Kate's Story

[ Kate, George, and Graphie Carmack ]

Kate, George, and Graphie Carmack, na, 1898

“Tagish Kate”

George Carmack’s Indian Wife Tells Strange and Plaintive Story of Love, Marriage, and Desertion.

How She First Met and Loved Paleface George.

Betrayed her Brothers.

White Man Pressed Her Hand When She Show Him Gold-Yellow Hair Caused Trouble.

From Saturday’s Daily

San Francisco, Nov. 6, via Skagway, Nov. 10, Mrs. Kate Carmack, the Indian wife of the Klondike Millionaire George Carmak is suing for divorce at Hollister, California, the case being one of very great interest on account of the great wealth of the husband who was the first white man to find gold in the Klondike. The prominence of the case caused the Examiner of this city to devote a full page to its details. The simple story told to the court by the deserted wife was as follows:

“White man, George Carmack, have break Tagish Kate’s heart. I want white man’s divorce because I am white man’s wife. I pay white man for his love and he cheat me. My papoose and me he desert. I want white man’s justice for me and my papoose.

“One night at dance in frozen country I first met white George. He talk to me and press my hand. He tell me how he walk about all over big, frozen country many, many moons and he tell me how he never find so much as one little piece of great gold which make white man’s heart glad.

“Then he press my hand some more and love came into my heart and I remember some things I hear my brother Skookum Jim and my brother Tagish Charlie say. I think of what they tell me of a place where gold is as thick as the sand when one digs on the shore of the Meiozikaka, and I say: ‘Whiteman, meet me by the river at midnight and I tell you something to make your heart glad and love will come to you for Tagish Kate.’

“White George he shake his head to show me he no believe Tagish Kate, but all same he came to river at midnight. I took him out in my canoe, away out in middle of river where no red man can hear and I whisper in white George’s ear: ‘I know spot where gold is thick like sand.’

“I tell paleface George he love me, me show him gold. He shake his head and say he no believe Tagish Kate.

“Then I tell him how my brothers, Skookum Jim and Tagish Charley, have found place where they get heap much gold, and I tell him how they go and bring me back necklace all made out of little gold stones. When I see paleface George’s eye grow bright by light of moon and when he press my hand with his big strong hands I take one, two, three gold stones from under my dress and show them to him. George look at them and his eyes grow big. He swear he love Tagish Kate. I ask him if he make Tagish Kate his squaw? He say yes, yes many many times. He take me in his arms; he kiss me and say he love me. Tagish Kate believes and is happy, very, very happy. Then comes wedding and plenty much to eat.

“Now is September and in frozen country we must wait, wait for summer before we can go and find gold. Then me tell my brothers, Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie, that my white chief George know where gold is. They very mad, but me no care. Me love paleface George, my chief.

“Then when summer came we make peace with Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie, and one day all start together to place where gold is. Long, long time to get there. One day we came to Rabbit creek and George he lay down and sleep. While he sleep I fill pan with sand and put it beside him. He wake up and see pan and wash out dirt and in it is gold all same like three dollars. George glad. He find heap much gold and love Tagish Kate and buy me heap nice clothes. For five years he love Tagish Kate and take her in his arms and kiss her. He love papoose and buy heap much nice things. White chief George happy. Tagish Kate happy, papoose happy, all happy.

“Then yellow hair she come to town. Tagish Kate no good after that, papoose no good after that. Tagish Kate want white man’s divorce from white George. Yellow hair can have him. He no want me. Tagish Kate no want him. I give him love, he cheat me”

Source: n/a, "Kate's Story," The Semi-Weekly Nugget, November 11, 1900

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