James Lemuel Wortham



Wortham was born on August 12, 1873 in Paris, Texas and was the manager of the Clifford Sifton steamer boat on Lake Bennett in 1900. He was a latecomer to the Yukon, arriving in 1900 but was still able to run a business on Lake Bennett then.  The Clifford Sifton was built on Lake Bennett during the Gold Rush. Somehow it was later run on the Yukon River, how it got there must have been quite a feat!

Major James Matthew took the above photo of the Clifford Sifton running the Miles Canyon rapids around 1900. This was an extremely dangerous thing to do and only a daredevil would attempt it.  The photo below shows it in 1902 on the Yukon River. That photo was taken by M.W. Goetzman.

Wortham died on this day, May 21, 1941 and is buried in Juneau at the Evergreen Cemetery.


Digby Courier June 1900 online; ancestry message board

Lake Bennett drownings

The Northwest Mounted Police reported that on May 28, 1898, Robert T. Veitch drowned at Lake Bennett. The news reported that Veitch was hit by the boom of the sailboat and knocked overboard.

On the same day, May 28, 1899 a year later, Mr. Hiliger and Mr. Schock also drowned in Lake Bennett.
“Two men, a Mr. Schock the proprietor of a road house on the upper end of Lake Laberge, and a man named Hiliger were drowned in Lake Bennett on May 28, about three miles from Bennett. Both were newly married, and their wives were on the shore and saw them drown. It appears they were on their way down with a scow, and, having forgotten something, started back for the same in a small boat. A gale was blowing at the time and the boat capsized, and before help could be secured they were both drowned. An inventory of the effects of the road house was taken and a full report forwarded to Dawson, and the public administrator notified.” from the NWMP record.

NWMP Annual Reports; familysearch; explorenorth; NY times June 18, 1898 online;

Thin Ice

On this day, May 10, 1898, two men drowned near camp Cozy Cove, 14 miles north of the Lake Bennett camp. They were Luc Richard from Frenchtown, Montana and Thomas A. Barnes from Kansas, ages 38 and 35 respectively. It all started when four men started across Lake Bennett with a dog team, but the ice was thin and they broke through with their dogs. The bodies of the two victims were buried a few days later on an island. About a hundred and fifty men attended the “short and impressive” funeral service. “It was virtual suicide to venture out on the ice at such a time the way these boys did,” Ole J. Wold wrote in his diary on the day of the burial.

page 79 of Klondike Saga by Lokke.

Alice Stanton Corliss

Alice Stanton was born in 1867 in Stanton, Minnesota and married Charles William Corliss in 1887 in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. He was a lawyer and they moved to Seattle. In 1898 they joined the gold rush and got as far as Lake Bennett before Alice was stricken with meningitis and died. Her husband took her back to Seattle to be buried.
The city of Skagway issued the death certificate for this day, April 19, 1898 but she probably died on April 17, 1898. She had a daughter, Muriel May who was 8 at the time, but it is unknown if she was with her parents on this disastrous adventure.
A year later Charles remarried and had 6 more children. Alice, Charles and Muriel are all buried in the Wright Crematory in Seattle.

Seen above is the boat building yard at Lake Bennett in 1897-98.

Skagway death record; Washington birth record; familysearch; Washington State Bar Assn. obituary 1914;

Bruce H. Wark

I found this wonderful site that has the entire diary and photos of Bruce Wark:

Above is his receipt from the Canadian tax collector Rant at Lake Bennett from June 1899.

Frederick Trump

Well Happy Birthday to Frederick “Fritz” Trump (Drumpf) the grandfather of Donald. Born in Kallstadt Germany on this day, March 14, 1869, he came to Skagway and then built the New Arctic Restaurant and Hotel at Lake Bennett in 1900. He sold the restaurant and returned to Germany where he married and then returned to Queens, New York.
He died too young, in 1918, of the Spanish flu in New York. The money he made at Lake Bennett helped to build the Trump enterprises.


Lake Bennett drownings

Beautiful Lake Bennett took its toll on the Stampeders. According to the NWMP Annual Report of 1898, two men drowned in the west arm on October 9, 1897. They were Joe McManus and Peter Vavellof. But what became of their bodies?

There was alot of boat building on Lake Bennett. Some professional boat builders stayed and made their fortune here instead of heading up to Dawson.

Kathleen Eloisa Rockwell

Happy Birthday to “Klondike Kate” born on October 4, 1876 in Junction City, Kansas. She came to Skagway about 1899 and worked here and in Bennett before going to Dawson.

When Kate first came to Alaska she was not well known. She was just another actress. What made Kate famous was her flame dance. For this dance she would come on stage wearing an elaborate dress covered in red sequins and an enormous cape. She took off the cape revealing a cane that was attached to more than 200 yards of red chiffon. She began leaping and twirling with the chiffon until she looked like fire dancing around. At the end she would dramatically drop to the floor. The miners loved it. She was a hit and was named “The Flame of the Yukon.”

Klondike Kate traveled all over, doing her dancing routines. She boasted later of wearing $1500 Paris gowns and bracelets of purest gold. It was said she mesmerized the men she entertained.

Many books have been written about her including Klondike Kate The Queen of the Yukon and the Last and Mightiest Frontier Gold Rush by Ellis Lucia.
She died in her sleep in 1957 in Sweet Home Oregon.