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Skagway Townsite Files

Two tons of gold arrived in San Francisco and Seattle in July 1897. It launched a gold rush that rivaled all the others of the nineteenth century. By July 22, stampeders swarmed on-shore at Skagway, Alaska, over-running a homestead staked by William and Bernard Moore in 1888 and again in 1896. People intent on settling on the Moores' homestead hired a surveyor named Frank Reid, platted out a town and began claiming lots on August 5, 1897. On September 16, Bernard Moore restaked him 640-acre homestead and attempted to run-off more than 500 merchants and residents who had occupied his land.

A lawsuit ensued. Titles would not be cleared until after 1908. The politics of Skagway would center on the Skagway Townsite issue until well after 1912.

This webpage is dedicated to reprinting the critical documents of that lawsuit. The history of Skagway cannot be completely understood without this part of its history.

The Skagway Townsite Files are stored at the National Archives, Washington, D.C., Record Group 49, Records of the General Land Office, Division K, Townsite Files, Skagway Townsite. They are a matter of public record.   Text files were scanned by a computer into a Rich Text file, converted to an MS DOC file, then edited by Catherine Holder Spude. Graphic files were scanned into JPG files and converted into PDF files for display here. Maps are the creation of the author where so indicated.

(links to transcriptions will be marked below as they are made available)

Price et al. v. Moore

Bernard Moore Direct Examination, February 18, 1898, pp. 1-29
J. T. Martin Direct Examination, February 18, 1898, pp. 30-35

Malcolm Campbell Direct Examination, February 18, 1898, pp. 36-38

C. W. Garside Direct Examination, February 18, 1898, pp. 39 – 43

William A. Bigelow Testimony, March 31 – April 1, 1898, pp. 1-47

Frank Reid Testimony, April 1 – 2, 1898, pp. 48 -70

Emery Valentine Testimony, April 2, 1898, pp. 71-84

J. G. Price Testimony, April 2 – 5, 1898, pp. 85- 97

 Annie Leonard Testimony, April 4, 1898, pp. 100 – 121

Charles R. Morrison Testimony, April 5-6, 1898, pp. 122 – 129

Bernard Moore Testimony, April 6, 1898, pp. 130 – 132

Charles E. Cole Testimony, April 6, 1898, pp. 133 – 157

William Moore Testimony, April 6, 1898, pp. 158 – 163

Exhibit A: J. G. Price, “Exhibit A” affidavit, dated October 18, 1897.
Exhibit B. Handwritten notes of citizens meetings, October 1897.
Exhibit C: 
Charles W. Garside Map, July 1896

Exhibit D: Agreement between Bernard Moore and E. E. Billinghurst, dated June 1896.

George Harkrader application for a patent, dated October 1897.



Valentine v. Moore Lawsuit

Emery Valentine Adverse Claim, October 21, 1897.

Emery Valentine Testimony for Valentine et al.,  April 6, 1898, pp. 1-9

Frank Reid Testimony for Valentine et al.,  April 6, 1898, pp. 10-11

Bernard Moore Testimony for Valentine et al., April 6, 1898, pp. 13-15 

Emery Valentine Recalled Testimony for Valentine et al.,  April 6, 1898, pp. 15-16


The 1901 Appeal by Moore:


Resolution passed by the City of Skagway,

Edward Taylor affidavit, August 1901

J. Grantham and Fred Staples Affidavit, August 2, 1901

J. G. Price affidavit, May 17, 1901

Case, Draper, Barley and Hegg affidavit of photographs, August 2, 1901

Ed Donnally affidavit, August 2, 1898

Bernard Moore objection for protestant application to move re-hearing, dated August  12, 1901

Edward Taylor statement he does not wish to oppose B. Moore, Sept. 14, 1901

A. B. Newell letter stating for WP&YR that it does not wish to participate in application of J. Bernard Moore for patent, Sept. 6, 1901.

Brief for Moore, dated April 17, 1899, 35 pages.

Appeal of J. G. Price et al., dated _____ 1901

Louis P. Shackleford affidavit, dated August 2, 1901

Misc. papers of the Skagway city council dated fall 1901.

Decision for Moore, January 1901.

Brief for Protestants on Appeal, 1901.

Miscellaneous papers having to do with the Chamber of Commerce protest, January 1901

General Land Office Published Brief for Moore, 1901.

Miscellaneous papers dealing with the Alaskan and North Western Territories Trading Company.

Papers having to do with the survey of Skagway, dating October 24, 1903 and before.

Affidavit of John H. Diers, dated February 6, 1901.

Notice of location by Twitchell et al., dated February 1898.

Testimony of witnesses for Twitchell et al. dated April 6, 1898 and February 25, 1901.

Deposition of Charles E. Cole, dated April 1, 1901.

Deposition James T. Field, dated August 9, 1901.

Deposition of James T. Field, dated November 1, 1897.

Deposition of C. W. Garside, dated  February 16, 1898.

Deposition of Charles Wynn-Johnson, dated August 27, 1898.

Deposition of Athur Heathorn, dated February 4, 1901.

Deposition of Thomas Nathan Corder, dated February 4, 1901.

Affidavit of Phil Abrahams, dated February 2, 1901.

Deposition of Joseph Cowan, dated  February 2, 1901.

Deposition of J. T. Martin, dated  February 16, 1898.

Deposition of Fred Ronkendorf, dated February 2, 1901.

Deposition of Percy B. Hunting, dated February 2, 1901.

Deposition of Herman Meyer, dated February 4, 1901.

Deposition of Q.D. H. Warden, dated February 4, 1901, with attached letters.

Deposition of G. W. Graves, dated February 4, 1901.

Affidavit of S. C. White and J. M. Tanner, dated August 2, 1901.

Bernard Moore application for dismissal of appeal, dated August 12, 1901

Brief for Moore (typescript, 36 pages) dated October 17, 1899.

Skagway Chamber of Commerce letter dated January 25, 1901.

Signatures of property owners, unknown date

Appeal to the Supervisory Authority of the Secretary, dated August 20, 1901

Protest of J. G. Price, dated October 18, 1897, with attachments (meeting notes).

Adverse Claim of Emery Valentine et al. dated October 21, 1897.

Decision for Protestants, dated July 11, 1900.

Motion for Appeal by Bernard Moore, dated April 19, 1901.

History of the Case, Moore, dated April 19, 1901.

Brief for Protestants, dated July 1899.


The Townsite Trustee 1908-1910

Letters regarding Townsite Trustee dated 1909

Unclaimed lots and valuations, 1908

Wm. Boughton deposition, February 18, 1909 and additional papers of the townsite trustee dating 1909 - 1910

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