Dora Ouellet (or Oullette or Owlette) was born during the Gold Rush, on this day, January 5, 1898 faraway in Pringle in Muskoka and Parry Sound, Ontario.
In the 1930s, Alaska Natives in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region near Bethel had the highest rate of Tuberculosis deaths and illness in the entire world. For 20 years, TB scourged the population throughout rural Alaska. By the mid-1940s, it was estimated that 10 percent of the Alaska Native population had active TB. The epidemic lasted into the early 1960s. One in 30 Natives resided in a sanitarium.
In 1945 the U.S. Health Service opened a tuberculosis sanitarium in the army hospital across the river in Skagway. Nurses came from Sisters of St. Ann in Victoria, B.C. It held as many as 90 patients before closing in 1947.
Poor Dora may have been one of the patients here because she died on July 19, 1946. A total of 56 people died in Skagway between 1945 and 1947, though not all by tuberculosis. Most of the deceased were sent back home, but a few were buried here in the Pioneer Cemetery.
Seen above is Vanilla dressed in her very best. She claims to be an Ouellet.
Skagway Death Record; Ontario 1901 and 1911 censuses.
Several prisoners from Skagway were sent to McNeil Island, Washington at the turn of the century. There was an article written in the Dawson Daily News of August 14, 1905 that the Alaska Native prisoners were being kept isolated because they were all dying of consumption (tuberculosis) and were resigned to the fact that they would die in prison. The warden of the prison said that in his experience, the Alaskan natives had “a hereditary tuberculosis which was aggravated by the weather and confinement.”
They listed 12 Alaskan natives including the three which had been convicted of the Horton murders: Jim Kishtoo (Williams), Jack Klane (Mark Klanat), and Jim Hanson (Kebeth).
I believe the first two died around 1905 there and Kebeth died August 13, 1905 of consumption at age 28.
Land for the McNeil Island Cemetery was donated by island pioneers, Eric Nyberg and his wife, Martha, and the first of many burials was in October 1905. When the island’s residents were forced to leave in 1936, the cemetery was closed and all remains were exhumed and reburied in cemeteries on the mainland. So the actual resting place of these three is still unknown.
On this day, April 10, 1898 two men in Dyea died of tuberculosis. John McCafferty was from Montgomery County, Missouri and was described by his friend, William Thomas Painter in a letter: “John McCaferty was a big strong man. Went to Alaska in the Gold Rush 1898, most likely died on the Chillcoot Pass (where many failed to get over the terriable mountain) never heard from.”
The other man who died, Thomas E. See was also from Montgomery County Missouri and they traveled together from Missouri. From Mr. See’s obiturary: “…It seems that they died of an influenza peculiar to that climate. Mr. See was a brother to R. E. See, Marshal of the Missouri Supreme Court.” Everett Barton was a County Clerk and he traveled with both See and McCafferty. Seen above is the photo of that party. (Mr. See was 32 years old, McCafferty was 37. So See is probably the fellow on the lower left.)
Here is part of Barton’s journal:
“Our party, four in number, Lee Gregory, Thomas See, Frank White and myself left Montgomery City, August 9th, 1897, to embark on a journey of thousands of miles fraught with many hardships and dangers, passing through and making changes at Kansas City, Mo., Billings, Montana, on to Seattle, Washington, where we purchased our outfit and boarded the steamer City of Kingston, which plied the waters known as the Inside Channel extending north.”
Barton later mentioned McCafferty being part of the party:
“The toll from our county alone, being Thomas See, John McCafferty, Charlie Nebal, Mr. Frank Purcell who met his death at Seattle, also a Mr. Watson who died soon after reaching his home in Callaway county. As one Writer has said in writing of the many deaths in the early gold mining in Colorado. “Many with folded arms and rigid faces were consigned by strangers to hill-side graves with no child’s voice to prattle its simple sorrow, no woman’s tears to be-dew their memory”. Charlie Nebal or Nebel was 24 and died on the Chilkoot Pass also, but there is no record of his burial.
The Dyea Trail said that both See and McCafferty were buried in the Dyea Cemetery.
Dyea Trail: March 12, 1898: website: http://www.spiddyskids.com/
Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma, 23 March 1898
Annie Maria Hanson was born in 1860 in Canada and married John Robert Maltby in 1882 in New Brunswick. John was an attorney who practiced in Dawson until 1903 when he died of tuberculosis. Annie moved to Skagway and roomed at Ma Pullen’s Hotel where she died on this day, June 18, 1910 of heart disease (she was 50).
census; family obituary online.
Ed and Estella Peoples moved to Skagway in 1898 from Illwaco, Washington. Ed was a furniture maker and undertaker. On this sad day, March 11, 1901 their two year old son died of tuberculosis in Skagway. Little Edgar was cremated and his remains taken to Portland, Oregon.
The People’s Mortuary was found on the southwest corner of 8th and Broadway from about 1898 to 1901.
Mr. Peoples was the Mayor of Skagway and on city council in 1900-01. After the death of little Edgar, he resigned and moved to Eagle with his wife Estella and Frank Woodruff. They then moved to Rampart, and then on to Fairbanks by 1926. Edgar and Estella both died in Seattle in the 1930’s.
Skagway Death Records; Washington death records; Oregon death records.
On this day, December 10 1943, three women died according to the Skagway Death Records, but no indication of why they died. There is also no record of where Signa Rugene Sletten, Mary Andrews Steinard, and Margaret Alma Stukel were buried.
During this time there were fires that took down the Elks Hall, Pullen House and the Mission School, so perhaps that is a clue….go to work fellow sleuths!
P.S. the photo above has nothing to do with the Mystery, except that I wonder what type of beer this bear is drinking.
Happy Birthday to little Hazel born in Skagway on October 18, 1899 to the famous White Pass & Yukon Route photographer Harry C. Barley and his wife Dora.
Barley was a late-comer to the gold rush and established an office in Skagway in 1899. He became the official photographer for WP during and after construction of the railway from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon. Barley died, shortly after the Klondike Gold Rush, in San Francisco of consumption. The Yukon Archives has the most complete collection of Barley’s professional prints, including 500-700 prints of life in Skagway, WP&YR construction and various Yukon and Alaska communities.