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.
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;
William Wood was born in 1858 in Marin, California to Canadian parents from Ontario. William became an attorney, land speculator, electric trolley line president, and Seattle mayor. He was a conspicuous figure in the business and political life of Seattle for more than a quarter century and was the key original developer of the Green Lake neighborhood.
He served as mayor of Seattle from April 1896 to July 1897 when the Klondike Gold Rush supplied him with an opportunity more golden: providing steam passage from San Francisco and Seattle to Alaska. I have often heard people cite him as one of the many people who dropped everything and headed for the Klondike to seek their fortunes, but actually he was a savvy businessman who capitalized on the transportation needs of the gold rush.
William Wood died on this day, March 23, 1917 in Seattle of an intestinal ailment.
History of Seattle online; nps.gov; University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Washington State Biography Pamphlet file; Men of the Pacific Coast (San Francisco: Pacific Art Co., 1903), 479; UW Libraries, Special Collections, Struve Scrapbook, Vol. 1, p. 24; 1880 census in California.
What does the Arctic Brotherhood have in common with the Titanic?
The answer is George Goldschmidt. Born in New York on October 16, 1840 he came to Skagway in February 1899 on the ship City of Seattle with 10 other men, who, on their way to Alaska decided to form their own secret society for good fellowship and brotherly love: The Arctic Brotherhood. However, he does not show up later on any of the later membership rolls, he was a man on the move!
Here is his obituary from the New York Times:
“George B. Goldschmidt, lost in the sinking of the Titanic, was one of the oldest members of the Bar Association, having become a member in 1870. He was born in this city in 1840, admitted to practice in 1882, and was one of the best-known conveyancers in this city. Mr. Goldschmldt served in the Twenty-second Regiment, N. G. N. Y., at Harper’s Ferry and in the Gettysburg campaign, and was afterward Major in the Fifty-fifth Regiment, N. G. N. Y. He was a member of the Union League, Army and Navy, New York, Lotos, Hamilton of Brooklyn, and North Woods Clubs and of the Museums of Art and of Natural History.”
He boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a first class passenger (ticket number PC 17754, £34 13s 1d). He occupied cabin A-5. Goldschmidt died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
Alaska Weekly article by Moore 1931; family search; NYTimes April 20, 1912
Mr. Lilly had a grocery from the time he came in 1897 to 1900. He worked with his sister, Francis, and his brother, John at the Lilly Brothers hay feed and flour. By 1901 they had moved to the Yukon. James was also a lawyer. James was born in 1861 in Champaign Illinois, he died on this day, August 27, 1912 in Alaska.
This Barley fond shows a skit with people holding banners of various businesses in town in April 1900. You can see the Lilly Brothers banner in the lower left.
1900;1902;family chron; Univ of IL record online; Fairbanks news list
Mr. Hestness was a White Pass section foreman in the 1920 census for Skagway. He was born on this day, March 9, 1879 in Norway. He died in 1924, at the age of 45, in a WP&YR train accident and is buried in the Skagway Pioneer Cemetery. He left behind 5 children and his wife Gertrude. His son Harold hated White Pass for failing to compensate the family and so he went to the University of Washington Law School and became an attorney. The photo above is of another train wreck, taken by J.D. True, but you get the picture.
from: 1910, 1920 and 1929 census and book “After the Gold Rush” by Robert Dahl, son of Dr. Peter Dahl who lived in Skagway at the time.