Skookum Jim Stories

Well here's another true story about Skookum Jim, they're all true. It was after he got in the Klondike he had lots of money but his way of life was trapping you know, he liked to hunt and trap in the outdoors so he did quite a bit of that, probably not the real hard way, but he did. This time he happened to be trapping around the north end of Big Atlin Lake so the trapping season was coming to an end, the winter trapping, so he was invited out to Teslin country he go out there and do some spring beaver hunting so he had made it known that he would come of course this was arranged probably the summer before. So when he was leaving the north end of Big Atlin Lake, he left all his traps there, his winter gear there, tent and stove and stuff like that and he quite a bit of money, lots of it was in $20.00 gold pieces because I remember when I was a kid, I saw a lot of $20.00 gold pieces lots of that around, and then $10.00, $5.00 and then there was the $20.00 gold piece so he had all this heavy gold money and some paper money so he cached that too and put it up in a big tree, put a little platform there and covered it with canvas and some of his clothes he didn't need, winter clothes and parked his dogs, the snow was just about gone, and headed for the Teslin country.

Of course in those days, you go over, it took you probably five or six days of hard travelling, today it takes you only about three hours and when he went to visit a place like that or go to a place like that in those days, time didn't mean nothing. They go and they stay two years for a visit and it turned out it was about two years, so he come back by way of north end of Big Atlin Lake. So he looked up his cache to get his money and whatnot and my gosh here was $5.00 gold pieces $10.00 gold pieces laying all over the ground here and there some that squirrels had covered and taken to their holes, and clothes all chewed up by squirrels and his paper money was all chewed to nothing and whatnot. So he did salvage very little of the gold money, and the paper money none at all. So that's another little story.

Skookum Jim died in 1916, I think it was 16th of July in Whitehorse, but I'll tell you his Indian name, his Indian name was Kashe. I can't tell you what it means. Now his wife's name, Skookum Jim's wife's name was Mary Mason, her Indian name was Da Hochta Ed in the Tlingit language. Skookum Jim's father's name was Katch Ka Wa. See a lot of the old timers died with the Spanish Influenza that went through the country here in 1920, killed off a lot of the older people. So we lost a lot of these old Indian names. Now as we all know Kate Carmack was Skookum Jim's sister she died in March, 1920 she and my Dad died about two days apart my Dad died on the 30th of March 1920. All from this Spanish influenza. Spanish influenza went right through the country. It started over in Europe somewhere, it took two years to get here there was a lot of others had died of course.

Source: Yukon Territorial Archives, 88/58 SR Tape 11-3, 11-4, Johnnie Johns, "Skookum Jim Stories," Anita, n.d

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