Skookum Jim, Mary his wife, and Daisy 1900

Skookum Jim or Keish, Mason (1856-1916) was the brother to Kate Carmack who was married to George Carmack. Keish could carry 156 pounds of bacon over the Chilkoot Pass in one trip.  Mary (1874-1927) was his wife. Daisy, his daughter, or Saayna aat, (1895-1938) studied Drama in San Francisco but had to sell her Dad’s house to pay for his funeral.

George Carmack by Johnson; Life Lived Like a Story.

Tagish Charley

Yeil Saagi Yelidoogu Xoonk’I Eesh. His mother was Nadagaat Tlaa Kaachgaawaa who was sister to Kate Shaaw Tlaa Mason (Mrs. George Carmacks). Tagish Charley’s wife, also named Nadagaat froze to death in a blizzard on the Chilkoot Pass with her infant in 1890, while her husband was leading a party on the trail.

Charley was born about 1865 in Tagish. He guided early parties but was not involved in the discovery of gold.

He drowned in Carcross on November 14, 1905 and is buried in Carcross, his headstone shows him to be of the beaver clan.; Pierre Berton; Jennifer Duncan Frontier Spirit p 69

A little Avalanche

On December 9, 1898 there was a small but deadly avalanche on the other side of the Chilkoot Pass at Crater Lake. Apparently 6 people were killed: Mrs Darling and her two sons, one unidentified man, Mr. Bert Jones and Mr. Harry Shaw. although I tried to find out any further details, I could not and there is no record of their burials here in Skagway although reports said that their bodies were perfectly preserved when dug out. Above is an 1898 image of Crater Lake from the summit of the pass.

New York Times December 21, 1898.

Avalanche survival story

On April 3, 1898 there was an Avalanche on the Chilkoot Pass that buried 80-100 people. I have unique names of 85 people who were reported buried and suffocated to death.
However there were several survival stories. There was a dog and an ox who were dug up after several days who seemed none too upset by the experience. There reportedly was a woman who had been buried head-down and was “hysterical” when dug out (who wouldn’t be?). But the best story of all is that of Vernie Woodward and her beau Al Joppe. Joppe was pulled from the snow and Vernie was shown his lifeless body. But she had not come this far to bury her man. So she “flung herself hysterically upon Joppe’s limp figure” [why do men love the word hysterical?] She yelled at him to return to her, moved his arms and legs, rubbed his back and breathed warm air into his lungs and prayed. For three hours she persisted despite men trying to drag her away, and LO! Joppe suddenly opened his eyes and spoke her name! Voila!

Seen above is a profile of the trail, picture going up this in spring with tons of snow hanging above you.

from Pierre Berton, The Klondike Fever p 265-266.

McCafferty and See

On this day, April 10, 1898 two men in Dyea died of tuberculosis. John McCafferty was from Montgomery County, Missouri and was described by his friend, William Thomas Painter in a letter: “John McCaferty was a big strong man. Went to Alaska in the Gold Rush 1898, most likely died on the Chillcoot Pass (where many failed to get over the terriable mountain) never heard from.”
The other man who died, Thomas E. See was also from Montgomery County Missouri and they traveled together from Missouri. From Mr. See’s obiturary: “…It seems that they died of an influenza peculiar to that climate. Mr. See was a brother to R. E. See, Marshal of the Missouri Supreme Court.” Everett Barton was a County Clerk and he traveled with both See and McCafferty. Seen above is the photo of that party. (Mr. See was 32 years old, McCafferty was 37. So See is probably the fellow on the lower left.)
Here is part of Barton’s journal:
“Our party, four in number, Lee Gregory, Thomas See, Frank White and myself left Montgomery City, August 9th, 1897, to embark on a journey of thousands of miles fraught with many hardships and dangers, passing through and making changes at Kansas City, Mo., Billings, Montana, on to Seattle, Washington, where we purchased our outfit and boarded the steamer City of Kingston, which plied the waters known as the Inside Channel extending north.”
Barton later mentioned McCafferty being part of the party:
“The toll from our county alone, being Thomas See, John McCafferty, Charlie Nebal, Mr. Frank Purcell who met his death at Seattle, also a Mr. Watson who died soon after reaching his home in Callaway county. As one Writer has said in writing of the many deaths in the early gold mining in Colorado. “Many with folded arms and rigid faces were consigned by strangers to hill-side graves with no child’s voice to prattle its simple sorrow, no woman’s tears to be-dew their memory”. Charlie Nebal or Nebel was 24 and died on the Chilkoot Pass also, but there is no record of his burial.

The Dyea Trail said that both See and McCafferty were buried in the Dyea Cemetery.

Dyea Trail: March 12, 1898: website:
Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma, 23 March 1898

William Ogilvie

Ogilvie was born on this day, April 7, 1846 on a farm in Gloucester Township, Ottawa of Irish and Scottish immigrant parents. After learning the skill of surveying, he worked locally as a land surveyor. Later he qualified as a Dominion Land Surveyor and was first hired by the Dominion government in 1875. From 1887 to 1889, Ogilvie was involved in George Mercer Dawson’s exploration and survey expedition in what later became the Yukon Territory. With the packing help of Skookum Jim Mason, along with George and Kate Carmack, he surveyed the Chilkoot Pass, as well as the Yukon and Porcupine rivers. Ogilvie established the location of the boundary between the Yukon and Alaska on the 141st meridian west.

During the Klondike Gold Rush, he surveyed the townsite of Dawson City and was responsible for settling many disputes between miners. Ogilvie became the Yukon’s Land Surveyor and Commissioner to the Yukon Territory between July 5, 1898 and March 1901 when he resigned due to poor health.

He later wrote “Early Days on the Yukon” published in 1913. He died November 13, 1912 of poor health in Winnipeg.

“The Yukon Territory”; Wikipedia

Albert J. Goddard

Albert J. Goddard was an engine designer from Iowa who saw an opportunity to cash in on the gold rush. With the help of his wife, Clara, Goddard planned to take two steamboats into the Yukon over the White Pass during the winter of 1897 so that they could take the first cargo down the river in the spring. The little “A.J. Goddard” was prefabricated in San Francisco and Seattle. But Goddard discovered that moving the boats over the pass was not as easy as he thought. He and his wife were forced to move the vessels in bits and pieces across the steep White Pass, a job that took the entire winter, forcing them to endure deathly cold and physical exhaustion. The Goddards’ determination paid out in the end, as they established the first steamboat link between the gold fields and the Pacific coast. After building the boats at Lake Bennett, they plied the Yukon River in 1898, and then left the Yukon in 1901 when the A.J. Goddard sank.

In 2008 a Yukon River Survey team discovered the A.J.Goddard in 40 feet of water on Lake Laberge. It had foundered in a fall storm in 1901, sinking at the north end of the lake and killing three men.

While diving on the boat, they saw two axes lying on the deck at the bow where they were dropped after the crew apparently cut away a barge in tow. One firebox door is open and stuffed with unburned wood, suggesting the crew tried to restart the boiler fire as the ship was foundering.

Goddard died in 1958 at the age of 94. Clara the faithful wife died in 1953 at the age of 89. I guess hard work did not kill them. I am reminded of a ghost story I heard about ten years ago. A friend who was staying at Sheep Camp at the ranger cabin was getting ready to retire one night when she heard people outside. She heard a man saying to his wife, “Come on Clara, it’s not much further, we’re almost there…” My friend opened the door expecting to see them on the trail, but to her surprise, there was no one there, she looked up and down the trail. This story is true, my friend is a very sensible person who would not make up a story. Of course that was the Chilkoot Trail and the Goddards used the White Pass trail, still…..

Pierre Berton; Daily Alaskan 1898; familysearch; online obit; Explorenorth.

Captain Charles Constantine

On this day, August 11, 1897 Capt Constantine of the NWMP foresaw problems with the goldrush and instituted the requirement for each miner to bring 1000 pounds of supplies with him when crossing into the Yukon. An excerpt from Pierre Berton:

Despite the precautions enforced by the North West Mounted Police, there were many who made it to the Yukon without proper provisions. “[Charles] Constantine of the Mounted Police viewed the situation with foreboding. As early as August 11 [1897] he had written bluntly to Ottawa that `the outlook for grub was not assuring for the number of people here–about four thousand crazy or lazy men, chiefly American miners and toughs from the coast towns'” (p. 172). Company stores in the region were also aware of probable shortages. “The company clerks admitted only one man at a time, locked the door behind him as they would the door of a vault, sold him a few day’s goods, and sent him on his way. A man could have half a million dollars in gold–as many of them did–and still be able to buy only a few pounds of beans, but it was sometime before the newcomers could understand this. They found it hard to comprehend a situation in which gold by itself was worthless” (pp. 172-173).

Klondike Fever by Berton

Edward James Glave

Mr. Glave was a reporter for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine in the 1880’s and 1890’s. He is famous for having crossed the Chilkoot Pass out of Dyea without Native guides in 1890.
“Upon the arrival of white traders, the Chilkats acting as middlemen between the traders and Athabascans became quite wealthy. This trade monopoly was not broken until 1890 when E. J. Glave, John (Jack) Dalton and several others were hired by Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper of New York to “explore the Interior of Alaska and discover the headwaters and tributaries of the Yukon, Copper, Alsek and Chilkat Rivers.”

Edward Glave was born in 1863 in England and died on this day, May 12, 1895 in the Congo, suddenly. He was only 32.
The picture above is of Dalton and someone else who may be Glave.

Gates, 1994; Yukon Prospectors webpage

Daniel Lopez

Daniel Lopez was born in San Luis Obispo in 1870 or 1871. His father Leonardo came to California from Mexico to farm and married Raphaela.

Daniel was a barber and a reporter who was sent to the Klondike to report on all the activity here. Unfortunately he only made it as far as the Chilkoot Pass because on December 13, 1898 he died there of exposure. The winter of 1898-1899 was the most severe winter for decades. Today in Skagway it is a balmy 27 degrees F. with no wind and a light dusting of snow.