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Valentine Testimony

 BACKGROUND



Emery Valentine was first questioned by city attorney J. C. Price and then cross-examined by Moores' attorney on April 2  1898. Valentine was an investor in the Skagway Wharf Company, formed by himself, E. O. Sylvester, and J. P. Jorgensen. This wharf eventually became known as the Juneau Wharf, as most of the shipping to and from Juneau took place at this facility. It was located at the south end of State Avenue, known as Runnalls on the original Reid survey. The testimony shown below is that provided to Price et al. in their suit; Valentine provided additional testimony in his own suite four days later, on April 6, 1898.

 

 

EMERY VALENTINE TESTIMONY

APRIL 2, 1898

 

[page 71]

 

 

Hearing resumed at 1 o'clock P.M. April 2, 1898.

Emery Valentine being duly sworn testified as follows:


Q. what is your name, residence and occupation?


A. Emery Valentine, Juneau, Alaska Jeweler by Profession.


Q. What time did you first go to Skaguay?


A. Arrived at Skaguay about August 20 1897.


Q. Do you know Bernard Moore, the applicant, for a patent in this case and the party who has been referred to as Capt. Moore, his father


A.  I do.


Q  How long have you known Bernard Moore?


A. About 10 years.


Q. You have also had some business relations have you not doing this past ten years with Moore?


A. I have.


Q. Has he, during this time, been a man of wealth and money, if not, state what his financial condition has been?


A. I can only state so far as his business relations have been with me. I have frequently trusted Ben for a small amount, and sometimes it extended over quite a period before it was paid. He told me sometimes that he was at Skaguay, and he told me that he was at Chilkat some times. He wasn't around Juneau much of the time.


Q. What was he doing when he was around these places, if you know?


A. I do not.


Q. Now when you went to Skaguay in August, last, do you know the improvements or buildings that then were erected upon what is known as the Moore claim, and, if so state them and the approximate value of each? Reference being had to those buildings claimed to have been belonging to Bernard Moore?


A. All the buildings I saw on the entire land there, I couldn't state who owned them, there was one log cabin, where Ben now lives, they were building an addition to it at that time.

 

[page 72]

 

I have since been over there and looked at the place, I should think that the log house and the addition cost probably $300. The house they called the cook house was there, I suppose, just to look from the outside, that that would cost $400. The little place that they told me was the store, I wouldn't think I that was worth more than $125 or possibly $150. It was a small, cheap building. And the house where Capt. Moore lives I should think cost from $350 to $400. The enclosure of hewn cottonwood logs, which is now the city hall, I suppose there was probably $100 worth of work done on that. It was 4 or 6 logs high, no roof, no floor, no windows or doors. I saw a small rough log cabin built out back in the timber. And there was a foundation down on the beach with a boiler, an engine and a circular saw on it, and part of the main structure of a wharf built out on the cliff.


Q. Now you say there was a small store there, did you notice the amount of merchandise in it, if so, please state the approx­imate value and who you found in the management and control of the store at that time.


A. I went in and talked with the man who had charge of it. I don't remember his name. He told me that Mr. Billinghurst had engaged him at Victoria to take charge of it. I looked around at the stock of merchandise and I place the valuation under $100.


Q. Did you know a man there by the name of Warden?


A. I did.

Q
. Did you ever have any dealings with Warden relative to some tents that you had bought from the store and about paying for the same?


A. The tent deal came up in the latter part of September. I bought four tents from there, the store, to be used on 

 

[page 78]

 

the trail. Mr. Warden came over about an hour after I had bought them and said he wanted to refund the purchase price, that his company were interested in the trail as much as any ­one could be. He then wrote me an order on the storekeeper and then said he would go along with me and see that I got the money, which he did.


Q. What was Warden doing at that time?


A. He said he was managing the affairs of the English company.


Q. Was that at the wharf or saw mill?


A. He said he was the general manager of the whole affair, horses and everything else. I heard him giving orders to the teamsters afterwards. He came to me for some lumber for the wharf and borrowed some iron bars to use in the wharf.


Q. Did you ever see Ben Moore around giving any orders at the store, about the teams, or around any other property which Ben Moore is claiming in his application to be his?


A. No I did not.


Q. About the time of the construction of the wharf, which appli­cant claims, did you have any conversation with him concerning the same, and, if so, state it?


A. I said Ben you had better hurry up on the wharf there. He says they have got 26 men to work but d_ [blank is original] if I can see what they are doing. And he says I daresnt [sic] say anything.


Q. Do you know a man by the name of Billinghurst? Escolme?


A. I Know Billinghurst, but have never met Escolme.


Q. Who was Billinghurst, or who is he rather? and what was he doing at Skaguay and of what country is he a citizen? If you know?


A. He told me he was an Englishman, and he always spoke to me as if he owned the wharf and saw mill and everything up there. I never saw him doing anything except that he called on me several times to talk with me in connection with the wharf and townsite property.

 

[page 74]

 

Q. Do you know a man by the name of Buchanan at Skaguay, during the last year or so?


A. I did know him.


Q. State what he was doing and if you ever had any dealings with him or conversation with him about this property?


A. I met him the first day that I arrived at Skaguay. He told me he was a manager for the English company, he was constructing the dock for them. Said he had a timber claim of his own back of the town up the valley. Said he was going to quit the com­pany that day and he took a contract from me for getting out pilings.


Q. Did you ever have any dealings with Billinghurst concerning the leasing of the property of which you are claiming in this case?


A. No not of this particular property. I hadn’t bought any or located any at that time. I told him I wanted some land for a wharf and for a lumber yard and that I would buy it from him or lease it from him for a term of years, and I would recog­nize his title. He said that he would give me a lease but he would have to go to Victoria first.


Q. Did he state for what purpose he would have to go to Victoria?


A. To consult with the people down there.


Q. Do you know anything about the removal of a bunk house which Judge Delaney questioned Mr. Bigelow about yesterday, if so, state it?


A. Yes I remember the bunk house. It was built last fall. Mr. Tan­ner showed me about the time it was completed a contract wherein he had agreed to move the bunk house over by the saw mill. This contract was made with a man named Hill.


Q. Did you ever cash any checks signed by Escolme and, if so, who presented them to you?


A. I cashed checks amounting to $1600, signed by Escolme, pre­sented by Billinghurst and endorsed by him (Billinghurst).

 

[page 75]

 

There was about 20 of those checks.


Q. When was that?


A. Sometime in the fall, I think in October, 1897.


Q. From seeing the signature of Billinghurst and Escolme upon those checks, do you believe that you would be able to give an opinion as to the signature of Escolme and Billinghurst?


A.  I believe I would.

Q.  I hand you here a letter dated Victoria, B.C. July 31, 1897, and ask you to examine the signature at the bottom of that letter and tell me if you are able to give an opinion as to whose signature that is and who wrote it?


A. It is the same signature that was on the checks I cashed. 
John H. Escolme.

Q. Will you state that that is the signature as written by Escolme?

A. I say its the same signature that was on the checks I cashed.

Q. Will you state that to the best of your opinion that that is Escolmes handwriting? I am not asking you positively, I am asking you to pass an opinion?

A. I can state that the same name and the same signature were on the checks I cashed, but the man I have never had any communications from nor never net him.

Q. Were those checks cashed and paid up?


A. They were.


Q. Have you seen Mr. Billinghurst write his name?


A. I have.


Q. Do you believe you would be able to recognize his hand writing?


A.  I believe I would.

Q. 
I hand you now a letter dated Victoria, B.C. July 22nd, 1897, and ask you if you recognize the signature at the bottom of the letter and, if so, to the best of your opinion, whose signature is it?


A.  It is the signature of the man that I know as Billinghurst.

 

[page 76]

 

Q. The same man you saw around Skaguay?


A. Yes sir, and the same signature that Billinghurst placed on the checks which I cashed.


Q. On the map that is in this case with C. W. Garside's signature to it, there is a piece of land thereon marked cleared which surrounds the buildings which you have described heretofore in your testimony, I want to ask you if there is any land cleared in and about those buildings, or any where [sic] else on this claim of Bernard Moore when you went to Skaguay, in August, last?


A. There was no cleared land on the Dyea side of the river, there might have been some over on Ben's side I didn't go over there. I mean the Dyea side of Mill creek.


Q. Was there any clearing in and about Ben Moore’s and Capt. Moore's at that time?


A. I haven’t been over by Ben Moores. There wasn't any clear­ing around Capt. Moore's except what was necessary for the erection of tents and buildings.


Q. Do you know anything, Mr. Valentine, about the skid road which have been spoken about being constructed on this 160 acres.


A. I know a man named King came to me and wanted to take the con­tract for getting out the pilings that I needed, said that he owned the skid road and had built it, and that I couldn’t get any pilings out unless I used it.


Q. Have you seen King use it?


A. Yes, hauling out logs.


Q. You have constructed a wharf up there extending from the up­land claimed by Bernard Moore out into deep water in Skaguay Bay, have you?


A. I have.

Q. Were you there most during the construction of it?


A. I was.


Q. During this time did you have an opportunity during the

 

[page 77]

 

period of construction of this wharf, to observe the rise and fall of the tide in Skaguay Bay at this place?


A.  I did.


Q. Vertically, state how many feet?


A.  I judge it to be from 27 to 28 feet.


Q.  Is there any practical place of constructing a wharf at Skaguay without constructing it so when you reach the upland with it that you will have to enter upon this 160 acres, and is there any practical way of reaching White Pass for the Klondike or Yukon without passing over this same piece of land? (The Witness is here shown the Garside map which shows the exterior boundary lines of the 160 acres, which map is attached to Garside's affidavit.)


A. No there is no other.


Q. Did you observe any land on these premises such as would con­stitute pasture land for the purpose of running a dairy, and was there any such land there?


A. No I would say not.


Q. On this same Garside map that I referred to a minute ago, he has marked upon the southern part of this 160 acres of land a wire fence, was there any such fence there when you went there?

A. I saw none.


Q. If it had been there you would have seen it?


A. I think I would. I saw one piece of wire fence, that was constructed after I went there, across Runnalls street.


Q. You have been a resident of Juneau how long?


A. Twelve years in May [May 1886].


Q. Has your business been more or less of a public business to a certain extent during that time?


A. Yes, I think I have been among the people as much as any one.


Q.  Have you ever known people to speak of this piece of land which has been held as claimed by Bernard Moore for a trading post, or did you ever hear it spoken of as a trading post?

 

[page 78]

 

A.  No I never did.


Q.  Can you conceive of any kind of business that Bernard Moore could have carried on in the past, or will carry on in the fu­ture, that would make it necessary for his conducting of trade and manufacture, for him to own or possess these 160 acres?


A.  No sir.


Q. What amount of land do you think is necessary?


A.  I have never known Ben to manufacture or trade at all.


Q. In Ben Moore's affidavit Ben Moore claims that he has expended large sums of money. I have forgotten the amount, in the construction of this trail that runs up Skaguay valley. Do you know the amount of money that the citizens of Skaguay have spent upon this trail, in the construction of it?


A. I know that one time I was made treasurer of a fund for open­ing the trail along the latter part of September, and I ex­pended about $2100 on the trail. At that time I was told that it was impassible, never went over it.


Q. Was there any free labor, besides this money, entered into the construction of this road?


A. I believe there had been a great deal of free labor expended, although I didn't see it. I met a great many men there that told me they had been working on the road so many days and been working on the bridge.


Q. Did you contribute anything, if so, how much?


A. I contributed about $600.

 

Cross Examination.


Q. At the time you was in the store, was it in August or July?


A. August.


Q. Do you know whether or not at that time there was any other goods, wares, or merchandise, hay or provisions, connected with the store, outside of what you saw in the store itself?


A.  I do not.

 

 

[page 79]

 

Q. You do not know whether any portion of the stock belonging to the store was stored in warehouses or tents at that time?


A. I do not.


Q. Regarding the tent matter do you remember having a conversa­tion with Ben Moore about them?


A.  No I do not. Ben went over to the store with us I believe.


Q.  Did he assist you in any way or was he connected in any way with the deal.


A. No.


Q. Do you remember just how it was the matter was called off, did you no longer want the tents or did they want them for their own use? Or how was it?


A. I said that Mr. Warden said he would refund the money that I had paid for them.


Q. Don't you remember that the time the money was refunded you were up about Geo. Rice's place or somewhere in that vicinity, and Ben came along with Warden and directed Warden to refund the money and you thanked him afterwards for doing it?


A. No Ben had nothing to do with it. I thanked him and Warden both afterwards.


Q. At the time the money was refunded it was up at Rice’s and Warden and Ben were together?


A. The money was refunded in the store, not at Rice’s.


Q. Who was present when it was refunded?


A. I remember the old man that kept the store, was one, a man that came from Victoria, and Ben and myself.


Q. Did you understand Warden to be an owner in the townsite to any of the properties thereon belonging to the Moores, or was he simply an agent or employe [sic]?


A. I understood him to be, as he told me he was, an agent or superintendent for the English company.


Q. Do you remember the name of the company?


A. I supposed it was Billinghurst because he told me afterwards

 

[page 80]

 

that Billinghurst fired him.

 

Q. Do you know the name of the company that Buchanan was manager for?


A. No only that it was called the English company, that’s what he called it.


Q. This Buchanan is the same man who had a claim up the valley behind Ben's claim, is he not?


A. Yes, he told me he had a timber claim up there.


Q. You were here when Reid's two maps were introduced?


A.  I think not, I was out most of the time during his testimony.


Q. Does the townsite of Skaguay as claimed by the citizens cover any portion of this Buchanan's claim?


A. That I don't know.


Q.  Is this the man that killed himself?


A. Yes.


Q. You have never succeeded in getting any lease from Billinghurst or any other Englishman or English company, have you?


A. No, although I have been promised it by them.


Q. By who?


A. By Ben Moore, by Billinghurst and by Capt. Moore.


Q. At the time of this conversation did you know that Ben had had an official survey of the ground made with a view of getting his patent?


A. I did not.


Q. When was the conversation about the leasing with Billinghurst?


A.  I believe it was in October, in '97.


Q. When did you first learn that Moore had had an official survey made on the 160 acres?


A. Yesterday, I believe.


Q. When did you first learn that this application for a patent had been made?


A. The first I knew of it I saw the notice posted in front of the post office at Skaguay, I think in September or October, 1897.

 

[page 81]

 

Q.  I understand you to say that you don't know Escolme's signature never saw him write it?


A. Never saw him write it.


Q. All you know about his signature is the comparison between the one in the letter Judge Winn showed you and the one on the checks which you cashed?


A. I stated the signature in the letter was the same as the signature on the checks.


Q. But you don't know whether either of them was signed by Escolme?


A. I didn’t see either of the signed.


Q. When were you first up there at Skaguay?


A.  About the 20th of August, 1897.


Q. Was there a wagon road across this 160 acres at that time? 
I mean from the water front back.


A. They were hauling stuff from scows up the trail.  The wagon got through up as far as I went.


Q. What was at that time the character of the land towards the end of the road so far as you went up? I mean with reference to timber, boulders etc.


A.  It was heavily timbered, underbrush etc., excepting where it had been cleared for tents.


Q. Do you remember whether the pack trail that was started up the valley up that tine, started from the end of the wagon road and passed up the trail from there?


A.  I do not know, I was only up the road about a mile.


Q. Do you know what King had been doing prior to the time you had the conversation with him about getting you out some piling?


A. He told me he had been getting out logs for the saw mill that he had a contract with.


Q. In your estimate of the rise and fall of the tide at Skaguay Bay in which you place it at from 27 to 28 feet, do you intend that to refer to the ordinary rise and fall of the tide, or to unusual or extraordinary high tide?

 

[page 82]


A. I refer to the tides which I saw there from the highest to the lowest.


Q. When did you take these observations?


A. During the construction of the wharf.


Q. Between what periods?


A. From probably the 20th of August, up to the latter part of November, 1897.


Q. And the result of your observation during that period is the average or ordinary rise and fall of the tide is 27 or 28 feet?


A. No I won’t say that. I say from the highest to the lowest, it was necessary for me to know that in order to get the wharf so that we could get the proper depth of water and that the highest tide wouldn’t over­flow it.


Q. Do you know whether there was ever a wire fence running across the water front constructed by the Moores, post and partly wires.


A. There was none there when I went there and has been none since.


Q. You say you have been more or less acquainted with the people of the district during the last 10 or 12 years, during that time hasn’t it been generally understood among the old settlers here that the Moores a had a claim to a piece of land on Skaguay Bay?


A. I had never heard of it until I went to Skaguay.


Q. When you say that you do not conceive of any business that Bernard Moore could carry on in the past or will in the future that will make it necessary for him to have 160 acres, do I understand you to mean that the 160 acres isn’t fit for a trading and manufacturing site?


A. No I wouldn’t say that.


Q. When you first went there there was and still is quite considerable areas of timber in that valley fit to be manufactured into lumber?


A. I believe not. I had four men out scouring for a week to get sufficient piling 46 feet long to complete the second approach

 

 

[page 83]

 

to the wharf and they claimed they couldn’t find them.


Q. It is generally regarded as one of the outlets to the Yukon country by way of the White Pass?


A.  Yes.


Q. How many docks are there there now completed?


A.  There is none.


Q. Are there any docks in Skaguay Bay at which steamers and water craft land?


A. There are three.


Q.  Seagoing vessels are coming and going daily are they not now?


A. Yes.


Q. In the way of trade and commerce it is getting to be quite an important point for Alaska is it not?


A. At present it is.


Q. In case easy or good facilities for reaching the interior over the White Pass, whether such facilities are wagon road, railroad or otherwise, the commerce and trade and manufacture of the place would in that manner be necessarily increased and the importance of the place enhanced as a trading and manufactur­ing site?


A. It would.


Q. At the time you were acting as the Treasurer, do you remember whether or not Capt. Moore with a gang of men was at work on the trail or up the valley there somewhere?


A. I don't think he was. I didn't hear of it anyway.


Q. The time you were treasurer was in September you think?


A. That's the time the work started.


Q. Don't you remember that Capt. was up there with a gang of men in the month of August?


A. I never knew him to be there but I heard that he had been up there at work.

 

[page 84]


[Signed] Emery Valentine 

 

                       

 

I hereby certify that the foregoing testimony was read by me and corrected in the presence of the witness, and that it was subscribed to by him at my office in Sitka, Alaska this 4th day of April, 1898.

 

 

 [Signed] John W. Dudley


                                      Register.

 

 

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