Frank Hawley Darling

On December 5, 1898 there was a snow avalanche at Crater Lake that buried 5 people, among whom were Mrs. Lizzie M. Clay Darling and her husbands two sons who were teenagers. She and Frank Hawley Darling were married on May 23, 1891 when she was 21 years old. Possibly Frank had been married before but I could only find the marriage record for Lizzie.
Frank was born in 1855 in New York and it is possible that he was an artist in California early in his career.
He waited for Lizzie and his sons to arrive at Lake Lindeman, but they never made it. After losing his family he returned to Seattle and worked as a clerk until his death on this day, December 6, 1925 – 27 years and a day after the tragedy.

P.S. Although the newspapers reported that he had two sons that died, the NWMP report stated there were 4 men: Warren, Rouhl, Johnston (Bert Jones), and Harry Shaw as well as Mrs. Darling. She was too young to have two teenage sons even from a previous marriage. If Frank had two other sons, then their names would have been Darling also. I checked the censuses in Washington and did not find that he had been previously married or that he had sons. Furthermore, if he took his wife down to Washington to bury her there, why not take these sons too? So in the end I think the newspapers made up the boys to make a more dramatic story. I have not yet found any information on Warren or Rouhl.

Seen above is the cemetery at Lake Lindeman. Perhaps the boys were buried here, but Lizzie was buried in Edmonds, Washington at the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery.
RCMP report online.

Harry Huntington’s letter

Harry wrote a letter to his fiance (later wife) Jennie from Alaska which is dated 1897, but he must have meant 1898 as it is written on the back of a newspaper extra which has the date April 3, 1898 printed on it. The EXTRA published by the Dyea Trail is about the death of eighteen prospectors in a snow slide.

“Sheeps Camp April 7, 1897, My beloved Wife:-How I wish I was on my way to meet you My Love My all. If tomorrow is a good day we will bid adieu to Sheep Camp and take up our abode at Lake Linder Mon. We were on the summit yesterday, paid our duty and took most of our freight down the hill out to Crater Lake. Wolff and Percival will finish up today. I went as far as the stables and brought back the dogs. Yesterday I dug my freight out of about eight feet of snow, you can see men all over the trail digging out their “caches”, some will never find theirs. Today is warm and the sun shines brightly on the snow covered Peaks. Up to yesterday fifty one bodies have been taken from the snow slide, and some that are alive are in evidence now of the awful experience of being under the snow and couldn’t move a muscle. I talked with one man that was in 45 minutes. He said he could breathe alright and was very comfortable physically but not mentally.
The search for the misfortunate was kept up until last night no one being allowed to pass the Place with a pack or load. There is no one at work this morning and I guess they have given it up. The snow slide made no noise whatever and wasn’t even heard by the ones that were caught.
We never left our camp during the storm and don’t work any stormy days, we have lost a lot of time but it has given us an opportunity to get mail from our dear ones a home. I hate to leave on that account. I rec. a nice letter from Halla yesterday, and I got it by accident too.
One of the Crossley boys was down Sheeps Camp and saw my name on front of a store.(?) There are two places to get mail and I suppose they got it on account of having “Please Forward to Sheeps Camp” on it. You can address your letters to Takish House North West Territory from now on They come from Dyea the 20th of each month.”

from “The Descendents of Nathaniel Huntington” online genealogy book.

Wilbert Garfield Packard

There are records of a total of 98 people that died on April 3, 1898. All but three died in the avalanche on the Chilkoot Pass.
Wilbert Garfield Packard of Riverside California, born on this day, September 20, 1881 also died on that terrible day, but he died, along with two other men, of spinal meningitis. His marker in the Dyea Slide Cemetery says he was 16 years and 8 months old, the beloved son of Charles and Emma Packard of Los Angeles.

Packard family site on Genforum.

An almost love story

Most folks have heard of the April 3, 1898 avalanche and how it swept away 100 people, with about 85 people dying and being buried in the Dyea Slide Cemetery. But have you heard of the strange case of Arthur L. Jappe and his “sweetheart” Vernie Woodward who saved him?
Pierre Berton wrote that when Jappe’s lifeless body was dragged out of the snow, Vernie was beside herself. Now, not being one to stand by and accept things, she worked on him for three hours, moving his arms and legs, pumping on his chest and breathing warm air into his lungs. Smart girl! It worked! Jappe came to – and supposedly uttered her name. We all assumed they lived happily ever after, but no, when I looked into it, I could not find Vernie at all, but I did find Mr. Jappe – and his wife and 5 kids back in New York. Turns out he had gotten married to Katherine Henrietta Reuflei in August of 1897 and had gone to Alaska soon after.
So he must have returned after his notoriety of surviving the avalanche. The Dyea Trail newspaper of the time reported that Jappe feigned ignorance of his relationships with Vernie, but it would seem that after the newspapers blew the story all out of proportion, poor Jappe felt the need to return to New York and do some explaining.

Pierre Berton, The Klondike Fever p 265; Snowstruck: in the Grip of Avalanches by Jill Fredston; familysearch; One Came Late by Allen p 319.

Stanley and Annie McLellan

I was going through some old files today and happened onto a note from the sister of Stanley Alexander McLelland and his wife Annie Lettice Sterling McLellan.
This 1988 note was from Hazel M. Swan of Nelson, B.C. who was looking for information on the deaths of her brother and his new wife (they had married in 1909 in Atlin, B.C.)
I did a little research and found that they died in an avalanche in 1911, and by coincidence on October 5.
“The small Ben-My-Chree mine [on Lake Atlin] employed crews of between 10 and 60 men. Stanley and Anne McLellan lived in a small stone house high in the mountains and close to the mine, which was 5,000 feet above lake level. On October 5, 1911, tragedy struck. From 500 feet above them, from the crest of a hanging glacier 500 feet, an avalanche roared down and buried the Ben-My-Chree mine. The McLellans, who were peeling potatoes in their house, were killed instantly. The couple were then buried at Atlin.”
The mine was closed for good, but the Partridges opened a small hotel there which was very popular in the 20’s and 30’s. Today the only way to get there is by boat or floatplane.

Skagway city records;

John Laurence Fetter

Not a good day to be at the top of the Chilkoot Pass. Mr. Fetter died there on this day, March 22, 1898 and was buried in Dyea. He was born in Oregon and was only 36 when he died. His brother Vernor died two weeks later in the big avalanche of April 4, 1898. He too is buried in the little Dyea cemetery.