A Sioux City man wrote back to Iowa about his experiences in the North in November 1899. As he was leaving Atlin, he said he saw a tree with a piece of paper that said simply “Homeward bound from hell and mosquitoes”.
He also related that quite alot of building was going on in Skagway and that in fact there was a shortage of carpenters. He said the permanent growth of the town was wonderful and where last winter he had seen half of the residents living in tents, there was hardly a tent to be seen in the winter of 1899-1900. He said there were lovely residences and they were even building a college….
“The timber has been nearly all cut down, and many lots have been cleared of stumps and several streets graded. The town has a water system supplied by a lake high up the mountain. This furnishes natural pressure for fire protection. The town has an electric lighting plant, and a rival company is preparing to build a similar plant to compete and bring down the rates. There is an air of confidence and permanency about the town which is very gratifying and nearly everyone in business is making money.”
Dubuque Daily Herald, November 16, 1899.
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.
Mary Wheeler Bagg was born in October 1857 in Ohio. She and her husband came to Skagway in 1898 from St. Paul Minnesota. Mary was a music teacher.
Her husband Matthew B. Clemenger owned the Arctic Brotherhood Hall, was the President of the Home Power Company, managed the Dewey Hotel and was an assistant Postmaster in 1900.
Their names in the online 1900 census are incorrectly transcribed as Clemens.
She died on this day, October 15, 1902 of heart failure at the age of 45 and was buried in the gold Rush Cemetery. Oddly her headstone says she was 40. Perhaps her husband did not know how old she really was.
1900 census;1902 directory; Skagway Death record