“Spanish Pete” was born in 1857 in Noya, Spain and came to Skagway in the gold rush. He worked as a mail carrier in Dyea in 1900 but had came to Alaska in 1896. In 1903 he beat up Joe Lee, a Tlingit native because he lived next door. The Daily Alaskan article from April 28, 1903 reported that “Spanish Pete had beat up an Indian named Joe Lee on April 27 at Dyea after he discovered Lee near a house that the Indian had recently purchased but which Pete considered his own….Spanish Pete regards Dyea as his own private preserve and resents visits from Skagway as an invasion of his rights. When Lee denied Pete’s ownership and refused to vacate the property, the latter struck him with a four-foot club which he continued to wield vigorously until help arrived.”
Thomas Thornton states in his ‘Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment’ on page 211: “Native families who had traditionally harvested and smoked fish at Dyea returned to their camps to do so, often complementing traditional subsistence harvesting with cultivated gardens. However, some returnees were intimidated by whites attempting to exercise control over the area.”
The Lee family lived in Haines but had a smokehouse along the river in Dyea where they would smoke coho and dog salmon. They would also gather highbush cranberries there on the flats where it was much easier to collect than in the brush. Coho salmon eggs were mixed with gray currants and cranberries to make kanigul (“paint”) a local delicacy. The Lee family would also cut birch to sell to the railroad for fuel.
1900;Klondike Nugget 6/10/1900; Thornton page 211