Leonard Scofield Sugden

Doctor Leonard Sugden was born in June of 1873 in Scotland. He first came north on a whaling vessel and practiced in Juneau. In 1897, he headed for the Klondike but had to winter at Marsh Lake, where he built a cabin and worked as a doctor for the NWMP. When the real gold rush began in 1898, he helped pilot boats through Miles Canyon and the White Horse Rapids. Dr. Sugden stayed in the Yukon. He was the inspiration for Robert Service’s poem, the Cremation of Sam McGee when Service heard of the story of Dr. Sugden hauling a corpse to Tagish and contacting the family in Tennessee to get permission to cremate the remains.
Sam Steele mentioned in his memoirs that Dr. Sugden once hauled a woman 100 miles on a sled to get her to medical help and safety.
Dr. Sugden married in 1906 and moved to the Kluane area where he mined, hunted big game and bought a Prizma movie camera. With it he produced, in 1915, a film called The Lure of Alaska which played to rave reviews across America and Europe.

The film includes shots from the Seattle harbor and along the coast of Alaska and features scenes of Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, a midnight baseball game in Dawson City, a caribou herd swimming in the river, and icebergs calving from glaciers. The movie also includes scenes of Sugden piloting a raft through the Whitehorse Rapids.

The New York Times in 1917 wrote:
“Seldom have nature pictures been such a combination of thrills and wild beauty. They are a notable accomplishment of the camera and Dr. Sugden’s nerve.”

Unfortunately, Dr. Sugden’s life of adventure ended suddenly in 1923 when he fell off a barge into the Stewart River near Mayo and drowned. He was 50 years old.

A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin

George Gordon Cantwell

George Cantwell was born on this day November 5, 1870 in New York. He was a birder and wrote articles for the ornithology publications. He collected and photographed specimens and later wrote both popular and scientific articles and books. He wrote the “Report of the Operations of the US Revenue Steamer Nunivak on the Yukon River 1899-1901” in 1902, published by United States Printing Office, Washington D.C.

When Hegg’s Dawson studio was devastated by a fire, it was rebuilt in November of 1898 and George G. Cantwell joined the staff in Dawson to assist with outside photographic work.
In 1913 he wrote the screenplay for a silent movie called “The Golden Heart.” It is the story of a young gold miner meeting a young woman in the mountains, staking a claim and marrying her. Unfortunately, the Library of Congress holds only a five minute remnant of the last known print of this film.
Seen above is a picture of Cantwell (on the left smoking a pipe and scrubbing a pan) camping on the Yukon river.
He died in March 1948 in Los Angeles or Palms California.

wrote “Birds of the Yukon Trail” in 1898; The Klondike:a souvenier in 1901; CA death record; online records