Joseph McCann was born on May 3, 1879 in Quebec and came to Skagway in 1898 and like so many others, he worked for the railroad. He worked as a carpenter, brakeman and conductor. (He gave the photo of Jerry Quinlan to the family as we saw in yesterday’s post.)
Mary Kerwin came to Skagway from Ottawa, around 1904 and was in the Tuberculosis Sanitarium for awhile, recovered and then married Joseph. They had at least 5 children, one became a priest, one a nun and one a nurse at the hospital. They lived in Skagway until after 1930. Joseph died in Vancouver, B.C. in 1936 and Mary in Beaverton, Oregon in 1969. They all lived in a little yellow house which sits right behind our house, on 13th, as seen above. When we moved to Skagway in 1998, Wanda Warner lived in that house and she brought over an entire dinner for us as a housewarming present. I will never forget her kindness to us, she was a wonderful lady.
1910 1920 and 1929 census; Alaska Yukon Pioneer Roster;
A visitor posted this picture of the train derailment yesterday at the White Pass Summit.
Jack was born in 1904 in Oregon and came to Skagway around 1929 and worked for White Pass as a boilermaker. He was Mayor of Skagway during World War two. If you have ever visited Oahu, Hawaii and gone to the Dole plantation which is about half way between Honolulu and North Shore, they have a very cute tourist train called the Pineapple Express. It has rails about 24 inches apart. Jack Hoyt built this little tourist railroad in 1969. I don’t know how much of the original train that he built is still running, but it is a favorite tourist attraction still.
Albert was born on June 7, 1842 in New York. In the Civil War he was a private in the Ohio Infantry from May 1861 to August 21, 1861. After that he eventually ended up in Skagway Alaska where he worked for White Pass as a wharf baggageman and later as a foreman. There were a few Civil War vets in Skagway in those years. They must have had some good stories to tell.
Albert stayed here until about 1914 when at age 72 he moved to Snohomish where he died, on this day, April 16, 1914, and is buried in the GAR cemetery there. His death certificate said he was working as a painter then.
1905 and 1915 directories; rootsweb and civil war vets of Washington online.
This photo of men working on the railroad line says Dedman Studio Skagway, but it looks like it is alongside the Yukon River with the Steamships. My guess it is Whitehorse, or possibly Carcross.
This Case and Draper photo of the train in 1905 shows how much of the landscape was “scalped” for building and firewood. I don’t know exactly where this was, somewhere on the other side of the pass in Canada.
Here’s that photo that I posted before, it was mislabeled to be Heney in the middle, but actually that charming mug is the governor, Wilford Bacon Hoggatt! This is a scan from the same book, Grit, Grief and Gold by Whiting.
On this day, May 27, 1898, after years of planning and financial consideration by British investors, White Pass & Yukon Route started building the railroad over the White Pass to Whitehorse. I don’t remember ever seeing a ceremony to commemorate the start on that day, I think they just started. They encountered some difficulty in building the line along the base of the cliff where it is located now, because local landowners and speculators had bought up the land thinking they would cash in. So two weeks later, despite local objections, 500 workers started laying the track down Broadway at night and in the morning of June 15, 1898 the town awoke to find the deed was already done.
This demonstrated two things, that Michael J. Heney was a doer, that local objections were of no concern to him, and second that with enough manpower and money, White Pass was above any minor obstacles. These characteristics would later become evident in their dealings with accidents and local problems (Soapy?).
Mr. Newell was born on this day, April 26, 1868 in Albany, New York and graduated from Yale where he played on the Football Team in 1888, seen above.
He was involved with railroad administration and started work at the White Pass & Yukon Route in 1901 as the Vice-President. It seems as though his position was based in Seattle as there was some controversy of White Pass closing their Victoria and Seattle offices in 1902 and moving them to Vancouver. His socialite wife apparently stayed in Chicago and occasionally visited the far Northwest before returning to civilization. He visited Dawson with President Graves in 1903 but received an icy welcome from Yukoners because of some White Pass administrative polices.
Anyway, by 1912, Ashbel had moved on to be President of the Tennessee Central Railroad.
All that we know about this accident is from the Skagway Death Record which states that John Phillips, a White Pass worker was run over by the train and killed on this day, January 29, 1900. But Minter wrote that two Native American workers were killed that day and he only knew the name of Phillips.
Curiously, in February 1900 another worker, John McAllister was killed, also by falling below the wheels of the train near the White Pass summit and he is buried at Bennett Cemetery. There are also at least four other railroad workers buried at Bennett who died in the construction of the railroad between 1899 and 1900: Andrew Aidukewicz or Ajdukewicz, J. Cumberland, A. Kelly, and William Nelson. It is possible that William Nelson was the other Native American worker killed on January 29 1900 that Minter mentions since there were other Nelsons living in Skagway at the time who were Native. In all that makes at least 6 men who were killed around 1900 while working on the line, winter is a brutal time to be up at the pass.
Minter; Skagway Death Record
P.S. the three things missing from front of AB Hall in yesterday’s pic are:
1. the flagpole, 2. the hanging projecting sign, and 3. the bench.