Thomas McInnes was a son of Dr. T R. McInnes, a Senator, and subsequently Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.
Tom was born at Dresden, Ontario, October 29th, 1867. He graduated in 1889 from the University of Toronto. In December 1868, he married and shortly afterwards registered as a student-at-law. He was called to the Bar, in 1893.
In 1896-7 Tom McInnes was Secretary of the Behring Sea Claims Commission. But in August of 1897 until sometime in 1898 he was a member of the Yukon special police and customs force at Skagway. I have read that the Mounties in Skagway were dressed at first and then later not in uniform because it offended locals. (Z.T. Wood, another NWMP stationed in Skagway stated that he once hit the floor of his office when shots were flying in the street, so apparently they did have an office here also.)
In 1898-1900, the ever-natty McInnes was private secretary to his father, the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. In 1907, he officiated as secretary of the British Columbia Salmon Fisheries Commission. McInnes died in 1951 in Vancouver, B.C.
McInnes was a poet in the manner of Robert Service. He wrote three volumes of poems: Rhymes of a Rounder, Lonesome Bar and Amber Lands between 1909 and 1913. Here are four lines from “Damozel of Doom”:
” My soul!–a skeleton!–
A rattling little thing,
Twined itself about me
As close as it could cling!”
Minter page 134; Skagway Museum Record.
for more of his corny poetry go to:
I found this wonderful site that has the entire diary and photos of Bruce Wark:
Above is his receipt from the Canadian tax collector Rant at Lake Bennett from June 1899.
On this day, August 11, 1897 Capt Constantine of the NWMP foresaw problems with the goldrush and instituted the requirement for each miner to bring 1000 pounds of supplies with him when crossing into the Yukon. An excerpt from Pierre Berton:
Despite the precautions enforced by the North West Mounted Police, there were many who made it to the Yukon without proper provisions. “[Charles] Constantine of the Mounted Police viewed the situation with foreboding. As early as August 11  he had written bluntly to Ottawa that `the outlook for grub was not assuring for the number of people here–about four thousand crazy or lazy men, chiefly American miners and toughs from the coast towns'” (p. 172). Company stores in the region were also aware of probable shortages. “The company clerks admitted only one man at a time, locked the door behind him as they would the door of a vault, sold him a few day’s goods, and sent him on his way. A man could have half a million dollars in gold–as many of them did–and still be able to buy only a few pounds of beans, but it was sometime before the newcomers could understand this. They found it hard to comprehend a situation in which gold by itself was worthless” (pp. 172-173).
Klondike Fever by Berton
The Reverend John Pringle was a Presbyterian minister who came to Skagway in 1898 and went on to build the first hospital, St. Andrews, in Atlin 1900.
Pringle was born in 1852 but died on this day April 20, 1935 in British Columbia.
His brother George was also a Presbyterian Minister (who married Klondike Kate to her husband) and his brother James was a Sergeant with the NWMP who delivered mail from Dawson to Skagway. His sister Lucy worked as a nurse in the Atlin Hospital in 1922.
Quite a family!
The picture above taken by Anton Vogee in 1899 shows Pringle, perhaps his sister and the Presbyterian Church in Atlin.
explorenorth.com; Mitchum p 81; Klondike Mission, Sinclair; Mills; Yukon site
On about this day in 1898 two unknown men were found by the NWMP at Fraser Lake near Tagish. They had frozen to death. Pictured above are the Northwest Mounted Police Yukon Expeditionary Force in their snappy winter dress uniforms.
Minter p. 144
Clara was born January 1, or July 4, 1860 in Ann Arbor Michigan. Her father, Clement Thompson was mayor of Battle Creek. She led a fairly normal life, marrying and having two sons in Michigan.
Then in 1898 she went a little crazy! She came to Skagway and then to the Yukon. Supposedly she married John Cameron in Dawson in 1898, he an RCMP.
She left Yukon Sept 24, 1904 to go to Rexford Hotel, Boston MA. Her husband was J.A. Cameron as she was listed as Mrs. J.A.
Although I’m still working on this case, she apparently ended up back in Skagway on July 21, 1908 where she died of a pelvic abcess. She was 48 years old. Her sons back in Michigan decided not to bring here back to Michigan but to bury her here in Skagway. Perhaps there was a little anger there for abandoning them when they were boys….. But who knows? And what happened to her Mountie Cameron?
Her grave is in the Gold Rush Cemetery.
On this day, December 25, 1899 one of the most famous triple homicides in Yukon history occurred. Although it happened in the Yukon, it involved a young man,26 years old, Frederick Clayson who came to Skagway with his widowed mother and brothers and sisters. They started a general store here which continued until at least 1915. One sister, Ester was married to Dr. Pohl of Skagway.
The murder occurred at Minto and was done by perhaps two men who laid in wait for travelers. George O’Brien shot and beat to death Clayson, Olsen and Lynne Relf. His crimes went undiscovered for some weeks despite the Clayson family pushing the NWMP to investigate. One especially brilliant Mountie did a crime scene search once the bodies were discovered. The bodies had been pushed into the river but floated downstream. The NWMP interviewed many people and eventually discovered the murderer who had stolen a dog that belonged to one of the men they killed. The dog was a large yellow dog which the Mounties then used to lead them to the scene of the crime. This investigation led to George O’Brien’s subsequent execution in Dawson and became the source of the saying “They always get their man” when referring to the Mounties. The second murderer was never caught, but it was thought he died soon after anyway.
Fred Clayson had been returning from Dawson on a bicycle – an astonishing feat in itself! His family later moved to Oregon and one of his sisters became a famous physician there.
The picture above is of Fred’s mother, Annie Quinton Clayson and is from the OHSU website from the Ester Pohl Lovejoy collection.
Beautiful Lake Bennett took its toll on the Stampeders. According to the NWMP Annual Report of 1898, two men drowned in the west arm on October 9, 1897. They were Joe McManus and Peter Vavellof. But what became of their bodies?
There was alot of boat building on Lake Bennett. Some professional boat builders stayed and made their fortune here instead of heading up to Dawson.
On October 8, 1897 four RCMP officers arrived in Skagway on the S.S. Quadra. They were sent here to open an office and report on conditions. They were Inspector Zachary Taylor Wood, Captain Norwood, Major James Walsh (who had met with Sitting Bull), and Hurdman.
Inspector Wood stayed in Skagway off and on and then in May moved his office to Lake Bennett. He reported hearing gunfire on the street of Skagway one day and hitting the deck until the shots stopped. He also described a frightening time moving gold from the Yukon to Victoria, eluding the Soapy gang in Skagway by small boat.
He is a distant cousin of my husband’s family and it is inspiring to know a family member was here in the goldrush. Captain Wood died in 1915 in North Carolina while traveling, but he is buried in Caturaquil Cemetery Kingston Ontario where his family was from.
This photo shows Mrs. Z.T. Wood driving the “last spike” on the WP&YR on June 8, 1900. It says that J.T. is standing next to M.J. Heney. It also says it is in Whitehorse. Another ceremony was in Carcross on July 29, 1900 that was the last spike driven for the entire line, and was re-enacted in 2000.
This day, September 30, 1915 was an unfortunate one for a White Pass & Yukon Route section crew. One of the four, Tom Bokovitch was a German prisoner of war, working his way through the war in the Yukon. With him were Henry Cook, Patrick Kinslow and George Lane.
The four men stopped for a lunch break on the track near Whitehorse when they were approached by a Russian man Alex Gagoff. Gagoff may have thought they laughed at him, in any event, he shot them all dead. He then turned himself in to the NWMP in Whitehorse. He was subsequently tried and hung on a cold (-36 below zero) day in Whitehorse on March 10, 1916.
from Law of the Yukon by Dobrowolsky