William Edward George

Captain George was known as the “father of Alaska pilots”. He was born on this day, April 23, 1834 in London England.
Capt W.E. George sold the ship Alpha and was employed by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company, of San Francisco, operating the State of California, the Ancon, the Idaho and other famous vessels of the early steam-boating days, north from Portland, Oregon. In 1897 he joined the steamer City of Seattle at the time of the Klondike rush, operating on the Skagway run for Dodwell & Company. Captain W.E.George, skipper of the excursion steamer Idaho, one night in 1883, made an error. Confidently, he sailed up a long, sheltered inlet that offered an attractive shortcut to Sitka, only to run aground in the shallows that blocked the head of the inlet. The inlet retains the name of Idaho, recalling for posterity the captain’s misfortune.
His son, Frederick T. was a sailor on the Alki, when in 1902 fell off of the Moore’s Wharf and drowned. Frederick was only 27 and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.
Captain George died in Vancouver in 1922 and is buried in Victoria. the photo above shows a captain on the vessel “City of Seattle” and it may be Capt. George

from the Skagway Death Records and a family rootsweb posting.

Unlikely survivors of the Princess Sophia

On October 24, 1918 the Princess Sophia with all 356 human passengers onboard sank after running aground on the rocks at Vanderbilt reef in the Lynn Canal. There were however, two non-human survivors: one was a dog that jumped ship and swam ashore to save itself (very un-Lassie like, surely he could have dragged a couple of women and children ashore with him).
The other survivor is less known: Polly the Parrot.
Now Captain Alexander and his supposed wife left the mine near Atlin to head south for a holiday (like many of us do these days). Along the way he dropped off his parrot, Polly, who he claimed was over 45 years old, at the hotel in Carcross which also had a bar. When the good Captain and “wife” did not return Polly was left in Carcross where he spouted obscenities at the patrons for the next 50 years. When Polly died he was buried in the Carcross cemetery with a little brass plaque near the gate. Over the years people have added little toys to the grave, although I admit I haven’t been there in 2 years.
When the courts were settling the estate of Captain Alexander, his wife and daughter in England set the record straight that they were not with him on the Princess Sophia. Then who was this mysterious woman who drowned? Hmmm, the clot plickens….

In this photo Capt James Alexander is seated in the middle and “Mrs. Alexander” is holding the bird in the doorway.

S.S. Islander sunk

The British S.S. Islander owned by the Canadian Pacific Navigation company, collided with floating ice which cut through the port bow into the water-tight bulkheads and to the coal bunkers. The ship sank in 20 minutes. The crew of 62 men plus another 20 passengers all drowned.

This occurred at 2 o’clock a.m. on Thursday August 15, 1901 between Douglas and Admiralty Islands. The report was written to Edward Scott Busby, the Canadian Custom Office in Skagway, by the Senior Purser in Juneau on August 17, 1901.

You can see the original document with the names at: