Seattle based photographer caught many cool images of people coming and going to the Klondike from the docks. Here in this picture from the Elmer A. Rasmuson Library collection at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is a picture taken in July 1899 of nearly $4 Million in gold dust packed into crates. Labeled as the Royal Canadian Force Collection, note the Mountie on the left. Everyone looks sooooo serious!
“Packer Jack” Newman’s two loves
While most of us have heard the story of Mollie Walsh and her great admirer Pack jack Newman, I only just read the curious story of the second monument in Seattle. Mollie met Packer Jack in Skagway where he was smitten with her. He once shot a fellow in the legs right on Broadway so that he could not go up and visit Mollie at Log Cabin where she sold pies. Mollie later married Mike Bartlett who murdered her in Seattle in 1902. In 1930 – 28 years after Mollie’s death Newman decided to honor the memory of his “Angel of the White Pass.” He commissioned a bronze sculpture of Mollie to be placed in Skagway.
And here the statue stands today, by a children’s playground that has become known as Mollie Walsh Park.
The inscription, written by the man who lost Mollie to the man who killed her, reads:
ALONE WITHOUT HELP / THIS COURAGEOUS GIRL / RAN A GRUB TENT / DURING THE GOLD RUSH / OF 1897-1898. / SHE FED AND LODGED / THE WILDEST / GOLD CRAZED MEN. / GENERATIONS / SHALL SURELY KNOW / THIS INSPIRING SPIRIT. / MURDERED OCT. 27, / 1902.
Jack Newman was unable to attend the dedication ceremony in Skagway, but sent a message.
“I’m an old man and no longer suited to the scene, for Mollie is still young and will remain forever young, her spirit lingers still reach across the years and play on the slackened strings of my old heart and my heart still sings – MOLLIE! – my heart still sings, but in such sad undertone that none but God and I can hear . . .”
However, his wife, Hannah let her husband know that she was less than thrilled with his tribute to his lost love.
To appease his wife, he quickly placed a dinner-plate-size bronze profile of Hannah on the exterior of the Washington Athletic Club, at Sixth Avenue and Union Street. The inscription:
MRS. HANNAH NEWMAN / WITH COURAGE AND FAITH IN THE / DEVELOPMENT OF OUR CITY OWNED / THIS GROUND FROM PIONEER DAYS / UNTIL THE ERECTION OF THIS BUILDING / 1930
Jack Newman died soon after Mollie’s statue was unveiled in Skagway – on May 4, 1931 of appendicitis. Although Newman had requested that he be buried in Skagway, beside Mollie’s monument, Mrs. Newman had him buried in Seattle. I could not find a photo of Hannah’s bronze on the WAC building on the corner of 6th and Union. If someone would like to photograph it, I will post it, but in the mean time here is a great picture of young Packer Jack. Cute guy!
HIs gravesite can be viewed by going to Findagrave and entering the Memorial ID number 104500403
I was contacted recently by Art Petersen who has spent years researching Mollie Walsh and Packer Jack Newman. In fact he has written a new book entitledMarch 2022 update
Promised Lands, MOLLIE WALSH: An Irish-American Story (2021 Klondike Research). available from Klondikeresearch.com
In this book he describes new corrections which I will now point out:
A few facts:
Packer Jack never shot anyone.
The statue was erected after Packer Jack died.
Packer Jack wanted to be buried at Inspiration Point on the White Pass Trail.
Leo Alphonse was born on August 27, 1900, not 27 May 1899. He forged his birthdate to be old enough to join the U.S. Army.
Mike Bartlett did not put on a party to celebrate the birth of his son; he was not even on the boat.
Mollie did not help Reverend Dickey establish the Union Church in Skagway.
Mollie’s husband never entered an insane asylum; rather, he suffered torturously for six years after his trial before ending his own life before a horrified audience.
Here is the pic of the bronze, care of Lindsey Haight
Weston’s carrier pigeons
In 1898 everyone had their own scheme to get rich, and not everyone was goldrushing!
The Seattle Post Intelligencer sent a man on the “Portland” three days after the historic arrival in Seattle. Samuel P. Weston’s idea was to bring cages filled with carrier pigeons to Skagway and send them south to deliver his reports. Apparently they were all lost on their way south, poor things, they couldn’t make the 1500 mile trip. Seen above is the Portland.
Eccentric Seattle by J. Kingston Pierce, p. 120
Gold shipment 1899
Erastus Brainerd was an American journalist and art museum curator. During the Yukon Gold Rush, he was the publicist who “sold the idea that Seattle was the Gateway to Alaska and the only such portal”. He was born on February 25, 1855 in Middletown, Connecticut and attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University, from which he graduated at the age of 19. He served as curator of engravings at the Boston Museum of Arts, then traveled to Europe, where he promoted a tour for “lecturing showman” W. Irving Bishop. He was a social success in Europe, and became a Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Red Cross of Rome, a Knight Templar, and a Freemason.
In July 1890, after recovering from three severe bouts of influenza, he headed west to become editor of the Seattle Press and the Press-Times, a role he held until September 1893. He left to focus on the office of State Land Commissioner, to which he had been appointed March 15, 1893. He joined the Rainier Club and organized a local Harvard Club. In 1897, as secretary and executive officer of the newly founded Bureau of Information of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, he became the most prominent figure in the publicity campaign that established Seattle’s preeminence as a mercantile and outfitting center for the miners headed to the Yukon. He also convinced the federal government to open an assay office in Seattle. He briefly and unsuccessfully attempted to make a living as a “mining consultant” before becoming editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He may never have come to Skagway, but he certainly influenced the thousands that did. And so, we dub him a Skagway hero.
Brainerd died on December 25, 1922 in Tacoma, Washington.
Wikipedia; Library of Congress; National Park Service.
William D. Wood
William Wood was born in 1858 in Marin, California to Canadian parents from Ontario. William became an attorney, land speculator, electric trolley line president, and Seattle mayor. He was a conspicuous figure in the business and political life of Seattle for more than a quarter century and was the key original developer of the Green Lake neighborhood.
He served as mayor of Seattle from April 1896 to July 1897 when the Klondike Gold Rush supplied him with an opportunity more golden: providing steam passage from San Francisco and Seattle to Alaska. I have often heard people cite him as one of the many people who dropped everything and headed for the Klondike to seek their fortunes, but actually he was a savvy businessman who capitalized on the transportation needs of the gold rush.
William Wood died on this day, March 23, 1917 in Seattle of an intestinal ailment.
History of Seattle online; nps.gov; University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Washington State Biography Pamphlet file; Men of the Pacific Coast (San Francisco: Pacific Art Co., 1903), 479; UW Libraries, Special Collections, Struve Scrapbook, Vol. 1, p. 24; 1880 census in California.