Camp No. 1 Skagway, Alaska

Camp No. 1 of the Arctic Brotherhood was established in Skagway, Alaska in 1899 following the arrival of the Ocean Steamer "City of Seattle."  The membership roster boasting 11 members soon swelled to more than 300 as the roots of The Brotherhood spread amongst the miners readying themselves for the trip up and over the Chilkoot Pass en route to the Klondike gold fields.

Historian I.N. Davidson reports "There were the usual objections to secret orders made to this new order by the churches, and the term "Arctic Bummers" on one side and "Sniveling Hypocrites" on the other were frequently heard."  The skeptics were silenced when they saw that the lodge looked after its members in sickness and health, buried its dead and generally improved educational and social conditions of the booming mining camps.  It wasn't long before every northern city, town or settlement of any importance boasted its Arctic Brotherhood Camp.  Eventually more than 30 camps were established throughout the North and, at its height, the Arctic Brotherhood boasted some 10,000 members. Ken Spotwood for the Klondike Sun.

Klondike Gold Miner
Gold Found In The Klondike!
Dawson City, Yukon Territory, July 1897

40,000 people have found their way to Dawson City,
4,000 of them have found gold! 

Three Yukon sourdoughs are generally credited with "The Discovery" in 1896 that launched the great Klondike Gold Rush. 
Rush to Klondike Begun! 
Steamer City of Seattle leaves Victoria B.C., with Over 600 Passengers - Vessels Scarce.
Ocean Steamer City of Seattle - 1898 VICTORIA B.C., Jan. 13 - the steamer City of Seattle left here this morning for Alaskan ports, having on board over 600 passengers.  The Rush to Klondike has fairly begun, but in a few weeks a steamer will be leaving here every day with that many men.

The New York Times - Published January 14, 1898 Copyright The New York Times

"Soapy Smith" Killed In Skagway, Alaska! 
City Engineer Frank Reid Kills Smith In Gun Battle.
SKAGWAY, ALASKA, July 8 - On this day in 1898, Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith tried to crash a vigilante meeting on the Skagway wharf, apparently hoping to use his con-man skills to persuade them that he was no threat to the community.  Smith, however, had failed to realize just how angry the vigilantes were.  When he tried to break through the crowd, a Skagway City Engineer named Frank Reid confronted him.  The men exchanged harsh words and then bullets.  Reid shot Smith dead on the spot, but not before Smith had badly wounded him.  The Engineer died twelve days later.

The funeral services for "Soapy" Smith were held in a Skagway church he had donated funds to help build.  The minister chose as text for his sermon a line from Proverbs XIII, "The way of transgressors is hard."
Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith

Copyright 2009 by The Arctic Brotherhood - Camp No.1 - Skagway, Alaska - all rights reserved.