Joseph Whiteside Boyle

The “King of the Klondike” arrived in Skagway in 1898 and was both a wrangler and boxer. His reputation grew as he moved on to Dawson. His life story is nothing short of amazing:
“Boyle organized a hockey team in 1905, often known as the Dawson City Nuggets, that endured a difficult journey to Ottawa, Ontario (by overland sled, train, coastal steamer, then trans-continental train) to play the Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup, which until 1924 was awarded to the top hockey team in Canada and could be challenged for by a team. Ottawa thrashed the Dawson team.

During World War I, Boyle organized a machine gun company, giving the soldiers insignia made of gold, to fight in Europe. The unit was incorporated into larger units of the Canadian Army.

Boyle also distinguished himself in Romania, serving the king and queen of that country during the war, helping to protect the country from the Central Powers and to operate Romania’s railroads. He also mounted a daring rescue operation in which he swindled a number of captive soldiers back to Romania and successfully petitioned to new Bolshevik government in Russia to return the Romanian Crown Jewels from their storage in the Kremlin. He was awarded the special title of “Saviour of Romania” for these and many other deeds. He remained a close friend, and was at one time a possible lover of the Romanian Queen, British-born Marie of Edinburgh.

Somehow, he became a confidant, and maybe more, of Queen Marie of Romania, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. On the Queen’s behalf, Boyle negotiated the first peace treaty of Versailles and organized millions of dollars of Canadian relief for Romanians, earning the title of hero. He was decorated for his exploits by the governments of Russia, France, Britain and Romania.

His relationship with the queen remains something of a mystery. Some historians speculated they were lovers and point to a mysterious woman in black who brought flowers to his grave every year on the anniversary of his death in 1923. Queen Marie died in 1938 and nobody appeared at his grave after that year, so it was always thought that she was the mystery woman. Seen in the photo above with Queen Marie (left) in 1918.

It is a known fact that “Klondike” Joe Boyle successfully wrestled and killed a shark after falling off the side of his fishing ship, The S.S. Chipe.

Joe Boyle died on this day, April 14, 1923 of a stroke at the age of 56. He is presently buried in his Canadian home town of Woodstock, Ontario, after being buried for 50 years in Hampton Hill.

from Wikipedia and a great book: “Sourdough and the Queen: Many Lives of Klondike Joe Boyle” by Taylor, Leonard.

James Kelley

Sgt. Major James Kelley married his sweetheart at the beginning of March 1898 in Vancouver Washington. He shipped out one week later and arrived in Dyea in March 1898. He was in charge of the 14th Infantry and as they were setting up the camp, he suddenly cried out in pain. He was struck with spinal meningitis and died on this day, March 19, 1898. His body was shipped back to Vancouver Washington and a large stone marker sits on his grave in the military cemetery there. Oddly, cemetery records show a dependent, an infant named James Kelley also buried in the same plot in March 1898. Although this could be a mistake, it paints an odd picture.

Sgt Kelley was born in Greggsville, Illinois on June 21, 1860 and was 38 when he died.

from newspaper article: Columbian of March 31, 1898
online cemetery records:
photo taken in the Vancouver Cemetery July 2010

Esau Simmons

Private Simmons came to Skagway with company L of the 24th Army Infantry. This all Black unit arrived May 15, 1899 from Ft. Douglas, Utah.
Esau was born in 1879 in Dugan County North Carolina but his family had moved to Indiana by the 1880 census.
Simmons died on this day, March 10, 1901 in Skagway at the age of only 22. He was shipped on the S.S. Humboldt to Seattle. The Skagway Death Record does not say how he died.

Charles Pelot Summerall

Summerall was a Lieutenant with the 106th Coast Artillery Company that arrived here in Skagway in 1902. He arrived with 67 army soldiers.
By the time he arrived here, he had quite a busy life already.
Born on this day, March 4, 1867 in Blount’s Ferry Florida, he went to West Point where he graduated in 1892. He served in the Spanish American War, in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion and in France during WW1 where he was highly decorated.
Summerall retired a 4 star general in 1929.
In 1931 he became the President of the Citadel, a post he held for the next 22 years.
He died on May 14, 1955 in Washington D.C. and is buried in Arlington.
The picture above is not of Summerall, but rather of Arthur Curtiss, one of the soldiers here in his very smart Artillery uniform. Snap-To!

army military website; Skagway Museum Record; AK Hist library

Major Henry Joseph Woodside

“Harry” Woodside was born in Arkwright, Ontario, Canada in 1858. He was one of the earliest white men to arrive in the North. In 1892 he was the census enumerator for the Yukon. Later he became the editor of the Yukon Sun in Dawson during the Gold Rush. His photographs from this period provide a considerable portion of the recorded visual history of the Gold Rush. He took the photo above of Dawson with Lousetown in the foreground.

Woodside left during the Boer War and volunteered for service in one of the Canadian contingents. He was given the rank of Lieutenant in the regiment and was about to sail from Halifax on the transport with the regiment when he was thrown from his horse in cavalry practice and nearly killed. He was in the hospital for weeks and while there was nursed back to good health by a nurse who later became Mrs. Woodside.

Major Woodside sailed for Africa to join his regiment after he had gotten out of the hospital. He got as far as Durban, South Africa when the war terminated and he was ordered home.

In 1904 he went to join his wife in Winnipeg. He served again with the rank of Colonel in World War I in the 5th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, and was wounded in France in May 1916. Woodside died in November 8, 1929, in Ottawa. The Fairbanks News reported his death on February 25, 1930.

Dawson Daily News Aug 27, 1904; Wikipedia;; Fairbanks news list. Ontario Death Registration.

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.


Thomas McArthur Anderson

Happy Birthday to Colonel Anderson born on January 21, 1836 in Chillicoth, Ohio.

He came to Skagway in December 1897 with the 14th Infantry. Above, soldiers of the 14th Infantry parade in their superb dress helmets in downtown Skagway, Alaska, 1898. They were posted to Skagway at the request of Alaska’s territorial governor, John Brady, to protect Skagway from hordes of “gamblers, thugs and lewd women” – no doubt the sight of the serried ranks of pickelhaubes helped bring the gamblers, thugs, and those lewd women back to a sense of civic responsibility.

Anderson was the commander of companies B & H. He had a long military career and died a Brigadier General in 1917 in Portland, Oregon and is buried in Arlington.

from “Duty Station Northwest” by Lymon L. Woodman

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

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.

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.