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!


Robert Bruce Banks

Robert Banks was born June 11, 1858 in Windom Minnesota, the 17th child of 21 from his father James Monroe Banks born in 1792 in Pennsylvania.

Banks is mostly famous for drowning in Lynn Canal when the Clara Nevada blew up upon leaving Skagway on February 5, 1898.
Robert Bruce Banks was about 40 when he died and he was trying to find work in Skagway as a woodcutter. His wife Josephine and their 6 children ages 2 through 16, waited for him to return in the Bellingham area. Here is the last letter he wrote to his family three days before he boarded the Clara Nevada:

Skagway Feb. 2,1898
Dear Josie,
I sent out a letter Monday on S.S. Noyo but we hear she is on a rock between here and Juno. I had hired out then to go on the wagon road to work but when I got out there they said they already had too many men. There are ten carpenters for every days work here. The weather has been very cold and windy for 4 days. We are very healthy,, but I did not come here for health or poverty. Had plenty of that before. Wood cutting is $2. per cord now, and buck our own timber, pay uncertain. In fact pay here is generally uncertain. I have not had a line from you to date except letter in Seattle. Unless something good turns up soon, I will return to Seattle. I can earn a little money there before spring. Alki is expected Friday, then I surely shall hear from you and return on her unless things look better.
With much lonesomeness
R B Banks

Letter one of many and Photo above is courtesy of family on genforum and rootsweb.