Dr. Archibald John Campbell

In February of 1898 Archibald John Campbell, a Scot, came to Skagway to be the Episcopal Minister and dubious doctor.
There was some controversy about Dr. Campbell.
When Presbyterian Minister John Sinclair came to Skagway in 1898 from Ontario, Canada, he found that the Reverend Doctor Campbell was firmly ensconced in the Union Church, that had been built in 1897 by Rev. Dickey. Campbell did not welcome Sinclair and told him the Union Church was Episcopal and refused to move out. Sinclair had been sent by Bishop Rowe because of odd allegations against Dr. Campbell.
Campbell was later fired by Bishop Rowe because of allegations of misconduct with females by a neighbor, George Aggers. Aggers and others said women were seen coming and going from the Reverend’s home at all hours of the night. The women supposedly were coming to Dr. Campbell for his famous internal massage or liver therapy. After some months of dispute, Campbell moved to a cabin on the hillside where he apparently was quite agitated and died on this day, February 22, 1899 of a heart attack.

The Sault Ste. Marie News; Thora Mills- The Church and the Klondike Gold Rush;

Love Story

I pieced this love story together last week; you will love it.

In 1865 a young woman came to Victoria from England on the famous “bride ship”. After an unsuccessful marriage she split up with her gold miner husband and in 1873 her husband paid the convent of the Sisters of Saint Ann in Victoria to care for their two little girls. One little girl, Mary Elizabeth Martin was 5 and she spent the next 27 years working for the church, taking vows in 1885 and the name Sister Mary of the Cross. In 1898 Father William Judge, known as the Saint of Dawson needed help caring for the starving and sick men at the hospital he had built in Dawson. The help he requested came in the form of several Sisters of St. Ann and Mary was one of these.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, a young man, Joseph Bettinger attended college and became a doctor, actually a pharmacist there. In 1898 he also heard the call from the North, and like thousands of others decided to head to the Klondike to find his fortune. On April 3, 1898 he found himself near Chilkoot Pass when a terrible avalanche happened, burying at least 100 people, although some were pulled out, as many as 94 died. Dr. Bettinger helped to dig up and take care of the survivors. He then continued on to Dawson where he went to work for Father Judge. In the summer of 1898, the doc told the priest he wanted to become Catholic and so Father Judge asked one of his faithful nuns to instruct the doctor. It was here that Joseph and Mary met and fell in love.
Mary announced that she wanted to leave the order but was counseled by the Mother Superior and the priest not to. She felt strongly about it and took off her habit and called herself Mary Elizabeth Martin. Shunned by the community, she and Joseph went to Tacoma to visit Mary’s mother, now remarried with 8 children. On July 16, 1900 they were married in Tacoma.
The story would have ended with happily every after, but instead the newlyweds decided to go back to Dawson. When they returned they found that Fr. Judge had died – of overwork at the hospital in July of 1899. The new hospital administration and the community still shunned the couple and Joseph found that he did not have a job.
They decide to return south, but being low on funds, Joseph decides to walk to Whitehorse in December of 1900 when the temperatures were 60 below zero. He tells Mary to take the coach a few days later and they would meet up in Skagway or Whitehorse. It is the last time Mary sees her husband.
Temperatures in the Yukon were 60 degrees below zero that month. When Mary arrived in Skagway she looked for Joseph every day but after days turned to weeks, she implored the authorities to look for him. The NWMP found his body 7 miles off the Yukon Trail up the White River (near Stewart and Minto). The report stated he died of exposure. The authorities asked Mary if she wanted his body sent south, but she could not afford the $320 to ship it, so he was buried near Stewart (the river later washed away the graveyard).
Mary returned to Washington and remarried, but never told her family of her past until she lay on her deathbed at the age of 95 in 1959.

The 1920 Census in Seattle listed her name as Mary E. Barton married to William Barton who was born in 1863 in Canada. Listed her as born 1862-3 in Canada. Two sons, Jack born 1904 and Stacy born 1906.

The Weekly Ex (SF) Sept 30, 1897; Policing the Plains by MacBeth online book p 111;Once Upon a Wedding; stories of weddings in W. Canada by Nancy Millar; personal communications with Mary’s great granddaughter. 1920 Census for Seattle.

William Grant

On this day in 1898 a young man named William Grant died of meningitis in Skagway. His father was Captain William Grant and the family lived in Victoria where his body was shipped.
Meningitis was a real epidemic here in Skagway that winter, affecting young men and killing many. Dr. Emil Pohl treated these many cases, and after moving to Portland, he presented a paper there in 1906 relating the questions that he had and describing the symptoms (not for the squeamish):

“Since the mode of infection of Cerebro Spinal meningitis is still doubtful it is interesting to trace the disease as it appeared in the epidemic in the winter of 1897-1898 at Skagway, Alaska. The first case ws a man who had been in town for some time; his case proved fatal in a short time.
The sanitary conditions surrounding his home were not bad; with the assistance of cold weather no decomposition could take place. The water was supplied from the mountain side, the Skagway river and a few wells. No cases were reported from up the river, prior to the Skagway cases. I think we can eliminate water as a factor in the causation of Meningitis.
One case in particular that was admitted to the hospital, stated that he was careful even to wash in water that had been boiled. If we can accept the truth of his statement, that would proved almost conclusively that the disease was not transmitted through the intestinal tract, but more than likely through the nose and respiratory tract.
Following the report of the first case other cases were reported from various portions of the town. About this time we began to hear of cases at Dyea. First the cases came from near the town and other cases came from further distances. The disease then crossed the mountain range and appeared all along the trail to Lake Bennett, a distance of 40 miles from Skagway. Below this point I did not hear of any cases. The last case that I saw at Bennett was in the month of April. When the warm weather set in at Bennett the sanitary conditions were bad, the disease disappeared and did not reappear until the following winter at Skagway.
That year, I am told they had but three cases. It would seem that cold weather or exposure is an exciting factor, although cases of meningitis do appear in the summer. If the disease is contagious it must be very mildly so, as I know of no one attending on the cases taken down with the disease, and usually but one case appeared in a household.
In reviewing the morbid anatomy, I have selected a subject in which the pathological conditions are present in most autopsies. First I will briefly refer to the symptoms of this subject.
His previous history was good so far as aI could find out, for when I first saw him he was delirious. He was a powerful man, about 35 years of age weighing about 190 pounds. I saw him about the fourth day after he was taken ill. He had all the symptoms of meningitis. The excruciating pain in head and neck, stiffness of the muscles, deafness, strabismus, inequality of the pupils, hemorrhagic spots, herpes liabialis and delirium; his temperature was irregular as well as his pulse; he passed into coma and died seven days from the time when I first saw him. On cutting through the dura mater considerable serum escaped. The pia and arachnoid were so adherent to the brain in places that it could not be separated without tearing the brain substance.
The blood vessels of the brain stood out prominently, greatly engorged on the convexity of the brain; considerable sero-fibrinous deposit was present, especially in the depressions or fissures. By exposing the base of the brain, the optic commissure and its immediate neighborhood was covered with a pussy exudates, the exudates was more abundant at the auditory nerve just as it entered the internal auditory meatus. The medulla and pons were covered with pus.
The interior of the brain seemed quite normal with the exception of the choroids plesus, which was greatly engorged, the ventricles contain an extra amount of serum. The spinal cord showed the same pathological conditions as the brain, the pussy exudates seemed to be greater in amount on the posterior than the anterior surfaces of the cord. …
Of all the drugs recommended in this disease, opium and bromides seem to be the only ones of any benefit. The sooner the opium is commenced the results seem better, before marked exudation takes place; thereafter, bromides seem to act the best.”

Dr. Emil Pohl himself died only a few years later in Alaska from either spinal meningitis or an encephalitis epidemic. So much for his theory of “no one attending the cases coming down with the disease”. He was the real hero of Skagway during that winter-with his wife, also a doctor, Esther Clayson Pohl Lovejoy-but that’s another story.

Nellie Cashman

Nellie Cashman came to the Klondike about 1898. She was a native of County Cork, Ireland and had worked as both a nurse and a grocer. She was known as the “Angel of the Cassiar” because of her tireless work with the sick men. She was also known as the Frontier Angel, Saint of the Sourdoughs, Miner’s Angel, and The Angel of Tombstone.

Her energy and selfless work is an inspiration. She died in Victoria on this day, January 4, 1925 at the age of 80 in the hospital there that she helped to build. She is buried in the Ross Bay Cemetery near all the Religious nuns and priests. I visited her grave in November. The cemetery is beautiful with a view of Ross Bay, a short walk from downtown through some very pretty neighborhoods.

1943 Mystery

On this day, December 10 1943, three women died according to the Skagway Death Records, but no indication of why they died. There is also no record of where Signa Rugene Sletten, Mary Andrews Steinard, and Margaret Alma Stukel were buried.

During this time there were fires that took down the Elks Hall, Pullen House and the Mission School, so perhaps that is a clue….go to work fellow sleuths!

P.S. the photo above has nothing to do with the Mystery, except that I wonder what type of beer this bear is drinking.