Once again I return to Maori sagas. In the diaries of William Hiscock, a New Zealander in 1898, he traveled with two Maoris on the trail. He later met up with them near Dawson and this little story:
“Coming back we called in to see the Maoris and found they were not doing too well. They were about two miles outside Dawson. Both of them had scurvy. They had built a nice cosy cabin, in appearance outside it was like an old-fashioned beehive. As so many cabins were being built logs soon became scarce and people had to go longer distances to get them, so the Maoris used willow sticks. They peeled the bark off them, and being only about one and a half inches thick they made the cabin round, about twelve or sixteen feet diameter at the base and brought them all to a point at the top. As there were plenty of will sticks at hand they placed them close together. The outside was first covered with a thickness of moss of which there was an abundance, and on that was placed a good thickness of turf and dirt. A nice porch over the door opening and the usual Maori figurehead on the porch finished it. It looked very nice inside. these two Maoris had a very hard time knowing nothing about mining and they suffered from the intense cold. They stayed in their cabin and with the plainest of food and lack of exercise they soon had scurvy nor did it leave them until spring came. They eventually got a passage on one of the steam river boats that came up the river from St. Michaels and then worked their way back to New Zealand.”
The only name he gave for one was “Bob the Maori”. So, looking at the records of the NWMP at the time of their crossing, there was a Robert Doe, a R. Kibblewhite, a R. Hisk and a R. Gane all from New Zealand. Kibblewhite and his traveling companion, C.V. Ledebur were both from Drury New Zealand which was a Maori community. So, by process of deduction, it might be them. Seen above is an African traditional twig beehive house which probably resembled the cabin that the Maoris built in Dawson.
Captain H.H. Norwood was born in 1859 in Berwick, Nova Scotia. He arrived on October 8, 1897 in Skagway with Zachary Taylor Wood and Walsh of the NWMP. Captain Norwood had spent time on the Arctic Whaler “Balaena” with the famous Japanese explorer Jujiro Wada.
Norwood taught Jujiro Wada to speak English, nautical skills and navigation. Wada made good use of these skills during a long adventurous life in Alaska.
The photo above might be Capt. Norwood with Jujiro.
Norwood sold some lucrative claims in the north and retired to San Francisco, California and died in 1917 in Sonoma.
On the same day, May 28, 1899 a year later, Mr. Hiliger and Mr. Schock also drowned in Lake Bennett.
“Two men, a Mr. Schock the proprietor of a road house on the upper end of Lake Laberge, and a man named Hiliger were drowned in Lake Bennett on May 28, about three miles from Bennett. Both were newly married, and their wives were on the shore and saw them drown. It appears they were on their way down with a scow, and, having forgotten something, started back for the same in a small boat. A gale was blowing at the time and the boat capsized, and before help could be secured they were both drowned. An inventory of the effects of the road house was taken and a full report forwarded to Dawson, and the public administrator notified.” from the NWMP record.
NWMP Annual Reports; familysearch; explorenorth; NY times June 18, 1898 online;
Constable Christiansen of the Northwest Mounted Police worked at Tagish in 1898 where he and Special Constable Loucks and Corporal Spreadbury took off on a little adventure on December 4th 1898. They left Tagish for Bennett to deliver the mail and pickup supplies for the division mess:
“After an arduous four-day trip, Spreadbury and Christiansen collapsed on the lake ice within sight of the lights of Bennett. Loucks pushed on to get help for his exhausted comrades. Fortunately, they soon revived under the medical care of police surgeon, Dr. Louis Pare.”
Christiansen later worked at the Customs Station at White Pass Summit in 1902.
Report of the RCMP 1898 and 1902; Helene Dobrowolsky “Law of the Yukon”;
Louis Alphonse Pare was one of the doctors assigned to treat the members of the NWMP in the Yukon. He was born in Lachine, Quebec in 1848 and was appointed assistant surgeon for the NWMP in 1887. In November 1898 he was sent to Tagish Post where he arrived on December 20, 1898. The post had been without a doctor for a year. Several men were laid up with or recovering from typhoid. Some were sent to Bennett or Skagway to be sent to Victoria.
During his first year at Tagish, he treated 274 cases ranging from typhoid to scurvy and frozen-amputated limbs. Dr. Pare stayed on in the Yukon until his retirement in 1911, being promoted to full surgeon in 1904.
Seen above in Whitehorse in the first electric car. Hmmm, way ahead of his time!
Dobrowolsky, Law of the Yukon; Quebec Heritage News Vol 3:1,2 2004-5 online; 1911 Whitehorse c; online civil servants
In 1896, Charcoal, a Blood Indian killed another native man and then went on a shooting spree ending with the deliberate and bloody murder of NWMP Sgt. Wilde Wm. Brock. NWMP Inspector Arthur M. Jarvis followed Charcoal until he was caught and subsequently tried and hung in 1897.
Then, later in 1897, when hundreds of prospectors headed for the Klondike gold fields through Fort Chipewyan and the fur trade river system, Jarvis was sent on a long winter patrol to prevent conflicts. Jarvis was the first Canadian government official to enforce Canadian laws in the Fort Chipewyan region.
In 1898 he was sent to the Dalton Trail Post also known as Pleasant Camp located near Haines. The post was designed to maintain order during the Gold Rush, control the surge of people to the area, and establish a border custom station. Inspector A.M. Jarvis led eighteen North-West Mounted Police from April to October, 1898. Under his supervision, they collected custom fees, captured several criminals, and witnessed the remnants of the U.S. Reindeer Relief Expedition pass through to the Klondike. He established the boundary line on that trail and built a fort at the base of the Chilkat trail there. He was with the NWMP at the spike ceremony in Carcross for the completion of the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad in 1899.
In January 1900 the Secretary of State for War for Canada accepted the offer of Lord Strathcona to form a unit to go to South Africa for the war. Among those mounted rifle officers was Major A.M. Jarvis. For his valor in battle down there he was awarded the “Companions of the Order of St. Michael and St. George”.
Jarvis retired from the NWMP in 1912 after 31 years of service. In 1915 at the age of 52 he went to England and signed up to serve in World War One in France and Flanders. Jarvis was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel, Assistant Provost Marshal. For his service he received the “Commander of the Order of the British Empire”. Arthur M. Jarvis died in 1930 in Toronto.
Chambers: The Royal Northwest Mounted Police a Corp History, online; Who’s Who, Vol 57 1905;
James Morrow Walsh was born in Prescott, Ontario in 1840 to a Welsh-Irish immigrant family. Walsh joined the NWMP in 1873 when it was formed. He was known for his association with Sitting Bull in the 1880’s, and was appointed the first Commissioner of the Yukon Territory and also the Canadian Gold Commissioner of the Yukon in August 1897. He arrived on the S.S. Quadra to Skagway in 1897.
His fame during the Gold Rush was that he was the one who proclaimed that people needed to have 2000 pounds of goods to cross into Canada. Whether he did that for humanitarian reasons to prevent starvation of goldrushers, or whether it was a political decision to make it more difficult for the thousands of stampeders to overwhelm Canada, we do not know. We do know that Mounties were then equipped with gatling guns at the pass to enforce the law. After his decision, he did not serve very long and resigned soon after in 1898. He died on July 25, 1905 at his elaborate home called “Indian Cliff” in Brockville Ontario at the age of 62. According to his obituary he was sick for 10 days, from an “affection of the heart”.
Mount Walsh in Kluane National Park is named after him.
Mills p. 11, 61; Wikipedia; p59 of Klondike Stampeders Register; gent-family.com
Assistant Commissioner McIllree of the NWMP arrived in Skagway on the Steamer Queen on August 14, 1897.
He was born on this day, February 28, 1849 in Kingston, Jamaica and died on May 17, 1925 in Victoria. He served in the NWMP from 1873 to 1911 when he retired.
While in Skagway he was laid up with a bad ankle and diarrhea and wrote this:
“The trail is a terror, there is no doubt of that, and no one can form an idea of it unless he goes over it himself. One of our horses got his foot in a crevce and broke the leg clean off and went on three legs until stopped and shot. Another horse died and the balance are in bad shape: sore backs, cut legs & c., and I am afraid we cannot work them much longer… Would you let my wife know I am getting on all right. You can imagine how awful it is to lay on your back all day in this little dark shack, thinking, nothing but thinking.” Seen above with his horse is Asst. Commissioner McIllree
Mission Klondike, Sinclair; civil servants online;Dobrowolsky p. 26; http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/nwmp-pcno/025003-1201-e.html.
POLICING THE PLAINS Being the real life record of the famous ROYAL NORTH-WEST MOUNTED POLICE By R. G. MACBETH, M.A.http://www.mcilree.co.uk/john_henry_mcilree.html
On this day, February 1, 1899, a U.S. Marine died in Skagway. He is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Juneau. I can only guess that he was part of the 14th Infantry that had arrived in December 1897.(The main body of the 14th Infantry, companies A, B, G, and H arrived in February 1898 from Fort Vancouver, Washington with orders from the War Department to stay “at least through the coming summer”.)
When the troops first heard of their destination, an air of excitement pervading the barracks. “All were wild to go, and each feared his company might be kept back to man the garrison at Vancouver.” Soldiers leapt into action, rapidly preparing equipment, supplies, and Klondike clothing for the journey. Throughout the Vancouver/Portland area, preparations and goodbyes began as the army prepared to move most of the 14th Infantry north.
Once they arrived, their enthusiasm turned to despair: “Colder than blazes and blowing like thunder described this place from one week’s end to another,” wrote one young soldier the following month. “You never saw a more disgusted set of fellows in your life than our men”.
Politically, the arrival of the troops was meant to cement the U.S. occupation and the boundary with Canada. When Colonel Thomas McArthur Anderson and the troops of the 14th Infantry arrived, they encountered a major of the Canadian Mounted Police – probably Zachary Taylor Wood, with five men and a British flag flying overhead. A potential international conflict began as Anderson ordered the major to remove the flag and move his men to the Canadian boundary, a division determined by the United States. Outnumbered, the flag came down and the Mounties shed their uniforms while in town.
The photo above is of a soldier (Ernest Rue Davidson) in 1899. He was part of the 14th Infantry that went to the Phillipines, so he may or may not have come to Skagway, but it is a good image of the uniform.
Juneau Evergreen Cemetery website; Ft Vancouver NHS online manuscript: “Part 2-The Waking of a Military Town, Fort Vancouver and the Vancouver National Historic Reserve 1898-1920”; Anderson, Arline, “Daughter of Uncle Sam”, Unpublished Manuscript (Vancouver, Washington: Fort Vancouver Regional Library, n.d.), 83.
Inspector Strickland of the NWMP was born on this day, November 2, 1868 in Ontario Canada. IN 1898 he was in charge of the Canadian border station at White Pass. Strickland was a big, beefy man and, judging from the photos taken of him, he tended not to wear the standard NWMP uniform. According to his disapproving superior, Inspector Charles Constantine, Strickland was a fun-loving person, “what is generally known as a good fellow” with “a taste for low company [and] a decided fondness for drink.”
Strickland was accompanied to the Yukon by his wife Tannis and their son Roland (seen above); his daughter Frances was born at Tagish Post in 1899. Strickland was an important figure in the early days of the NWMP in the Yukon. He supervised the construction of the Tagish Post in 1897.
After leaving the Yukon he went to the Boer War in South Africa as Adjutant of the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles. He died at Fort Saskatchewan in 1908 at the age of 40 from cardial dropsy, perhaps something he contracted in Africa.
www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca; familysearch; Dobrowolsky