Leo the orphan

In a previous blog on “Mollie” Mary Walsh on October 28, 2009, I mentioned that when Mike Bartlett, her husband, shot Mollie at 611 Pike Street in Seattle on October 27, 1902, he then tried to committed suicide. “The newspapers billed it as the trial of the century. The trial began in November of 1903 and concluded Dec. 2 of the same year. Mike was acquitted based on insanity. He spent two years in a mental facility and was released. Six months later, he killed himself.”

This left their 17-month old baby, Leo Bartlett an orphan. He may have gone to the Seattle Children’s home built in 1885, seen above.

Leo was born  on March 18, 1901, according to the Juneau Empire story:

“Mollie delivered her son 73 miles above Rampart while the boat was taking on wood from a large wood pile on the Yukon River. Mike spent the last of their money on a drunken party soon after the birth. After the party, Mike, in a drunken haze, told Mollie that the people on board had named their son Leon Edward Seattle No. 3 Yukon Woodpile Bartlett. This news ended their marriage.”

Leo kept his name, at least the Leo Bartlett part, and was a veteran of World War I. He lived in Hot Springs Arkansas in the 1940’s but died in the Old Soldier’s home in Washington D.C. in the 1950s.  Here is the Memorial number on the Washington D.C. Findagrave site: 21920233

Washington State death records online. Juneau Empire Nov 14, 2010.

The Queen of Alaska

Bridget Mannion was born on February 1, 1865 in Rosmuc, County Galway, Ireland. She emigrated in 1885 to St. Paul, Minnesota. Bridget worked as housekeeper for Seattle Pioneer Henry Yesler, before settling in Chicago, where she became cook to the wealthy family of Portus B. Weare, head of the North American Trading and Transportation Company which operated merchandise and transportation facilities in the Yukon. In 1892 her employer held a dinner party for Captain John J. Healy, another Irish born adventurer and his wife Bella. Whether it was the prospect of becoming wealthy or her innate sense of adventure, Bridget became determined to go to Alaska and persuaded the Healy’s to offer her a job as Mrs Healy’s maid. From the Healy trading post in Dyea, she moved up to the Yukon. By the winter of 1894-95 there were only twenty eight white women living in the Yukon amongst one thousand men. Unsurprisingly, Bridget received 150 proposals of marriage before she had got fifty miles up the Yukon, but it was Edward Aylward who would capture Bridget’s heart.

Edward Alyward was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland in November 1849 and emigrated to the US in 1867. He went mining for gold in Alaska in 1884 and in 1894 he met Bridget at a Yukon River Trading Post and convinced her to marry him. Their wedding was the first ever held in Fortymile, about 150 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Around 1900, Bridget and Edward left Alaska with their fortune and moved to live on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. A Seattle newspaper dated 3rd September 1896 carried an article about Bridget calling her the ‘Queen of Alaska’.
Edward died on 29th March 1914. He is buried in Seattle’s Calvary Cemetery. Following the deaths of her sister and a friend, Bridget longed for home. She acquired property in Rosmuc and eventually returned home to Ireland in 1948.
Bridget died at her beloved Turlough, Rosmuc, County Galway in January 1958, just weeks short of her 94th birthday. She is buried with her mother in Cill Eoin graveyard . Even in death her generous spirit lived on, and apart from bequests to family, neighbours and the local church, she set up a trust fund for the education of local children.


Harry Burton Flaharty

Harry and his brother came to Skagway in 1897. Harry was known as “Flick” and his brother was known as “Tuck”. They were from Bucyrus, Ohio where “Flick” was born on this day June 23, 1867. Flick worked as a White Pass foreman and later in 1910 was a city councilman. He moved to Long Beach California where he married Ellen and then died there in 1948. In the picture above, Flick is on the left, Tuck on the right. Tuck was alot more exciting, but he will have his own blog later.

Just fyi, I am going south to deal with family business and will be back mid July. So have a good 4th of July and stay safe out there!

censuses; California death record; rootsweb.

Patrick John Flynn

Pat Flynn was born in 1861 in County Tipperarry Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1876. He married Ellen Flaherty, an Irish immigrant from Galway, in Tacoma, Washington, where their daughter, Helen Grace (“Nellie”) was born in 1893. Their son John William (“Willie”) was born in Ellensburg in 1896. Another son, Owen Patrick, was born in Skagway in 1904. Patrick worked for the White Pass and Yukon Railroad and his sons followed him into the profession. Owen later became an accountant and served as city clerk for the City of Skagway. Willie spent his entire career with the railroad.
Patrick worked for White Pass as a car inspector and carpenter until his death on this day, May 13, 1935 in Skagway. Ellen his wife had died 9 days earlier also here in Skagway. They are buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.

Skagway Death Records, censuses; Juneau Parks and Recreation website; Flynn Crest

St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Of the over 5000 people that I have birth location information for that lived in Skagway at the beginning of the 20th Century, over 150 of them were born in Ireland. There was a significant Irish community here with the Mc’s the O’Briens, O’Connors, Farrels, Ryans and Finnegans. Like other communities, among the harworking Irish were White Pass employees, stage performers, prostitutes, longshoremen, blacksmiths, firemen, waiters, sailors and even a Skagway Mayor.

The famous “McGreely’s Express” stamp issued privately in 1898 in Dyea was actually started by a fellow named McGreely. Seymore C. Marcuse came to Dyea in January of 1898 and met McGreely who was doing private mail runs from Dyea to Skagway. The two of them established the mail service and produced 2000 stamps, of which 1000 were used. The other 1000 stamps were divided between the two men. The beautiful stamp was actually created in San Francisco by an unknown artist. When the new postmaser Clum came to Skagway on April 1, 1898, the McGreely’s Express shut down. Both McGreely and Marcuse went to Dawson, but Marcuse returned to San Francisco by 1901 where he wrote a letter explaining the history of the stamp. Today these stamps occasionally come on the market and fetch up to $175 each.

Irish born “Whiskey Finnegan” built boats at Bennett and has a place on the Chilkoot Trail named for him.

“Chris Shea, the son of an Irish immigrant, came to Skagway in 1898, worked as a laborer for the railroad, started signing on as bartenders for the Mascot, the Pantheon, and then the Pack Train. In late 1904, he finally had enough money to partner up with two other men and buy the Pack Train. He organized baseball games, courted the labor unions, organized the men in the saloons, and formed a labor party. In 1907, his political party overthrew the businessmen who had been running Skagway since the gold rush days. For the next three years, he instituted Progressive Era reforms for city government, including equalizing the tax structure, purchasing the power and water company for the city, and overseeing the settling of a lawsuit between the original claimant to Skagway – Capt. William Moore – and the townspeople who staked out the lots in the heart of the town.”

Pennington; Chris Shea info from Skagway News story; Proof of McGreely’s Express Legitimacy by Steve Sims online at esveld.nl

Mollie Walsh

Probably one of the most famous women of Skagway, red-haired Irish descent Mollie was a waitress and church helper, coming here with Rev. Dickey in the goldrush. She was a kind person and everyone loved her, so why did her husband murder her on October 28, 1902 on a street in Seattle? Mike Bartlett claimed it was a “crime of passion” but later committed suicide leaving their son Leo an orphan.

Packer Jack Newman, long an admirer of Mollie, had a statue made of her in 1930 and sent it to Skagway where it sits today on 6th Street in front of a children’s park. An inscription written by Packer Jack goes: “…Her spirit fingers still reach across the years and play on the slackened strings of my old heart, and my heart still sings,—MOLLIE!—my heart still sings but in such sad undertone that none but God and I can hear.”

March 2022 update

I was contacted recently by Art Petersen who has spent years researching Mollie Walsh and Packer Jack Newman. In fact he has written a new book entitled

Promised Lands, MOLLIE WALSH: An Irish-American Story (2021 Klondike Research). available from Klondikeresearch.com 

In this book he describes new corrections which I will now point out:

A few facts:

          Packer Jack never shot anyone.

          The statue was erected after Packer Jack died.

          Packer Jack wanted to be buried at Inspiration Point on the White Pass Trail.

          Leo Alphonse was born on August 27, 1900, not 27 May 1899. He forged his birthdate to be old enough to join the U.S. Army.

          Mike Bartlett did not put on a party to celebrate the birth of his son; he was not even on the boat.  

          Mollie did not help Reverend Dickey establish the Union Church in Skagway.

          Mollie’s husband never entered an insane asylum; rather, he suffered torturously for six years after his trial before ending his own life before a horrified audience.

John Jerome Healy

On this day, September 15, 1908, John Healy died down south in either San Francisco or Seattle. Healy was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1840, emigrated to the U.S. in 1853 during the great famine. He married in New York in 1863.

He was once boss of a whiskey fort on the Montana-Canadian border w/ partner Dickson(the fort was burned by Indians). He was also sheriff of Cocteau County, Fort Benton Montana in 1880 (see census for kids and wife Mary).
He died a rich man according to Pierre Berton, having come to Dyea and establishing a trading post there with Wilson in 1886. The Healy and Wilson Trading Post lasted for many years in Dyea as there were stampeders before the big gold rush in 1897/98. In 1886 he had 16 stores in Alaska. He also served as U.S. Marshal in Dyea.
The town of Healy, a village on the Alaska railroad, a river flowing into the Tanana River, a rock on Admiralty Island and a locality near Yukon Kuskokwin Delta are all named for him.

He is buried in Seattle.

from: Healy; Greer; Hunt;Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Dan Thrapp; A descendent says there is a biography of him written by Edwin Tappen Adney. It is currently lodged in the Naval college in New Hampshire.