Leo the orphan

In a previous blog on “Mollie” Mary Walsh on October 28, 2009, I mentioned that when Mike Bartlett, her husband, shot Mollie at 611 Pike Street in Seattle on October 27, 1902, he then tried to committed suicide. “The newspapers billed it as the trial of the century. The trial began in November of 1903 and concluded Dec. 2 of the same year. Mike was acquitted based on insanity. He spent two years in a mental facility and was released. Six months later, he killed himself.”

This left their 17-month old baby, Leo Bartlett an orphan. He may have gone to the Seattle Children’s home built in 1885, seen above.

Leo was born  on March 18, 1901, according to the Juneau Empire story:

“Mollie delivered her son 73 miles above Rampart while the boat was taking on wood from a large wood pile on the Yukon River. Mike spent the last of their money on a drunken party soon after the birth. After the party, Mike, in a drunken haze, told Mollie that the people on board had named their son Leon Edward Seattle No. 3 Yukon Woodpile Bartlett. This news ended their marriage.”

Leo kept his name, at least the Leo Bartlett part, and was a veteran of World War I. He lived in Hot Springs Arkansas in the 1940’s but died in the Old Soldier’s home in Washington D.C. in the 1950s.¬†Another record says he died on this day, October 22, 1971 in Spokane.

 

Washington State death records online. Juneau Empire Nov 14, 2010.

Doll of Dawson


Mae Field was born in Ramsey County Minnesota in 1873. Her birth name may have been Mary Lavinia Sullivan born June 20, 1873 in Ramsey but I can’t be sure. In any event, she was quite famous in the north. When she married Arthur Daniel Field in Hot Springs, South Dakota in 1897 she had already been married and divorced. Arthur was ten years older and had some wealth derived from bootlegging and brothels. The couple decided to go to Dawson to mine. They were able to get their mining equipment over the Chilkoot Trail, but lost most of it in Lake Lebarge in a storm. Arthur staked claims and got a liquor license, just in case the mining did not work out. Mae decided to return to balmy Minnesota for the winter. When she got to Skagway the only boat available was the somewhat dubious “Georgia” which she decided to take, despite no one else taking the chance. Her luck held, but on returning to Minnesota, her mother told her to go back to her husband. So she did. After many adventures and working as a nurse, a babysitter, and a dancer. She later had a rooming house, but she always seemed to live well and have money. She moved to Vancouver in 1911 after her husband left her and the Mounties found her in bed with an unmarried man. (Hmmm) Although they were never able to prove she was a prostitute, the Canadians imprisoned her for six months and told her to leave the country. She eventually settled in Ketchikan where she was living in the 1940’s helping the Sisters of Mercy, orphanages, friends and the poor.
Seen above, Mae Field during her Dawson days.

Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush by Morgan; Rebel Women of the Gold Rush by Mole; familysearch.

George Washington Dillon

George Washington Dillon was born in 1856 in Iowa. He came to Alaska in 1880 from Butte Montana and Washington State. He possibly was the U.S. Marshal in Skagway and also a councilman. The 1900 census lists him as a hunter. He became the Superintendent of Skagway Light & Power Company and manager of the Skagway Wood Yard. He was also a gambler and the street commissioner and dabbled in real estate in 1915.
In 1905 when Robert Sheldon was working for the Skagway Light & Power Company he built the first car in Alaska. The picture above was taken of that car with two important men on it. Robert was only 21 years old at the time, so he is not one of the two. So one of the other two might have been the Supt Dillon.
When George’s great grandson came to Skagway in June 2009 he stated that Dillon died by freezing to death on the streets of Skagway on this day, October 26, 1922 at the age of 66. G.W. Dillon is buried in the Skagway Pioneer Cemetery in the upper section next to his wife Isabella who died in 1909. When she died she left a newborn daughter and 6 other children aged 6 through 18.

1900 1910 and 1920 censuses; 1902,1905,and 1915 directories; Skagway death record; great grandson.

Mama Minnie Field


Minnie Field was born on this day, June 1, 1892 in Belfast Ireland. In 1909 at the age of 17 she emigrated to Canada and by 1919 found herself working as a cook in the Golden North Hotel in Skagway. She also worked in Atlin and later in Juneau.
In Juneau Minnie became known as one of the best cooks in town, and baked a cake for President Harding when he passed through in 1923. After she had worked at the Juneau jail for about seven years, her duties were increased to include caring for prisoners’ children. At the time, Juneau had no orphanage, designated child care system or foster home program. Minnie began caring for several tots; she laid them side-by-side, crosswise in her bed, and slept on the floor. She worked tirelessly to house and feed the city’s children through her own and later government help.
She is a largely overlooked heroine – not a politician or an activist, not a teacher or a missionary – but a woman who contributed a great deal to the “least of them,” Alaska’s needy children, many racially mixed.

from a Juneau Empire Story by Ann Chandonnet about a biography written of “Mama Minnie Field by Dr. Walter Soboleff.

Francis Merrill Sulzman


Father Sulzman came to Skagway in 1931 when Monsignor Gallant established the Saint Pius X Mission Home for Native children who were either orphans or from destitute families, staffed by the Sisters of Saint Ann. The Mission was rebuilt in 1946, and operated until the 1960s.

Sulzman was born on this day, March 16, 1906 in Waterford New York and when he left here he joined the army and served as a chaplain in World War 2. He died in 1966 in Matanuska Alaska.

from the Hugh F. McColl webpage at genealogy.com; and the oblatvs.blogspot