Silas Hamilton Drowned
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 26, 1897
The Seattle P.I. publishes the sad intelligence of the drowning of a promising and well known young man, Silas C. Hamilton, whom many of the readers of the Argus
remember. Following are the particulars:
News reached here that Silas C. Hamilton of Seattle, was drowned in Summit lake about sixteen miles from Lake Bennett, on the Skagway trail. Hamilton, Wesley Young
and R.N. Redfield, also of Seattle, were making their way down the lake in a small boat, towed by W. Anderson, who used to run the Cow Butter Store in Seattle. The boat was loaded
within six inches of the gunwales. The morning was very foggy and shortly after the party had started on their journey a heavy squall suddenly sprang up. Summit lake is about six
miles in length and about a mile wide, and near the middle of the lake is a small, rocky islet, which in rough weather, is noted for the breakers which dash upon its shores. The squall
drove the little boat straight upon the rocks and heavy fog prevented the men from obtaining their bearings. The boat capsized in the rough water and Hamilton, Redfield and Young were
precipitated into the icy cold lake. Hamilton immediately sank and was never seen again. Young and Redfield struck out for the shore, and while Redfield succeeded in reaching it with
comparative ease, Young was completely exhausted when he struck shallow water. By singular good fortune, the only other boat on Summit lake was passing near the scene of the disaster.
Young was carried to the shore and within a neighbouring tent and with restoratives applied he soon recovered. Mr. Young stated that he was so thoroughly chilled by his icy bath that he
would have sunk in a few moments had he not been fortunate enough to reach shallow water. Hamilton sank in about twenty-five feet of water. Diligent search was made for the body, but
it was fruitless, and it is believed that, owing to the intensely cold lake water, the body will mot be recovered.
Silas Colfax Hamilton (seen to the right) was a lawyer in Seattle, and was 29 years old when he drowned, on October 8, 1897. This article and photograph were brought into the offices of The Skagway News in August 2000 by Hamilton's
great nephew, Dwayne Baccus, and his wife, Janet Nixon Baccus. They had also stopped at Summit Lake to lay flowers near the shore. Mr. Hamilton's body was never recovered.
Drownings in the Yukon & Alaska
Arctic & Northern Biographies