Prigmore family

There was an obscure reference in the Skagway Death records to a child “Preigmore” who died in April 1898. After much research and reading of old newspaper articles and censuses I was able to piece together the story of the Prigmore family. First I will quote the San Francisco Call of August 23, 1897. It refers to Duke Prigmore who made more than one trip from Washington to Skagway on the family’s quest for gold.
“Many Outfits Lost: Bad Condition of the White Pass Trail from Skaguay where Gold Seekers are Struggling
SEATTLE, WASH Aug 22. Possibly the best description of the White Pass Trail from Skaguay is given in a letter from Duke Prigmore received in this city yesterday. It was brought down by the steamer Starr. After leaving camp on Saturday, Mr. Prigmore says, ‘The first three miles is a fairly good wagon road, which leads to the Skaguay river, a rather shallow but very swift stream. There the miners have erected an improvised bridge, over which only one horse can be taken at a time. Beyond the bridge for three miles horses and wagons can be used. Devil’s Hill is then reached. The trail is not over two feet wide here, while the climb is at an angle of 45 degrees. At the summit of the hill horses are compelled to make a jump of nearly two feet high only to alight on a slippery rock. Further on the trail is a steep incline, on which logs have been laid forming a kind of ladder.
After crossing the first hill a half mile of fairly good traveling is encountered when the big hill is reached. The path over this hill can scarcely be called a trail as Mr. Prigmore says it is quite narrow and at places is almost impassable for horses. The formation is of a soft and slippery slate rock. The trail winds crookedly around the hill or rather mountain while below it sheers off 500 feet to the river. At this locality many horses and packs have been lost. It is almost impossible for horses to pack any considerable amount of supplies around this bluff. After traveling several miles of this kind of road the big marsh is reached.
Here the packers become frightened as a horse will either flounder and roll in the mud until he gives up from sheer exhaustion, or else loses the pack and breaks a leg. This bog is one and a half miles long, and many of the miners are here camped waiting for the winter freeze so they can get over it.
A party ahead on the marsh told Mr. Prigmore that very few had passed them and they were making but slight progress, which fact leads him to believe that scarcely ten parties have thus far this summer crossed the Summit by way of Skaguay.”

Well, Duke came south and got more horses to pack over the pass and in the winter of 1898 his father, Isaiah Daniel Prigmore, and Duke’s younger brother, Leroy, came along. It must have been on this trip that young Leroy succumbed to pneumonia and died in Skagway on April 2, 1898. Isaiah took his body back to Washington and buried him in Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham. Isaiah and his wife Francis were also buried there in 1926 and 1935. Although I could not find an age for Leroy, or “Roy” as his headstone says, he must have only been about 9. Duke was 22 when he started this adventure, but he too died (of typhoid) in 1903 back in Ellensburg Washington at the age of 28. In all Isaiah and Francis had 8 children, the rest of whom remained in Washington and had families.

Seen above is the lovely Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, Washington.

Bayview Cemetery online; various news accounts, family rootsweb info; Skagway Death record.

Cornelius Curtain

Mr. Curtain worked for Michael Heney on the Railroad. According to the Skagway Death Record he was born and died on this day April 27. He died at Lake Bennett at 8:30 in the morning in 1900 from pneumonia. He was a member of the Woodmen of the World and so, he was embalmed and probably sent home, perhaps to Olympia which was his home of record.
Some of the Skagway Death Records show the same date of birth and death, I was told by someone who worked there years ago, that the birth dates were sometimes put in as the same day as the death date because they did not have a birthday. They knew that the age at death was, in this case, 33, and so put the birth day as the same. (Eyes rolling at this point).
In any event we know he died exactly 110 years ago at this hour and day!

Skagway Death Record; photo of Lake Bennett and rail lines

John C. Hilbert

Mr. Hilbert was a German goldrusher who died on this day, April 21, 1899 on an island of Lake LeBarge of pneumonia, he was 40 years old. His body was sent to San Francisco for burial.
Here is the entry from the Skagway Death Record:
“Died on [Richthofen] Island in Lake LeBarge; recorded 6/23; embalmed 6/23; brother’s address: Holbert Bros. Wholesale Liquor, Powell & Macon Sts, San Francisco; eye color-dk; height-5’9″; weight-~160 lb; hair color-dark; shipped to ER Butterworth for exch to SF on the Humbolt, 6/29/1899”
Hilbert Brothers produced whiskey in San Francisco from 1890-1902 when they became a mercantile company. See advertisement glass above.
So, what was he doing on an island in Lake Lebarge anyway? The Yukon Archives does have an estate record for him which I have not yet viewed.

from Skagway Death Records and a really cool website that shows liquor advertisements:

James Wesley Young

Mr. Young was an integral part of the Skagway community at the turn of the century. He was born on August 15, 1853 to a large family in St. David Parish, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada. He was assistant to Erastus Corning Hawkins, the White Pass Chief Engineer.

Young was also the proprietor of the 5th Avenue Hotel by 1904 (see above photo) and the chief agent for the Great Northern Railroad in Washington.
Young died on this day, March 26, 1905 of pneumonia in Dawson, Yukon. His wife, Emma had died 3 days earlier in Dawson. They left behind a daughter, Edna.

family chronicles; photo of 5th Ave hotel on p.58 of “Skagway District of Alaska, building the Gateway to the Klondike” by Spude, NPS; Minter; Hunt; Pennington;

Hugh Nelson Foy

On this day in 1899 Michael J. Heney lost an invaluable colleague. Hugh Foy literally worked himself to death on the construction of the railroad and died at the summit of pneumonia.
Foy was born on July 15, 1842 in Aroostok Maine. He was the construction foreman for White Pass. Seen above he is the only one smiling, on the far left. He died doing what he loved – read the obituary below.

“Skagway Alaskan Skagway, Alaska, Wednesday Morning, March 1, 1899
Page 1
Hugh Foy Passed Away Early Yesterday Morning
A Busy Life Suddenly Ended-Would Not Quit Work Until He Reached the Summit of White Pass
Another home has been rendered desolate by the sudden visitation of death, and and those who have been so long associated with Hugh Foy will see him no more for he has passed away and hereafter there will be only his memory to remind the of a sturdy character full of noble attributes the like of which it will be hard to find.

Hugh Foy died at White Pass at 2:30 yesterday morning after an illness of only about three days and during none of which his condition was deemed critical. While suffering from pneumonia the direct cause of his death was valvular heart trouble which was aggravated by pneumonia. He was known as a man of wonderful endurance, notwithstanding his age, which was sixty-seven (crossed out, written fifty seven) years, and he would go out at any time of night and in all kinds of weather. It was in one of these when called out one night last week that he caught a severe cold which brought on pneumonia and ended fatally yesterday morning.
The dead man born in the state of Maine and leaves a wife and six (crossed out, written four) children the latter all grown up, three (crossed out, written two) boys and three (crossed out, written two) girls. Mr. Foy leaves considerable property, much of it in Seattle where he owned a beautiful home on Queene Ann Hill now occupied by his family.
Speaking of his dead friend Mr. Heney said that Mr. Foy has remarkable record as a builder of railroads. In fact that he had built more miles of railway than any man of his years on the continent. He certainly had no peer in his time, “I consider him the ablest man I ever met, and from a railroad standpoint the name of Foy is known all over the country. His work has been on many of the transcontinental lines, especially on the Great Northern, whose road he built in the Kootenai country.”
Mr. Foy was also closely identified with the San Francisco Bridge Company, and is said to own considerable stock in the company. He also has a son connected with the same company who lately returned from South Aemrica where he erected some machinery.
Mr. Foy is a man of great physical endurance and it is said of him that his body is full of scars from wounds received in wrecks, explosions and other casualties,. His valvular heart trouble is said to have its origion in these numerous shocks.
Some time ago Mr. Heney urged him to take a vacation of sixty days, telling him he had earned it, but Mr. Foy positively refused saying he would not leave until the road got to the Summit. A week ago last Monday he it was who welcomed the one hundred excursionists on the Summit of White Pass and did much to make it pleasant for all the guests on the occasion. Today he has passed away. The Summit for him has been reached and from the summit his record for integrity and worth will shine like a beacon light for the world of workers to emulate.
The remains were brought to Skagway yesterday morning on a special by Supintendent Whiting and Dr. Whiting, and taken to Peoples’ where they will be embalmed ready to be taken down to Seattle on the Rosalie, the same steamer that took down the remains of R. B. Jack.
The remains of Hugh Foy will be taken home by his son-in-law (crossed out, written brother) Frank Walters, who has been Mr. Foy’s assistant in the construction work of the road.”

from Skagway Alaskan quoted above; Graves addendum memorium in book; Minter

Thomas Clarke Noyes

Sadly, on this day Mr. Noyes passed away in 1916 at the age of 44 in British Columbia of pneumonia.
Thomas had fallen in love with his wife, Frances Patchen after seeing her on stage back east and they were married in 1897 in Minnesota. Mr. Noyes and his bride Frances came here in 1897. Later, after settling in Candle, Alaska, Tom established the T.C. Noyes Banking Co. and became associated with the mining industry. They went to Nome in 1900 where he became the U.S. Commissioner. Later, in 1905 he was appointed by Mr. Godfrey Chealander to be one of the directors of the famous Alaska Yukon Exposition Fair in Seattle.

from the Muncaster paper collection, Alaska archives

Hudson Stuck

This famous mountain climber started out as an Episcopal Archdeacon of the Yukon. His party climbed McKinley in 1913 and he later wrote “Voyages on the Yukon and its Tributaries” and later “Ascent of Denali”. He died of pneumonia in Ft Yukon on October 11, 1920 when only 55 years old. He was born in London England in 1865.