Bernard Behrends

Happy Birthday to Bernard M. Behrends born on this day, February 6, 1862 in Bavaria, Germany and emigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1878. He came to Alaska in 1887 and worked for James Brady who would later be governor of Alaska. He married Margaret Virginia Pakle in 1889 in Sitka. She was a teacher and missionary at the Sheldon Jackson school. Sheldon Jackson performed the marriage ceremony. They moved to Juneau and opened the store in 1892 and his daughter Beatrice was also born in 1892 in Juneau. He then opened a bank about 1914. He and Margaret died within months of each other in 1936 in Juneau. Seen above is his store in Juneau. His store appeared in the 1902 and 1905 directories here in Skagway, but someone else managed it. Behrends Avenue in northwest Juneau is named for them. Seen above is the interior of the store.

Kinyradio placenames; 1902 and 1905 directories; Evergreen cemetery records.

Belated Thank you from Dayton Ohio

Skagway’s Mayor just received a kind thank you note from Ken Serey of Tipp City Ohio. He was reading a history of Dayton, Ohio and it seems that after the great Dayton flood of 1913, the citizens of Skagway sent a check for $92.42. That, along with other individual contributions from all over North America and overseas totaled $129,700. Ohio authorities contributed $430,000 and in all, $2 million was sent to Dayton, but the damage amounted to $300 million.
So Ken was just sending along a thank you note, in case it was overlooked 100 years ago. May I be the one in Skagway to say, “You’re welcome!”

The picture above is a mule and a horse on the roof where they ended up after the flood – hmmm, I wonder how they got down!

from “A Time of Terror” by Allan W. Eckert

AYP Exposition Seattle

Here is a photo of the AYP in 1909 which opened with 80,000 visitors.
Brothers John and Frederick Olmstead, designed the fairgrounds. The central portion of the grounds was oriented along axes that exploited the natural beauty of the setting, with views of Mount Rainer, Lake Union and Lake Washington. Built on 250 acres of the largely undeveloped campus of the University of Washington (and partially funded by the state legislature for later use by the University), the AYPE grounds were close to downtown and convenient transportation. Though most of the buildings, designed by John Galen Howard, were too poorly built to survive, the landscaping of the grounds added value to the university by removing wilderness and opening new possibilities for future university installations.

The grounds were centered around the Arctic Circle, with its cascading fountain and reflecting pool, and the surrounding Court of Honor, flanked by two wings of three buildings on either side. Descending from the domed Government Building, these six building were named for Europe, Asia, Alaska, Hawaii and the industries of Manufacturing and Agriculture. Among other notable AYPE buildings was the Forestry Building, a massive structure built entirely of huge logs in their natural state and surviving for several years after the Exposition as the Washington State Museum, until it was damaged by beetles and razed in 1931.

John Edward Chilberg

John Chilberg was born on this day, January 19, 1867 in Wappello County Iowa.
In 1899 Chilberg was responsible for the steamship SOVEREIGN and was also Captain of the MONARCH. While living in Nome, his friend Godfrey Chealander conceived of the idea to have an exposition of Alaska in 1907 and convinced Chilberg to help him organize it.
Chilberg became President of the Board of Directors for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle in 1909. Held on the University of Washington campus this was Washington’s first world’s fair and it celebrated 12 years of prosperity — since the 1897 Alaska Gold Rush — through the display of resources, products, and advantages of Washington and the region. More than three million people visited the fair from Washington cities and counties and from the rest of the country.

In 1915 Chilberg was President of the Miner’s and Merchants Bank of Ketchikan.
By 1919 he also ran a fleet of ships in Puget Sound. In 1967 he was living in Berkeley California with his son Hugh, a real estate investor. J.E. Chilberg died in 1954 in Laguna Beach, California at the age of 87.

Chilberg is seen above addressing the AYP Exposition in 1909.

S.S. Buford

In 1890 the S.S. Mississippi was built in Belfast as an private Atlantic Transport ship. In 1898 she was purchased by the U.S. Army for use in the Spanish American War. Renamed the S.S. Buford (after General John Buford, union cavalry hero of Gettysburg) she saw use as a troop transport ship to the Philippines, as a supply vessel in San Francisco following the great quake in 1906, famine relief missions to China, refugee and troop carrier during the Mexican Revolution and as communication hub for Galveston during the great hurricane there in 1915. In World War One she helped evacuate Americans from Europe and then transported troops. Following the war she brought home 4700 soldiers from Europe.
In 1919 she was dubbed the “Red Ark” and transported 249 “undesirables” back to Russia.
In 1921 she rescued 65 passengers and crew from the burning Tokuyo Maru near Tillamook, Oregon.

In 1923, the Buford was sold to John C. Ogden and Fred Linderman of the San Francisco-based Alaskan Siberian Navigation Company. From July 20 to September 8, 1923 the S.S. Buford sailed up from San Francisco to the Arctic. Here is a list of the ports that this aging vessel visited:
Nome, Juneau, Seward, Wrangell Island, Unalaska, Teller, Ketchikan, Pribiloff Island, Skagway, Duncan’s Bay, Swanson’s Bay, Auk Lake, Cordova, Copper River, Akutan whaling station, Dutch Harbor, Salmon Creek, Taku Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier, Spencer Glacier, Miles Glacier and Muir Glacier.
The Buford was actually commanded by Capt. Louis Lane and went 185 miles north of the Arctic Circle. At that time it was the largest ship to enter the Arctic Ocean. The Buford then went on another trip to the South Seas in early 1924.

It was then that the Buford was chartered for three months by silent movie comedian Buster Keaton for use as the principal set of his film “The Mariner” later renamed “The Navigator.” The Buford had been “discovered” by Keaton’s Technical Director Fred Gabourie while scouting for ships for another, outside project, The Sea Hawk.
Released on October 13, 1924, “The Navigator” proved to be Keaton’s most financially successful film and one of his personal favorites. An aging Captain Johnny “Dynamite” O’Brien (seen above with Keaton) partook in the filming of the movie.
After so many adventures and heroic trips, the S.S. Buford sailed on May 11, 1929 from Los Angeles to Yokaham Japan to be scrapped. If she had been a military person, she would have been decorated, but on her final voyage her only decoration was the American flag which fluttered proudly off her stern.

Wikipedia; Pacific Coastal Liners;

Kissing Cousins

Georgia Amanda Pineo and Holmes Dewolfe were born in Berwick Nova Scotia but Holmes’s family moved to Port Alberni on Vancouver Island B.C., around 1893. Holmes went to school in Victoria in 1898 and then moved to Atlin.
Holmes and his cousin Georgia fell in love and came to Skagway in 1909 to marry on June 24. The marriage did not last long though, because only a year later, on October 30, 1910 Georgia died at the age of 24. Holmes remarried in 1915 but he too died in Port Alberni, on this day, January 1, 1927 at the age of 43.

Seen above is Port Alberni about 1915 with the Pineo family hardware store on the far left.

The Register, Berwick, Kings Co., Nova Scotia.
Vital Statistics 1909; Family search

Stephen Joseph Rooney

Stephen Rooney was born on this day, December 29, 1864 in Sacramento. His father, John Rooney, had emigrated from Ireland at the age of 21 in 1849. John went from Liverpool to Boston to New Orleans, through the isthmus of Panama to San Francisco and finally to Sacramento. He was following the 49er’s to find gold which he did. The Alabama mine in Eldorado county, owned by Mr. Rooney, yielded as much as $800 per day, and by 1853, he had netted $25,000. John married and had four sons, among them was Stephen born on the homestead on Coloma road, five miles from Sacramento. Stephen entered Sacramento Institute and later was a student at St. Mary’s college in San Francisco (St. Mary’s moved from the city to Oakland in 1889 and now is at Moraga). Interested in agriculture, he raised hops, but at one time he also served as deputy Sheriff of Sacramento county.
So it is no wonder that in 1898, he decided to go to the Klondike to search for gold much as his father had 50 years before. He, his brother and Lee Brown landed at Skagway where they tried to move their load to Lake Bennett. However, from the very outset they had bad luck. A number of valuable pack animals had been lost with the Steamship Corona January 24, 1898 on Lewis Island (480 miles north of Victoria). A quantity of forage and provisions was lost in another vessel which went down. Finally, when his high hopes had begun to sink beneath the weight of his failures he fell ill with spinal meningitis and died in Skagway on March 7, 1898. There is a Skagway record of his body being buried in the Gold Rush cemetery, but it was then disinterred and sent back to California by his brother and was interred in a local cemetery in Sacramento. He left a wife, Mary, and three children ages 9, 7 and 5.

Seen above is the Steamship Corona in 1907 when she foundered again.

Willis, William L., History of Sacramento County, California, Pages 693-696. Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, CA. 1913.

Arborian karma

Mr. Edwin Ridd was born in 1860 in Dover England and ran the Hastings Sawmill in Atlin in 1906. As a lumberman he regularly must have cut down trees and cut them up for lumber and firewood. And so, it is perhaps karmic that on this day, December 18, 1906 he was hit by a falling limb from a tree and killed. He is buried in the Atlin cemetery.
In honor of Ridd and his run in with the avenging tree, we decided not to go out and murder a young tree and drag it into the house this year. Or maybe it is just in respect of the ancient Celtic Druid beliefs that everything in the universe is alive. Whatever, we will still observe the ancient Druid rituals of hanging the mistletoe over the doorway and call it good.

Atlin 2011 newspaper.

M.V. Wheeling

I happened to see a photo of the Wheeling online and wondered what it was, as it looked a bit different than the other ships.
Turns out it was a little U.S. warship that was sent around the Pacific to intimidate locals.
In October 1897 it arrived in Hawaii and gave the Hawaiians quite a shock, until they learned that the President had sent it with important communications for Admiral Miller, in command of the naval forces at Honolulu and Mr. Sewall the U.S. Minister.
Six months late, in March of 1898, Governor Brady was on his annual inspection of the Alaska ports aboard the Wheeling.
After leaving Dyea they sailed to Hoonah and found the local community all inflamed about a recent homicide and subsequent intentions to make the mother of the 6 year old child who had supposedly committed the murder pay up in blankets. Governor Brady told the local tribe that they could not do that anymore. At Yakutat he found another case of a witch hunt that nearly killed three people. To reinforce his word, he had Captain Sebree practice the guns of the Wheeling as an object lesson.
Governor Brady said that the trip had “done much good for the Natives as they dreaded a gun boat more than anything else.”
Shortly thereafter on July 25, 1898 it was reported that Canadian sealers were raiding the rookeries of the islands of St. Paul and St. George. Stationed at Unalaska, the gunboat Wheeler certainly had her hands full patroling the entire Bering Sea.
On January 26, 1911 there was a report that the Wheeling had suffered an explosion while enroute from New York to Cuba. She must have survived that because in 1915 she was at the ready in Haiti when President Wilson was having some problems with Mexico. That article mentions that the entire Atlantic fleet of 21 warships was at the ready.
Seems the little Wheeling got around!

The Morning Herald March 23, 1898; Evening Post, January 26, 1911; Clinton Mirror, March 13, 1915; The Philadelphia Record, Sept 25, 1897.

Christmas Mail

It has always been and still is a challenge to get mail to Skagway. Today we rely on small planes to fly our mail in from Juneau and if they can’t fly for three days, they put it on the ferry. Numerous times I have had retailers tell me they either don’t deliver to Skagway or they send it the dreaded FedEx way: which is, they send it to Anchorage and then hand it over to the post office there which puts it on the barge as parcel post. Recently I had a computer delivered this way that arrived with a big hole punched in the side of the box. Fortunately it hit only packaging material. There is no direct mail delivery on the road to Whitehorse, so if you send a letter there, it goes to Seattle, maybe to Ottawa and then back to Vancouver and then to Whitehorse. And takes 3 weeks. So here is what they did in 1898:

“The amount of mail stacked up on the Skagway dock that Christmas of 1898 was too much for one man to carry, however. The North-West Mounted Police took over the job of delivering the backlog of mail to the Klondikers. They formed relay teams of men and dogs to carry the mail in 30-mile stretches. Traveling day and night, the Mountie teams could complete the one-way 600-mile trip in an average of seven days. The use of dog teams on the Dawson-Skagway route ended in 1901 when the White Pass and Yukon Railway was completed. But dog teams were responsible for mail delivery in most parts of the Alaska Interior for another 30 years.”

Alaska History