The Hoff & Gem Saloon

Happy Birthday to John Cassius Hoff born on this day, March 5, 1875 on the family farm in Dallas County, Iowa. He was one of 8 children and in 1897 he and his older brother, Oscar or “Shorty” decided to come up to Alaska for the gold rush. They apparently traveled with Jack London for 6 months and they operated a freight and transportation company bringing fresh fruit, eggs and other staples up to the gold country from the coast, rather than mining. He returned in 1898 to Des Moines, IA with $2,000 in gold and some great stories. His older brother, “Shorty” remained in Skagway long enough to start the “Hoff & Gem Saloon” and then left for Canada in 1898. John returned to Iowa, ran the family farm and died there in 1960.

I don’t know if the Hoff & Gem ever produced tokens (they were a lot easier than measuring gold dust for drinks) but here is one example of a Skagway token, for the Idaho Saloon.

John Scott Hoff family information on
Smith p. 461 of “Alias Soapy Smith”

Marshall Latham Bond

Marshall Bond was born in 1867 in Orange, Virginia and he came to Skagway with his brother Louis from Santa Clara California in 1897. He was a miner who started the government in Skagway in 1897. He had many mining interests and he knew Jack London.

The photo above is from his descendent Richard Bond: “The second photograph from my family’s file at Yale University Beinecke Library was taken later. It shows my grandfather Marshall Bond holding the dog that inspired Buck then left to right Oliver LaFarge, Lyman Colt and Stanley Pearce.”

Mr. Bond died on this day, September 6, 1941 in Santa Barbara, California.

Richard Bond. Read Marshall Bond’s eulogy for Jack London at: