On September 20, 1900, three babies died, Elias Rudd, Constant Schemich, and one of Kitty Smith’s babies. The only cause of death listed on the Skagway Death Records was for Constant and that was for brain fever. They were buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery. The influenza which spread over the world in 1918 reached Alaska in force in 1919 and 1920.
Then in 1935 on September 20 Leonard A. Sweeney, another newborn, died and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. In those days folks had a curious penchant for photographing dead people in their coffins.
Skagway Death Record
Antonio and Sabina Dortero were born in Italy and came to Skagway in the goldrush with their three children, John, Vincent and Rosie. Vincent was born in Astoria Washington on this day, July 28, 1894 but went to World War One where he died in 1918. There is a memorial across from the Skagway Museum/City Hall with his name and other names of war veterans.
Vincent was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery next to his father. Vincent was 24 years old when he died.
1915 directory; World War One registration; Cemetery record
photo of his father’s store online
photo of Vincent, shortly before his death from influenza, from great granddaughter of John Dortero, Bettie Ogden.
Mary died on this day, March 25, 1919. There is absolutely no information other than her name and date of death on the death certificate, so I will try to view the newspaper records for additional info. During the spring of 1919 the influenza hit Skagway and took down quite a number of people.
Helen Cecil Wilson, wrote to her mother at this time:
“Skagway, Alaska 3/23/1919
We are still “flued up.” The hospital filled up and they had to open what was formerly The White Pass Rooming House. They could get no one to cook & keep house so I volunteered to do it. I came here yesterday and had to order food – dishes etc. I think they are scared & feared the worst. So far I have 2 of the teachers – all others are at the Hospital. I am fine – I hope I had it when I was sick a month ago but I am not sure. I never was better in my life.
Our doctor was the first to get it and we have a government doctor and 2 nurses at the Hospital. The doctor comes every day & the nurse was here at home this morning. Otherwise I am monarch of all I survey. I brot my oil stove an there ws a coal stove here. I had a chicken cooked and a dinner partly planned – So I brit
the chicken along. You should have seen Mr Hohn & I get the horse ready – We came down in a taxi with my oil stove strapped to the running board. Mr Hohn carried the chicken and I lugged a dish of gelatine – When I get back to my type writer I’ll tell you the funniest tale ever –
Love to all Helen”
from the Alaska State Library papers of Helen Cecil Wilson