Meet the butcher and his family who came to Skagway in the Gold Rush from Tacoma. John Laumister was born in 1850 in Germany and married Mary Ann Clark in Victoria in 1878. Their sons Charles and John Jr. were also butchers and his daughter Lillian married Mr. Black in 1930 in Alaska. Anton Laumister, probably a brother came to Skagway from San Francisco and worked as a miller and butcher also.
Mr. Laumister was in Dawson on March 8, 1917 for the big fire there:
“Fire started at 9:45 o’clock last night in the Yukonia hotel and destroyed that building and several other well known landmarks in the same block. It was 20 below zero, and the fire department made a prompt response and a fine fight was put up by the men of the brigade and by many volunteers. The fire finally was stopped after midnight and by 3 o’clock was entirely subdued. A stiff wind from the south fanned the flames from the start until the finish, and it was most fortunate that the fire was stopped as soon as it was. John Laumeister was badly burned about the head and had to have his head dressed by the surgeon at the hospital but is out and about today. James Purden was with Laumeister and his head and ears were singed. Harry Bridges, Purden and Laumeister were attempting to put out the fire in the hall with the hose when the flames drove them out and they escaped from the lobby just after the volume of heat exploded through the windows of the lobby with a great report…” from the The Daily Alaska Dispatch, Juneau on March 9, 1917.
The fire must have affected Mr. Laumister’s health because he died on this day, January 6, 1918 in St. Mary’s hospital in Whitehorse from pneumonia.
Seen above are the frozen ruins of the Yukonia Hotel following the fire.
Fairbanks news accounts; 1900 Skagway census; familysearch.