Fred Harte was born in 1839 in Northern Ireland and came to the Yukon in 1873. His party, with Arthur Harper, George Finch and Kinseller reached Fort Yukon from Canada by way of the Mackenzie, Peel, and Porcupine Rivers through the Chilkoot Pass in 1873. This well documented party is perhaps the first white party to cross the Chilkoot Pass. Harte later worked with McQueston and Mayo. All of these men were trappers who searched for furs but were at the beginning of the mining era when gold was discovered in the Yukon. All of these famous early explorers can have their own story told, but here we are celebrating Fred Hart. He was one of the charter member of the Yukon Order of Pioneers and served as the first Secretary for the Y.O.O.P. He died in November 1898 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Dawson. Seen above are some members holding the banner in Dawson.
Anna was born in 1861 in Cornwall, England. After coming to America, she was working as a maid in Sonora when she met a young handsome Jewish man named James Fink. James dropped his real name and adopted his stage name of George Thornton Snow. Anna and George were married and became talented performers who traveled the gold camps of California. They had two children in Sonora. In 1887 the family took passage on the old side wheel steamer “Olympia” to Juneau for a six week stint to provide classical entertainment to the miners there. They liked Juneau and stayed.
George was soon hit with “gold fever” and made two trips to the Yukon leaving Anna in Juneau to eke out a living by sewing. After returning to Juneau in 1894, he planned to go north again but Anna put her foot down and said “If you go we’re going”.
They took the little tugboat “Rustler” up the Lynn Canal to Dyea. The Snow family crossed the Chilkoot in 1894. Daughter Crystal Brilliant, age 10 and son Montgomery, age 11 were perhaps some of the first children to cross. One of the items that they dragged over the pass was a three octave organ. At the top of the pass they were hit by a blizzard and had to build a tent to hunker down for three days. Crystal and Montgomery played “igloo”. George was so proud of his early accomplishment that he started the Yukon Order of Pioneers that year.
The family opened the Grand Opera House at Circle City where they all performed. (See the store in Circle City above in 1897.) They moved back to Skagway in 1909 and George became the City of Skagway jailer. George died in Seattle in 1925 at the age of 78 (he was quite a bit older than Anna).
Anna Snow died on this day, November 19, 1943 in Juneau at the age off 82, and is buried in the Juneau Evergreen Cemetery.
1910; Klondike Centennial Scrapbook p. 145;Snow Family papers in Alaska Historical Collections at the Alaska State Library; Gates; More than Petticoats, Remarkable Alaska Women by Cherry Lyon Jones; Familysearch records; Juneau Parks and Rec site.