John Wilson Snook

John Snook was the nephew of Marshal James McCain Shoup who was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood and the Midnight Sun Conspiracy. Perhaps Shoup was suspicious of everyone and so appointed his young nephew Snook (sometimes incorrectly spelled Shook) to be a Marshal in Dyea in February 1898 after Marshal Rowan was shot.
John Snook was only 22 years old, born October 20, 1876 in Salmon Idaho. He was only Marshal until April of 1898, (perhaps things got a little out of hand, more than he could handle). In any event, he made one very good contact while in Skagway – the sister of Frederick Clayson (famous Christmas Eve murder December 1899).
Charlotte Clayson was a bit younger than John, she was only 14 in 1898. So John waited until 1903 and married Charlotte in Portland Oregon. They moved to Salmon Idaho soon after and had at least two boys, John and Frederick there. John Wilson Snook was active in Republican politics in the 1920’s in Idaho. There is a law firm in Salmon that bears the Snook name, so apparently the law played an important part of this family’s tradition.
Charlotte’s sister, Esther Clayson Pohl was the subject of an earlier blog for her work in Portland.
John W. Snook had a long life, and died at the age of 99 in 1975 in Salmon Idaho. Charlotte, his wife of 67 years, had died in 1970. Seen above is the Salmon Idaho Cemetery where they probably lie.

“Law of the Yukon” Dobrowsky; 1909 AB book;;1902 directory, family chronicles; Mission Klondike by Sinclair; Mills; familysearch

Christmas Day Murders 1899

On this day, December 25, 1899 one of the most famous triple homicides in Yukon history occurred. Although it happened in the Yukon, it involved a young man,26 years old, Frederick Clayson who came to Skagway with his widowed mother and brothers and sisters. They started a general store here which continued until at least 1915. One sister, Ester was married to Dr. Pohl of Skagway.
The murder occurred at Minto and was done by perhaps two men who laid in wait for travelers. George O’Brien shot and beat to death Clayson, Olsen and Lynne Relf. His crimes went undiscovered for some weeks despite the Clayson family pushing the NWMP to investigate. One especially brilliant Mountie did a crime scene search once the bodies were discovered. The bodies had been pushed into the river but floated downstream. The NWMP interviewed many people and eventually discovered the murderer who had stolen a dog that belonged to one of the men they killed. The dog was a large yellow dog which the Mounties then used to lead them to the scene of the crime. This investigation led to George O’Brien’s subsequent execution in Dawson and became the source of the saying “They always get their man” when referring to the Mounties. The second murderer was never caught, but it was thought he died soon after anyway.

Fred Clayson had been returning from Dawson on a bicycle – an astonishing feat in itself! His family later moved to Oregon and one of his sisters became a famous physician there.
The picture above is of Fred’s mother, Annie Quinton Clayson and is from the OHSU website from the Ester Pohl Lovejoy collection.