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The publications and research of Catherine Holder Spude.

C. R. Morrison Testimony

Charles R. Morrison went to work at Skagway on March 31, 1897 and witnessed the early development by the Moores and the citizens of townsite. He testified on behalf of Bernard Moore and his backers on April 5 and 6, 1898. While much of his testimony backs up that of the protestants', some contradicts it.

Map by Catherine Holder Spude, after survey by Frank Reid. The solid dark line outlines the 160 acres claimed by Bernard Moore on September 19, 1897.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Skagway Street Names

(Courtesy Karl Gurcke, Historian, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Skagway, Alaska.)

On August 18, 1897 Frank H. Reid and William C. Fonda began surveying the Skagway Townsite.  Streets and avenues were laid out 60 feet wide and alleys were 20 feet wide.  Lots were 50 feet by 100 feet each and there were 12 lots to a block making blocks 220 feet (north-south) by 300 feet (east-west). 

The first city election was held December 4, 1897 and H. E. Battin was elected the first mayor of Skagway (note the old name for 24th Avenue).  The first council had the honor of naming the streets and avenues, usually after themselves or friends.  The first map of Skagway was dated January 10, 1898 and reflects those names.  After the first council moved on, the second council changed the names of the streets and avenues to the current names.  The second map of Skagway dated March 8, 1898 by Frank H. Reid and W. Thibaudeau has the modern names of all the city streets and avenues.  Congress Way was constructed in the 1940s and 1950s and the name dates to that period.  Broadway had currency even before Reid and Fonda began their survey.  It shows up on a street sign in a photograph taken by Frank LaRoche on August 12, 1897. 

North – South Streets (from East to West)

Current Names – Old Names

Spring Street – Hermann

Broadway – Broadway

State Street – Runnalls

Main Street – Main

Alaska Street – Ivy (Joseph W. Ivey, Collector of Customs)

And a street where the airport runway is today – Brady (John G. Brady, Governor of Alaska) on the 1st map and Market on the 2nd map.

East – West Avenues (from South to North)

Current Names – Old Names

1st Avenue – Water

2nd Avenue – Murphy

3rd Avenue – Keiser (Stampeder)

4th Avenue – Bond (Marshal Bond, Stampeder)

5th Avenue – McKinney (Dave McKinney, Stampeder)

6th Avenue – Holly

7th Avenue – Shoup (James M. Shoup, U. S. Marshall)

8th Avenue – Johnson (C. S. Johnson, Attorney)

9th Avenue – Moore (Capt. William Moore, First Resident)

10th Avenue – DeLaney (U. S. Judge)

11th Avenue – Hobart (C. L. Hobart, Customs Agent)

12th Avenue – McBride

13th Avenue – Bennett

14th Avenue – Buchanan (George Buchanan, First man killed in town)

15th Avenue – Washington

16th Avenue – Lee

17th Avenue – Suydam (Harry Suydam, Surveyor)

18th Avenue – Wyckoff

19th Avenue – Benson

20th Avenue – Chase

21st Avenue – Miller

22nd Avenue – Strong (J. F. A. Strong, Editor of the Skagway News)

23rd Avenue – Sperry (Charles B. Sperry, Manager of White Pass Trading Co.)

24th Avenue – Battin (H. E. Battin, Tram road promoter and first Mayor)


[Page 120]

The hearing was resumed at 9 o'clock a.m. April 5, 1898. Present: The Surveyor-General, Register and Receiver, and the parties in interest,

Charles R. Morrison was called in behalf of the applicant and sworn, and testified as follows:

Q. State your name, age, residence end occupation?

A. 0. R. Morrison, age 48, residence Portland, Oregon, occupation carpenter and builder.

Q. Have you ever been upon the land in controversy here known as Ben Moore's claim?

A. Yes sir.

Q. When did you first go upon the land?

A. March 31, 1897.

Q. Did you pass the next ensuing spring and summer and a part of the fall upon the land and in its immediate vicinity?

A. With the exception of the month of July I was there all of the time.

Q. At the time that you first went there who was in possession of the land?

(Counsel for the protestant at this time objects to any testi­mony or evidence being at this time introduced on the part of the applicant as to the value of the improvements upon the property in question, as to who has been in possession of the property since 1888, or any portion of that time; also objects to any testimony showing the necessity of the applicant for the land in question and objects to any testimony or evidence being offered, except that which would be in direct rebuttal of any new matter brought out by the witnesses on the part of the protestant; that any other evidence or testimony offered would be and is testimony and evidence that should have been given by the applicant at the time that he made his proof before this Board asking for his patent as a part of his original case. The objection is overruled for the following reasons: That it is

[page 123].

mandatory upon the Board, under Rule 41 of the Rules of Practice, that no testimony should be excluded on the ground of any objection thereto, and also for the reason that this has been the ruling of this Board in this case heretofore.

Counsel for protestant excepts to the ruling of the Board and states at this time to shorten the record that this objection will apply to all testimony all through the case without renewing the objection at each and every time a question is propounded to a witness concerning the matters enumerated in the objection.

A. Bernard Moore. 

Q. You may state whether at that time there was anybody on the land claiming it adversely to his?

A. There was not.

Q. You have heard the testimony of the witnesses in behalf of the protestants, or some of them, to the effect that there was no grass, or pasture land on this tract, is that true or is it not?

A. It is not true.

Q. About how large an area of pasture or grass land was there upon the tract at that time or during the summer that the jumpers got there?

A. There was from l2 to 15 acres.

Q. Was the grass of such a character that stock would thrive on it?

A. They did thrive on it, yes sir.

Q. State how you know?

A. When we landed there they had two small bales of hay, there was two horses there and they unloaded six cows from the steamer Mexico [March 31, 1897], also three pigs and that is what they subsisted upon with the exception of what little grain they was fed, and they didn't have to eat driftwood either.

Q. Then as I understand you the stock had no other cured food except a little grain and these two bundles of hay during that

[page 184]

    entire simmer.

A. I have no recollection of any hay being brought in previous to the middle of June, and don't know that there was any brought in then.

Q. Where did you stop? During this time, fore part of your residence up there?

A. At the mess house.

Q. How did the cattle get along grazing?

A. They had dry picking for two or three weeks until the green grass begun to grow. They soon got fat.

Q. Soon as the spring vegetation come on they began to fatten up?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Up the valley above the high water mark what sort of soil is it generally?  As to being tillable I mean?

A. It consists of loam and decayed vegetation.

A. Have you recently had occasion to observe this?

A. I have.

Q. State the circumstances which called your attention to it?

A. The last day that I was in Skaguay, which was the day that the "Elder" left there on her last trip, I saw them digging a post hole for an electric light pole at the corner of so-called Broadway and Shoup streets, which was at least two feet and a half deep, which showed that the soil consisted of a layer of loam and decayed vegetation alternately down that deep.

Q. The back portion of this claim, that is up the valley, was timbered was it not?

A. Yes sir.

Q. What was the character of the timber with reference to its being capable of being manufactured in lumber for building pur­poses?

A. It was quite heavily timbered with spruce, suitable for lumber manufacturing purposes.

[page 125]

Q. Large enough to out into lumber?

A. Yes sir.

Q. I think there has been some testimony introduced on the part of the protestants to the effect that there was no cleared land in the neighborhood or within the bounds of this timber tract. How la that?

A. Some had been cleared I notice when I built a house piles of old brush, old stumps were remaining there looked as though they might have been chopped down for a couple or three years. The clearing continued at intervals as long as I remained there at that time.

Q. You have heard the testimony of some of the witnesses in behalf of the protestants to the effect that there was no way to reach the white pass [sic], except by going over this claim, how la that?

A. It is not correct.

Q. Do you know J. T. Field who is referred to in this matter, I think he is one of the protestants here?

A. I do.

Q. I believe he has a claim of 160 acres, or within that neigh­borhood on the west aide of Skaguay, including Nausak Bay?

A. He did have it.

Q. Do you know whether there la a trail on the west side of Skag­uay leading from Fields claim up the valley towards the white pass [sic]?

A. There is, starting from Nausak Bay.

Q. That is on Fields claim?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Have you ever been over that trail?

A. I have.

Q. I believe it is not yet fully completed up to the summit, how much does it lack.

A. No sir it is not completed. I went over the trail of Mr.

[page 126]

 Fields to within four miles of the summit. He had his pack horse on the trail and there was work enough done on it to take the horse seven or eight miles from town.

Q. Have you been over the water front on the Field claim on the west side of Skaguay?

A. Yes sir.

Q. State whether or not it is practicable to put a wharf in there?

A. I think it is.

Q. Do you remember about 10 or 12 days ago of Capt. Moore letting a contract for some piles to put in that wharf of Moore's?

A. I have no personal knowledge of the matter, it is only hearsay.

Q. Do you know whether the piles were got out or not?

A. I don't know personally that they were.

Q. Did you have a contract to put a foundation for a warehouse on the Moore dock?

A.  I did. It was at the dock, not on it.

Q. With whom did you make that contract?

A. Bernard Moore.

Q. State whether at any time during your knowledge of this claim either the Captain or Ben Moore had engaged you to cruise for timber.

A. They have.

Q. Do you know what purpose the timber was to be used for?

A. For saw mill purposes or for manufacturing lumber.

Q. During the period that you were there who had the general charge of all of the outside work in connection with the improvements put on that ground?

A. Captain Moore.

Q. Do you know for whom he was acting?

A. His son, Bernard Moore.

[page 127]

Counsel for protestants moves to strike out all of the witnesses testimony for the reason that the evidence is simply corrobora­tive of what the claimant offered in the establishment of his claim to the land at the time the evidence was offered for final proof. The motion is overruled, and exception allowed.

Cross Examination.

Q. How much vegetation was there on the Ben Moore claim on the 31st of March, 1897? and is it not a fact that a greater part of the claim was covered with snow and ice?

A. What kind of vegetation have you reference to?

Q. Such that cattle could subsist on?

A. The greater portion of the 160 acres was covered with snow. But there was several acres on the water front that was not.

Q. Do you know where Bond St. or Fourth Ave. is, in Skaguay?

A. I know where Bond St. is.

Q. From Bond St. south to the water front what is the character of that land and what was it covered with when you landed there?

A. West from Reynolds street a large portion of it was covered with driftwood. East from Reynolds street [there was no Reynolds Street – he probably meant Runnalls, which became State Avenue] was covered mostly with fallen grass.

Q. Do you know where Everets store is on the corner of Bond [4th] and Broadway?

A. I do.

Q. Isn’t it a fact that he had for a long time great ricks of wood there gathered from his lot and the immediate vicinity, driftwood?

A. Not to my Knowledge.

Q. Isn’t it a fact that the only pasture ground of any value whatever on the Ben Moore claim is what is now included in the five acre tract back of his house?

A. No sir, it is not a fact at all.

[page 128]

Q. If it isn’t a fact state where it is and locate it?

A. Starting back of Ben Moore's house following westward to a few rods beyond the mess house, thence south to the line of ordinary high tide, with the exception of a row of trees that extended east about 300 feet, and also a narrow drift of wood that extended east probably 500 feet.

Q. Halting about how many acres?

A. About 12 or 15, possibly 20 acres.

Q. This Nausak Bay that you speak of this trail starting from, I will ask you if it is not a fact that that is around the point between Skaguay and Dyea?

A. It is.

Q. Don't you know that the trail leading from there up the mountains is simply an old Indian trail and is not fit nor never has been for packing purposes?

A. I do know that Mr. Field had a man there and chopped a trail a portion of the way to where it intersected with Mr. Moore's trail, and that with the exception of a few places that required more work it was a practical trail. I know nothing about its ever being used for an Indian trail.

Q. When did you have this contract with Ben Moore?

A. In October.

Q. State whether that contract was for bona fide purposes or sim­ply to allow you to testify in this case?

A. The warehouse that has been built at Mr. Moore's wharf was built on top of that foundation. It was for bona fide purposes.

Q. How old a man is Captain Moore?

A. I have no record of his birth. I don't know. Hearsay he is 73 years old.

Q. Approximately how old a man is his son Bernard?

A. I should guess him to be 36 years old,

Q. Still the old man is generally supervising Bernard's business, running his affairs for him?

A. Seems to be.

Q. Do you know when Captain Moore became a citizen of the United State?

A. I do not.

Q. And where his home has always been before he came to Skaguay?

A. His family have lived in Victoria, so I have heard said. I don’t know.

[Signed C. R. Morrison]

I hereby certify that the foregoing testimony was by me read and corrected in the presence of the witnesses, and that it was then subscribe to by him at my ovvice in Sitka, Alaska, this 6th day of April, 1898.

[signed John W. Dudley]


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