The Aggees came to Skagway from Telluride Colorado. Alonzo Aggee and his sons Roy and Harry arrived via the Chilkoot Pass on October 9, 1899 yet Alonzo, his wife Martha or Madie Crouch and their son Alonzo Jr.(Sam), daughters Helen and Ollie all show up on the Skagway census in 1900. They may have been in the process of moving to Dawson when the census took place. Oddly, despite the fact that they were one of the few African-American families in the Yukon, the Skagway census lists them as being white.
Alonzo worked for a time as a deckhand on the steamers going up and down the Yukon River. Then he settled down in Dawson City as a barber, and the rest of the family, including his wife Martha, sons Sam and Harry, and daughter Helen arrived soon after.
Harry and Roy worked as barbers with their father, but in 1901 Roy, the oldest son, died of peritonitis. The family carried on. Sam gained fame as a member of Dawson City’s 1910 championship hockey team. He died in 1925 in Tacoma. Harry died in 1917 in Seattle and Martha in 1930. Alonzo L. Aggee outlived them all and died at the age of 81 in Skagit, Washington on December 21, 1940.
-On the Trail of the Yukon’s Black Pioneers by Kilian; Washington death records; Skagway 1900 census.
Happy birthday, December 19, 1859 or 1861, to Dr. Hornsby, surgeon for the White Pass Railroad, editor of the Daily Alaskan and member of Skagway City Council. Unfortunately he was also a friend and likely co-conspirator with Soapy. In the coroners report for Ella Wilson, the black woman who was murdered by strangulation in her bed, Hornsby’s report said the death was “unintentional” and the case was forgotten in all the excitement of the day. He also apparently failed to publish an account of the Stewart robbery, no doubt at Soapy’s request. After the death of Soapy, the town “rounded up” various supporters and associates. To quote Hornsby: “I was sent out of Skagway in a most arbitrary manner. The United States Commission said there were no charges against me, but that he had no power to combat the citizens’ committee that had put me on the boat at the point of loaded Winchesters.” In any event, he left and went to Eagle and then back to Chicago where he became superintendent of a hospital, then on to Washington D.C. where all good scoundrels end up. He appears to have died in 1939 at the age of 80.
Seen above are the 10 members and friends of Soapy that were rounded up. I don’t know which one is Dr. Hornsby, but I would guess it is the guy in the center saying to toss your eggs carefully (this doctored photo was used in 2008 for our Egg-Toss).
-Jeff Smith page 574 in “Alias Soapy Smith”;Haigh p.89: The book of Chicagoans by Albert Nelson Marquis online
The New York Times of March 22, 1898 reported that a black prostitute had shot and killed a laboring man at the entrance to her cabin in the saloon district in Skagway. According to the captains of the Alki and the Hueneme the murder started as a result of trouble which began early on Monday evening over the disappearance of the man’s watch.
Apparently nothing was done to investigate this, but on May 28, 1898 – only two months later, Ella D. Wilson, a black prostitute or laundress, was strangled in her bed and her belongings stolen. Her house was on Holly Street, the same neighborhood. Perhaps the murder of Ella Wilson was simply retribution or frontier justice for the earlier murder. Although it was widely rumored that she had $3000, it is highly unlikely that a poor black prostitute could have amassed that much money. Even the high priced call girls made little money. Anyway I will check the local newspapers and see if there is a connection….
Dahl; Skagway death/coroners inquest and probate record