Jerry Quinlan – First White Pass Conductor

Jerry Quinlan


Jeremiah G. “Jerry” Quinlan was born in 1861 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He and his sister Rachel came to Skagway around 1900. Rachel married Martin Conway and Jerry married Agnes Alice. Jerry was the first conductor of the White Pass Rotary Engine as he is seen in the photo above which was generously given by his descendent Quinlan Steiner today. What a dashing uniform too! ¬†Unfortunately Agnes Alice died in Skagway and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery and Jerry died in 1917 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery (he was 56). They lived at 607 Main Street and in 1910 had an adopted son, John , who was born in Washington in 1894. John later worked for White Pass as a wiper (whatever that means). ¬†I have seen this often in Skagway where children were adopted.

This month the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is gearing up for the upcoming season, I have always thought that the black snappy conductor uniforms look very smart. Let us all hope and pray for a safe season.

Clifford; Graves; 1910 census, Skagway Death Record; 1909 AB book; personal communication

Hallelujah Conductor

Calvin Eugene Shelly was a conductor on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. He had come to Skagway from Chicago but was born in 1864 in Akron, Ohio. He came here with his wife Mary and their two sons Allen and Robert.
He attended the Peniel Mission and was “beautifully saved at the mission. He received the name of “Hallelujah Conductor” for he was always praising the Lord….One night during testimonies, he said this –“I have been a year paying for a dead horse, and now I am clear before God and Man.” He meant that he had been a year paying and making restitution for things he had done in the past.” – as Mable Ulery put it.
Their home was on 7th between Broadway and Spring which is just an open lot now. When we moved here in 1998 I remember there was a controversy because someone bulldozed the house one day and hauled it off. It was that action which prompted the city to make it necessary to get permission to bulldoze historic buildings and not just do it in the night. True, it was just a dilapidated house nearly 90 years old, but it was part of the fabric of historic Skagway.

Speaking of historic, seen above is Lep in his conductor’s togs.

Calvin passed away on December 28, 1945 in Burlington, Washington.