Mosier was born in 1866 in Des Moines Iowa. He attended Iowa State School of Engineering at age 16 and graduated in 1885 at age 19. He worked for railroads in Iowa until he moved to Seattle in 1888. The Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern hired him to work on the route near Snohomish. He went to Alaska in 1896 to report on a disputed waterway, but got involved with the gold rush and stayed, surveying from White Pass to Skagway, working for Captain Gaillard (who we looked at a couple of days ago).
The route that the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad takes today is a result of his survey in 1897.
In 1898, Mosier went to Dawson by way of St. Michael and the Yukon and spent ten years in the Klondike and adjacent territories, making his mark as one of the most successful drift miners in the region.
He returned to Washington in early 1924 just before his wife died, and he never returned to Alaska. Albert was a U. S. Deputy Mineral Surveyor and a U. S. Deputy Surveyor in Alaska in 1914. He died on this day, December 8, 1955 in the town that he platted: Sedro Wooley, Washington.
Seen above in his 80’s still using his surveying equipment.
Skagit River Journal website; glosurveyorsnotes.pdf; webpage on him as Washington pioneer.
Before the construction of the railroad, Gaillard led a team of engineers up to the White Pass to survey a route.
Gaillard was born in 1859 in Fulton, South Carolina. After graduation from West Point and promotion to first lieutenant in 1887, he married Katherine Ross Davis. The couple had one child, David St. Pierre Gaillard. By 1903 he was a Captain in the Army Corps of Engineers and in 1908 he led the Army Corps in building the Panama Canal.
Gaillard was in charge of the notorious Culebra Cut through the backbone of the isthmus. Men who worked with him said he gave 12 hours every day to the Culebra Cit, besides which, he took his share in the labor of general administration of the Canal Zone. He checked up expenses, even on small things and once it was computed he had saved the Government $17,000,000.
He succeeded, but did not live to see the job finished. Suffering from what was thought to be nervous exhaustion brought on by overwork, he returned to the United States in 1913. In fact, Gaillard suffered from a brain tumor.
Lieutenant Colonel David DuBose Gaillard died at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on this day, December 5, 1913. He was 54 years old. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The Panama Canal opened nine months after his death, and Culebra Cut was renamed Gaillard Cut in his honor.
Skagit River Journal website; NY times article 1903.
Ogilvie was born on this day, April 7, 1846 on a farm in Gloucester Township, Ottawa of Irish and Scottish immigrant parents. After learning the skill of surveying, he worked locally as a land surveyor. Later he qualified as a Dominion Land Surveyor and was first hired by the Dominion government in 1875. From 1887 to 1889, Ogilvie was involved in George Mercer Dawson’s exploration and survey expedition in what later became the Yukon Territory. With the packing help of Skookum Jim Mason, along with George and Kate Carmack, he surveyed the Chilkoot Pass, as well as the Yukon and Porcupine rivers. Ogilvie established the location of the boundary between the Yukon and Alaska on the 141st meridian west.
During the Klondike Gold Rush, he surveyed the townsite of Dawson City and was responsible for settling many disputes between miners. Ogilvie became the Yukon’s Land Surveyor and Commissioner to the Yukon Territory between July 5, 1898 and March 1901 when he resigned due to poor health.
He later wrote “Early Days on the Yukon” published in 1913. He died November 13, 1912 of poor health in Winnipeg.
“The Yukon Territory”; Wikipedia
Henry Sarvant was born in 1860 in New York. Immigrating to Tacoma in 1889, he had a long and varied life, working as a pioneer Tacoma civil engineer as well as serving for several terms as mayor of the town of Steilacoom. He made many trips to Mt. Rainier and made the first extensive surveys of the region. According to records kept by Mr. Longmire, on an expedition made in August 1892 with Mr. J. K. Samble, Sarvant was one of the first 11 people to reach the summit of Mt. Rainier. He led P. B. Trump’s party on several of the early climbs to the summit. He also worked for the Washington Geological Survey party of Mt. Rainier, and he named many of the lakes, glaciers, and peaks in the park. Later on, a series of glaciers on the northeast slope was named after him. Here he is pictured on a glacier on Mt. Rainier in 1896.
In 1897 Sarvant traveled to the Klondike region, where he worked as a surveyor and located a successful mine, earning enough gold to fund his later business and farming ventures. He followed one of the more popular routes through Dyea and over the Chilkoot Pass. It was not easy-during the winter months heavy snow and ice made the trip dangerous and difficult, and in the fall and spring travelers had to contend with thick, unending mud. He was also a photographer of the Gold Rush. Sarvant’s Klondike photographs were taken between August 1897 and November 1901. They chronicle his trip up to the Klondike at the beginning of the Gold Rush through Dyea and over the Chilkoot Pass to Dawson.
He died on this day, March 9, 1940 in Yakima Washington.
Univ. of Wash. library online.
Happy Birthday to Thomas Riggs, third governor of Alaska. Riggs was born on this day, October 17, in 1873 in Ilchester, Maryland. He attended good schools and graduated from Princeton in civil engineering in 1894. The Riggs family moved to Washington state and was involved in the lumber business. Thomas came to Skagway in 1897, joined the Arctic Brotherhood, was a U.S. Surveyor, and owned the Dyea Lumber Company. Hmmm, no conflict of interest there.
He then unseccessfully prospected for gold in Dawson and Nome before heading south to Idaho. He found politics more rewarding presumably and was appointed to the U.S. Boundary Commission in 1903 and soon become the United States Engineer-in-Charge. During this effort, his team surveyed the United States-Canada boundary from the Pacific to Arctic Oceans, placed boundary markers, and cleared wooded areas to provide a clear line of sight between markers. (What became of the lumber I wonder?)
After that, President Wilson appointed him to the Alaska Railroad Commission during which time he oversaw the building the Alaska Railroad. President Wilson then appointed him the third Governor of Alaska in 1918.
During his governorship he saw the 1918 flu epidemic arrive in Alaska and made efforts to stop it, but to no avail. The flu wiped out entire villages and left hundreds of native orphans.
When Harding was elected President, Riggs left the governorship and Governor Bone was appointed. Riggs then left Alaska and moved to New York and finally Washington D.C. where he died in 1945 at the age of 72.
Wikipedia; NPS records; WW1 Registration; 1909 Arctic Brotherhood membership book. Below is a picture of him in Dyea (picture from an ebay posting)
John Hislop was the first Mayor of Skagway and President of our City Council from 1900-1901. He was a former High School teacher and came to Skagway from Cripple Creek, Colorado. He became the White Pass Chief Engineer and surveyor working closely with Michael Heney.
John was born in 1856 in Galt, Ontario Canada and his father also worked on the railroad as a section foreman.
On February 22, 1901, in Chicago the tragedy of John’s death brings tears to my eyes. Standing on the platform for the train, getting ready to meet his bride, his jacket caught and he was thrown under the train and killed. He was 45 years old.
The Barley photo above shows a WP official, probably Hislop surveying the White Pass summit for a route to build the railroad.
1881 Canadian and 1900 Skagway census; Goldrush website; Skagway News; Cy Warman; Mills; Minter.