Jonas Peter Hagstrom was born on April 11, 1871 in Sweden. Although happily married with a daughter, he decided to go to the Yukon to search for gold around 1906. Maria and Elsa stayed in Sweden but he wrote to them during the decades that he lived at Teslin in a little cabin. Here is part of one poem he wrote:
“…for you know tis constant dripping
wears away the hardest stone.
Never slack sublime endeavour,
nor midst cheerless toil despair;
If you’d rise above your fellows
Remember you must “Win and Wear”.
Jonas, or John as he adopted the local name, was found dead in 1941 in his cabin.
Every Trail has a story: Heritage Travel in Canada, by Bob Henderson and James Raffan.
William Yanert was born in 1864 in Prussia, or Poland. He was a cartographer with the 14th Infantry and arrived in Skagway on this day, December 16, 1897 to map things. He left the army and made his way to a remote spot in Alaska in 1901 where he built a cabin and called it Purgatory. When asked why he named it so, he said “It was a hell of a place to live.” It is 45 miles downstream from Beaver, Alaska on the Yukon River. In 1910 his brother, seen with him above, joined him and he lived there for thirty-seven years. During that time he hunted, fished, wrote poetry and created art carvings which he sold to tourists who happened by on steamships up the river. They were entertained by his harmless pranks, his wit and gentle spirit. How many times have you heard people say they just want to go live in a cabin in the woods? Seems he did and enjoyed his life there. He died in 1941 in Portland but was buried in Beaver, Alaska.
online obits; Lung-Trail to north Star gold p 323; “Sergeant William Yanert, Cartographer from Hell,” by Thom Eley, Professor at Univ of Alaska, Anchorage.