Royal Arch Gunnison was born on June 24, 1873 in Binghampton, New York. That evening his father, Christopher B. Gunnison, attended a meeting of his Masonic chapter, Binghamton No. 139, and returning home, found that he was the father of a boy whom he promptly named “Royal Arch” which is a Masonic term, I guess. Royal became a lawyer and was appointed by Teddy Roosevelt to be a district judge in Skagway Alaska in 1904 before going into private practice in Juneau five years later. He drove the last spike of the Valdez-Yukon Railway. He was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood and a 33° member of the Scottish Rite Masons in Seattle in 1916. He was also a member of the Knights Templar and, yes, a Royal Arch Mason. A DeMolay Chapter in Juneau was named for him in 1932.
In Juneau, in 1910, Royal had a son who he also named Royal Arch Gunnison. Royal Jr. became famous in World War 2 as a Mutual Network war-caster in Manilla. He had stayed on the air until U.S. Army engineers blew up the transmitting station and equipment a jump ahead of the Japanese. As a result, 34-year-old Gunnison and his wife spent 17 months in Japanese concentration camps outside Manila and Shanghai. Gunnison and his wife Marjorie were later repatriated from China with 1,438 other internees.
Royal Arch Gunnison Jr. made the rounds to be interviewed in the press and on the radio. His story appeared in Life Magazine and in Billboard, where he outlined what entertainment was like in prison camps. He wrote a book on his experiences called “So Sorry, No Peace” published in October 1944. Though he survived the ordeals of a war prisoner, he didn’t survive an accident that took his life. Gunnison headed back to Asia in June 1946. Three months later, he died in a plane crash in Hong Kong.
Judge Royal Arch Gunnison Sr. died in Juneau of apoplexy at the age of 45, on this day, June 18, 1918 and is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery. He is seen above at the height of his career.
findagrave; justamason; ancestry.
Frederick McBain Young was born in October 1863 or 1868 in Montreal. He graduated with a B.A. from Queen’s University and made his way to Nanaimo where he married in 1893. In 1895 he was made a Barrister in Nanaimo. During the gold rush he came north and was in Skagway briefly. He was a friend of John Douglas Stewart who was famously robbed by three of Soapy’s gang members in 1898. Stewart was also from Nanaimo. Young was the first judge of the county court of Atlin, B.C. in 1905. He served 28 years as judge in Prince Rupert county court from 1907. He retired and returned to Vancouver in January 1933, and died in Vancouver on May 31, 1937. Seen above is the Atlin courthouse built in 1900 which Judge Young used.
James Shackelford was born in 1827 in Kentucky. He was a Union Brigadier General in the Civil War. He has the distinction of having captured Confederate cavalry commander John Hunt Morgan in mid-1863, effectively ending “Morgan’s Raid”. Shackelford’s first wife, died in 1864, and he was left with four small children. He felt it his duty to resign at the termination of the war, despite the fact the President offered him the rank of Major General.
He was also a lawyer and judge. In 1889 President Benjamin Harrison appointed him U.S. Judge in the Indian Territory. By 1902 he was the U.S. Attorney for Alaska.
General Shackelford died on this day, September 7, 1909 in Port Huron, Michigan but is buried in Kentucky.
Report of the Secretary of the Interior, 1902; familysearch; Wikipedia;accessgenealogy;
Martin Conway was born in 1861 in Ireland but came to Skagway in the goldrush. He stayed for 30 years until his death here on January 18, 1930.
During the time Conway lived in Skagway he was a merchant in 1905-the manager of B.M. Behrends dry goods; then United States Commissioner and Judge from 1908 to 1915; treasurer & Magistrate of Skagway in 1915; and finally the Postmaster from 1916 to 1930. Martin’s wife was Rachel Quinlan born in Saint John, NB Canada and worked for White Pass at Bennett and Carcross. His daughter Elizabeth and sons John (Jack) and Martin Jr. were born in Skagway between 1903-1907. John succeeded Martin as Postmaster of Skagway in 1930 when Martin died.
Martin Conway is buried in the Skagway Pioneer Cemetery. The photo above is of Martin, it was shared by his descendent.