This Case and Draper photo is from 1904 in Skagway. You can see AB Mountain behind.

Winfield Scott Woolever

W.S. Woolever was born on this day, May 17, 1863.    Before heading out for the gold rush, he was a partner in a hardware store in Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada.  He caught gold fever and abandoned his wife Clara (Ayres) and his two daughters,  Miriam and Yula.  The daughters had a brief reunion with him some years later in Seattle at which time, he gave my grandmother Miriam his  gold rush journal. For those interested in his journal is presently at the Wallaceburg museum.

Between 1901 and 1904 Woolever staked gold claims in the Yukon and actually came away with some profits. During his time here in Skagway, he became an active member of the Arctic Brotherhood. Woolever married Paulina Scott Banks after 1905. When Paulina died in 1927 Woolever met Daisy Banks Haner, also a widow in 1926.  They married on August 01, 1927 in Whatcom Co., WA.

Winfield Scott Woolever died on May 4, 1945 in Wickersham, Washington at the age of 82. Seen above is his third wife, Daisy with her son Lawrence Haner, born 1912, and taken at their Wickersham, Washington home.

Paulina was not the sister of Robert Bruce Banks who died in the fiery explosion of the Clara Nevada here in Skagway in 1898.

Many thanks to John Martin for the early history in Ontario, and to Beverly Banks Hammer and Malcolm Haner, grandson of Daisy for setting this story correct!  As with all family histories, the true stories lie with the family, not all of which are as stalwart as we would hope. I just try to spotlight the goldrushers for their feats here in Skagway and the Klondike!


Edward J. Shaw

Edward J. Shaw was born in 1859 in Massachusetts. He arrived in Skagway early in the century and first worked on Moore’s Wharf and as a bookkeeper. He also worked as a gardener and for the Alaska Steamship Company as an agent. He was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood and was on City Council from 1903-1906. He was a U.S. Commissioner in 1906 as seen above, he is the one standing to the far right. By 1906 he served as Skagway Mayor and as City Manager. By 1920 he was married to Marian, but I could find no record of them after the 1920 census.

1905, 1915,1920.1909 AB book, agent for Ak SS Co ; Barley photo; Thornton

Ezra Tobey Pope

Ezra T. Pope was born on March 2, 1868 in Sandwich, Massachusetts. He went to Amherst College from 1886-1889. He then worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad from 1890 to 1894 and then became Superintendent of the Northern Pacific wharves in Seattle until 1898 when the gold rush started and he moved north. He became General Agent for the Washington-Alaska Steam Ship Company and Treasurer for the Southeastern Alaska Fish Company. He was purser on the City of Seattle with Hunter as captain and he was also one of the original members of the Arctic Brotherhood and a City Councilman here in Skagway in 1901. His wife Lona Henrietta and sons Ezra Jr. and Augustus must have also been here. They all moved back to Seattle where Ezra and Lona passed away in 1948 and 1920 respectively. The photo above is definitely on Broadway and may be Ezra. It is a snapshot from Ancestry.

Joseph Chisel

Joe Chisel was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood in 1905 and ran a gambling house and later a General Drug Store in Haines. Seen above is the store he ran with his brother in the 1920’s in Haines. Joe was born on this day, June 6, 1868 in Bavaria Germany
and came to the U.S. with his mother, Frances, in 1869 when he was nine months old. He came to Alaska during the 1897 Gold Rush and changed the spelling of his name to Chisel from Schisel.
His brother Albert was born in Wisconsin (see earlier blog on his untimely death in Haines over a dog.) Joseph died in 1946 in Portland.

family website;

Frank M. Woodruff

Mr. Woodruff was born in 1853 in Wisconsin and came to Skagway in 1898 from Seattle. He was an early member of the Arctic Brotherhood and in fact donated the land where the AB Hall now sits. Woodruff was involved in several businesses, the Northern Commercial Company – a company that operated retail stores in Alaska from 1901 to 1992, the Bowen and Woodruff Crockery, and he was the Secretary and Treasurer of the Alaska General Electric Company.
The Northern Commercial Company stores throughout Alaska often served as the village courthouse and post office as well. Much trade in the stores was bartered, as few people had cash. The stores accepted such items as gold, fish and furs in exchange for merchandise. The stores were often the nucleus of small communities and communities often grew because of the stores. The company also owned several steamer boats that transported goods on the rivers. Seen above are some that belonged to the Northern Commercial Company in winter.

Frank and his family moved on to other parts of Alaska and he died on this day, May 19, 1920 in Alaska.

1900 census;1902directory;family chron; Skagway Museum Record; Fairbanks News list

John Garland Price

J.G. Price was born on this day, April 4, 1868 in Iowa. He became a lawyer and came to Skagway in August 1898 from Rico, Colorado. He married Maybelle Dent here on February 14, 1899 and later that year had a daughter Alma or Ruth, but she was born in Oregon. They had 4 children altogether: Alma/Ruth, Rachel, John Jr., and William who died in infancy.
John G. Price was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood and wrote “The Arctic Brotherhood” in the Alaska-Yukon Magazine in April 1905. He worked for the Price & Stevens Law firm and was a lobbyist in 1899 to Washington D.C. He retired to Washington state where he died in 1957 on Mercer Island.
According to Ashley at the ArcticBrotherhood blogspot, he was a supporter of “home rule”. Seen above is a demonstration in front of the old Elks Hall (which burned) of folks protesting for “home rule”.

1902;family chronicles GR part website;

William Lucius Churchill

Mr. Churchill was a member of the Skagway Camp of the Arctic Brotherhood in 1898. Born on this day, January 25, 1871 in Montpelier Vermont, he came to Skagway from White Plains New York. He was an engineer, and as such was always looking for a better way to do things. He actually invented a hot water system for thawing frozen gold bearing gravel in the Yukon in 1912.
William L. Churchill’s collection of Alaskan photographs was donated to the State of Alaska Photographic Archives by his grandson, William L. Churchill, in 2006.
The photographs taken by Mr. Churchill depict placer mining, hard rock gold mining and related activities in 1912 and during the Klondike gold rush. Some images document mining engineering practices such as brush retaining walls on streams and thawing of frozen ground to accommodate dredging.
He died in 1936 in White Plains New York.

From: Who’s who in engineering, 1922 online; Alaska State library photo collection; 1912 directory online.