Rotary accident

On February 28, 1902 there were two German men pushing a sled north of White Pass along the rail line. The snow was about 3 feet high on each side and apparently one of the men became confused when the train approached and fell in front of the snowplow. The Yukon paper reported his name was Hauser and that he had a wife and kids in Coulee Washington but the Skagway paper reported his name was O. Hauseman and that he had relatives in Oregon. He apparently stayed at the Portland Mizpah Hotel in Skagway before his fateful trip. I could find no record for either name in either Washington or Oregon, so presumably it is screwed up somehow.
Makes you look at that rotary with a little more caution…

Skaguay News March 2, 1902 on microfiche.

Edward James Gray

Mr. Gray was born in England in 1855 and came to Lake Bennett from Victoria where his wife was living. He was working on the sawmill when he had an accident, on this day, November 29, 1899 and died. His body was shipped back to Victoria and he lies with so many other gold rush unfortunates at the Ross Bay Cemetery.

Henry Cross

Henry was born in 1844 in Germany. He shows up in the 1881 census as a miner in the Cassiar District, and then he came to Skagway and worked on the railroad. Unfortunately he got caught between cars and was crushed to death on this day, November 7, 1901 and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery. Another White Pass fatality.
Seen above is a great photo of a train accident, though not from Skagway.

Skagway Death Record

Black Cross Rock

On this day, August 3, 1898 while working on the railroad track at Mile 13, there was a rockslide. A huge rock slid down and buried two workers, Maurice Dunn and Al Jeneux. I have never been able to find any record of those two men, but the story continues to this day by the train agents. At the time, Michael J. Heney decided that it would be too dangerous and costly to blow up the rock to recover the bodies so they were left in place. At first there were rumors that there were more bodies, but White Pass announced that there were only two and erected a small cross with the names there at the rock.


Ernest Friedrich Schmalenbeck

Born on this day, March 13, 1849 in Evangelisch, Wengern Westfalen Preussen (Germany), Ernest caught the gold fever in 1898 and made it to Skagway. In an accident, he lost an eye here and so called it kaput and returned to Germany. His grand-daughter came to Skagway last July and told me this story, one of many stories of gold rushers who returned home with empty pockets but a lifetime of reminiscences to tell his grandchildren. So Happy Birthday Ernie! Here for your entertainment is the Schmalenbeck family crest.

Edward Toreson Hestness

Mr. Hestness was a White Pass section foreman in the 1920 census for Skagway. He was born on this day, March 9, 1879 in Norway. He died in 1924, at the age of 45, in a WP&YR train accident and is buried in the Skagway Pioneer Cemetery. He left behind 5 children and his wife Gertrude. His son Harold hated White Pass for failing to compensate the family and so he went to the University of Washington Law School and became an attorney. The photo above is of another train wreck, taken by J.D. True, but you get the picture.

from: 1910, 1920 and 1929 census and book “After the Gold Rush” by Robert Dahl, son of Dr. Peter Dahl who lived in Skagway at the time.

Ross Starner

Mr. Starner was the owner of the Colorado Pack Train bar. He was from Ornby, Colorado born there in 1865. He was a member of the Knights of Pithias when he accidently shot himself on March 6, 1898. Now there is a grave designated with his name in the Gold Rush cemetery, but there is also the possibility that he was shipped away.
In those days, it was very important to people to have their bodies brought home for burial instead of being buried in some God-forsaken place like Skagway. So, the answer was to join a fraternal organization such as the Eagles, Masons, Knights of Pithias or the International Woodmen of the World. As a member, the organization promised to have your remains shipped home.
The Victoria Daily Colonist reported that the shooting happened on the Dyea trail as a result of the discharge of his own revolver, and that Deputy Marshall Rankin also had a bullet in his leg from a similar accidental discharge. Seems like guys then could have benefited from a gun safety program.

Skagway Death Record; Victoria Daily Colonist March 16, 1898.

William Henry Joy

[Fellow sleuths-happy to report an update to this blog: After some sleuthing and emails from descendants I have made some corrections here, as Mr. Joy was neither a Marshall nor a detective in New York as I had previously reported.]

Happy Birthday to William Joy, born on February 3, 1861 in Montague New York.

In 1899, during the Klondike gold rush, William and his wife Ida May Joy traveled to Skagway with their 4 children. On November 11, 1904 he and his 14 year old son Louis went out goat hunting near Denver Glacier. While trying to traverse a snowy scree covered slope, William handed his 45-90 Winchester rifle to his son Louis. The rifle went off and hit William in the cheek coming out near his ear. He then fell down the slope and hit his head. Although Louis stayed with him for 45 minutes, he eventually ran down the steep slope to the river (1200 feet) to find help. He found a couple of woodcutters who went back up to help, but when they got to the point where Mr. Joy was, they found he had apparently become conscious and then fell an additional 800 feet down the slope. He was not alive when they reached him. The next day, Dr. Brawand, H.D. Clark, Lee Gault, Robert McKay, Fred Buchanan and F.F. Clinton went to retrieve his body and brought it back on a railcar (the track runs near the area). The next day the members of the Chamber of Commerce wrote a resolution to honor Mr. Joy for his work with the Chamber and as an upstanding citizen of Skagway. They also acknowledged the heroic efforts that his son Louis went through to get help. The funeral service on Sunday November 6 was in the Methodist church and done by Rev. Dr. John Parsons. William Joy is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.

After the accident, Ida May and the children returned to New York state. In 1914, Mrs. Joy and her family came back to Alaska to settle in Fairbanks. She remarried Henry Berry in 1917 there and she died in 1920 in Fairbanks. Louis was on the Fairbanks School Board for many years. He ran the electric distribution part of the NC Company power plant/Fairbanks Municipal Utility System. In fact Joy Elementary School in Fairbanks is named for him. Lou was a representative in the Alaska Territorial Legislature (a photo of him is available at the State Museum website). He and his wife retired to Arkansas where he died in 1971.

Skagway news articles of November 2,3,4, 1904; information from descendants.

Everette Dan Logan

On December 26, 1947 Ed Logan, a White Pass machinist, died at Slippery Rock in a railroad accident. He was 35 years old and is buried in the Skagway Pioneer Cemetery.

White Pass set aside $5000 in an account “To provide further amount of reserve for possible claim in settlement with the death of E.D.Logan in connection with wreck of Jordan spreader near M.P. 15 1/5 on Dec. 26, 1947”

this from White Pass records online: