There is a wonderful story about Rebecca and Solomon Schuldenfrei. Their great great granddaughter tells it best and you can read it in its entirety by following the link below.
“Rebecca Schuldenfrei was born in 1863 near Krakow in the Austro-Hungarian empire. At a young age she immigrated to America and lived most of her life in New York. In 1897 her husband, Solomon decided to set out to the Klondike with a business partner in search of gold. As the trip rapidly approached, the partner decided he could not leave his business and backed out. Becci, concerned that her husband was not tough enough for the wilds of the Yukon, would not let him go off alone and decided to come along. The couple had three children and, in a move very uncommon to mothers of her day, Rebecca left them in the care of her sister and joined her husband as a partner on his adventure. Having never lived outside a city, both Sol and Becci had no way of knowing what kind of dangers they faced. They went for practical reasons: Sol’s business had not been very successful, but they must have had some sense of adventure or else they would not have taken all the risks they did. Most of what is known about Rebecca Schuldenfrei comes from the numerous letters she wrote to her sister and her children during the entire trip. Where these letters are quoted, her spelling and grammar is used. Whether what she says is completely accurate or whether it was appropriately filtered for her readers is unknown. What the letters definitely show is an incredible journey of a urban woman in the wilderness of the Yukon.
All the knowledge Becci and Sol could have had of the Yukon was gained from newspapers and stories. They brought what they guessed they would need, but they had no sure way of telling. They were outfitted by a company known as Cooper & Levy. Mrs. Cooper, wife of one of the owners, came out to the shop to see “the lady who goes to Klondike in a silk skirt” (Sept. 5, 1897). Becci was gaining a reputation. Sol had to be talked into buying a gun as the couple knew nothing about handling weapons. They had to buy a year’s worth of supplies which would end up costing them hundreds of dollars to transport. However, due to the enormous inflation in the Klondike, the more supplies one brought, the better.”
The one curious fact that I had from a different source was that Sol paid the Indian guides $700 to pack their canoe with Rebecca inside of it, over the Chilkoot Pass. What a guy!!!
“Having practically no money when they arrived, Becci decided to open a restaurant for a few months until her husband could get a claim. On October 19, Becci wrote, “Just at present things do not look so bright here as they are pictured in the newspapers…this beautiful Klondike is only good for very strong and hardworking miners, as any one, who is not brought up from childhood to the hardest kind of labor, is of no earthly use here.”
They are pictured above.
Her real name was Honora Ornstein born in 1882 to a prominent Jewish family in the cattle business in Butte, Montana. She stood about 6 feet tall and sported a diamond stuck in her front tooth, hence the nickname.
Diamond Lil had a “Luxury House” in Skagway. “But Diamond Lil was a courtesan in the fullest sense of the word, only entertaining the obviously rich clients who could pay handsomely for what she had to offer. Nevertheless she was fully entrenched in ‘the world’s oldest profession.’”
After the rush, Lil moved to Seattle where some accounts say she opened another house of ill repute and others say she took a job scrubbing floors.
She was married several times but died at the ripe old age of 93, in June 1975 in Yakima, Washington of insanity (probably dementia).
Seen above, she makes chubby look good.
Martinsen; Allen p 336; Klondike Stampeders Register; Yukon News online
Max Gutfeldt ran the Vienna bakery from about 1905 through 1920 in what is now the Historic Skagway Inn. He was born in 1868 in Germany and his was one of the few Jewish families in Skagway. After his first wife Emma died in Tacoma, Washington in 1901, he remarried in 1903 and moved his family to Skagway.
Max was a City Councilman in 1913 and signed a letter to the Governor of Alaska in May 1915 requesting a road. Ethyl and sons Louis and Arnold worked in Skagway. Arnold was later in the U.S. Signal Corps and Louis signed up for the World War one draft. Both died after spending much of their careers working for the railroad.
Max died on January 8, 1923 in Tacoma.
1905 and 1915 directories, 1910 and 1920 and 1929 censuses; Newspaper record NPS files; Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State online; Washington state records.
Dr. John Baughman was a Physican and assayer. He was born in Barberton, Ohio on March 10, 1856. I read somewhere that his family was Jewish which would add to my growing list of Jewish families in Skagway in the gold rush, but I cannot find that source again, so just a possibility there.
After graduating from college as a doctor, John Baughman married Mina Barber in Manistique, Michigan on February 25, 1897. Struck with gold fever Dr. Baughman joined the stampede to Dawson in 1897. Expecting to practice medicine there, he found the profession barred from him because he was not a Canadian citizen, so he joined in the search for gold.
Later her returned to Michigan where he brought his wife to Skagway in 1899. Dr. Baughman practiced medicine in Skagway until 1905. Their first son, Paul was born here in 1899 but died in 1904. Their second son born in 1903 also died in 1903 and both are buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery. Their daughter Dorothy, born around 1905 lived a long life and is buried in Juneau.
After leaving Skagway in 1905, the family moved to Seward where Dr. Baughman was a doctor for many years and established the Pioneer Hospital, ministering to a large section of Alaska. While in Seward, he was Game Warden of the Third Division for eight years. He also operated a drug store. The Daily Alaska Empire obituary said he was Alaska’s oldest physician when he died on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1937 in Juneau. He was a life member of the Masonic Order, affiliated with the organization for 45 years. He is buried in the Juneau Evergreen Cemetery.
1902 directory; Juneau Evergreen records; family search; The Daily Alaska Empire–Friday, 26 November 1937-Page 1 & Page 8.
On August 23, 1907 the infant son of Emil and Lillian Hain Korach died and was buried in the Skagway Gold Rush cemetery. He must have been a twin because his brother, Edward, moved to Los Angeles and died in 1967 at the age of 60 according to the California death index.
A website called drygoodsandwetgoods.com talks about their family. Emil was born in Hungary and ran the Bloom and Korach store in Skagway around 1905. The website says that they moved to Akron Ohio where they passed away. A rootsweb posting also said they were Jewish, but oddly, the headboard in Skagway has a cross on it. Perhaps some well-meaning Skagwegian decided to Christianize the Korach baby in a subsequent remaking of the headboard.