mayor of Skagway and on city council in 1900-01. After the death of little Edgar, he resigned and moved to Eagle with his wife Estella and Frank Woodruff. They then moved to Rampart, and then on to Fairbanks by 1926. Edgar and Estella both died in Seattle in the 1930’s.

Skagway Death Records; Washington death records; Oregon death records.