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"Count" Charles E. Carbonneau



Arctic & Northern Biographies


[Special Dispatch to the Baltimore Sun.)

    Philadelphia, Sept. 16. - Discharged in the Central Police Court of this city Friday, "Count" Charles B, Carbonneau has been declared not guilty of the alleged kidnapping of his sister-in-law, Agnes Mulrooney, and has thus escaped the consequences of the latest escapade in a career which, in the golden days of 1898 and 1899 in Dawson City, made him one of the most notable figures of a place and time where nearly every man would have served as the hero of a wild Western romance.

    With an automobile and two detectives Carbonneau on Friday night took away from the alleged machinations of Francis J. Crane the sister of Belinda Mulrooney, whose toil in the mines of Yukon and as woman boniface of the road house at the Forks of Eldorado and Bonanza gave him millions. It was said that Carbonneau since his practical separation from the partner of his poorer days, took a great interest in her pretty sister, and the many persons who knew him in the club and financial life of New York, London and Paris believe the tale because of his past exploits.

    When, in 1898, "Count" Carbonneau, as he was known in the Northland, came to Dawson City, he was not overburdened with money. It is even said that in Montreal, the scene of his previous activities, he had been a waiter. Still, possessed of a smooth exterior and a good address, it was not long until his place was secure in the rough and ready circles of the Klondike metropolis.

    With few men in the country and money easy, it was not long until he had acquired some claims, and then he met Belinda Mulrooney. The future "Countess" Carbonneau at that day was the owner of a hostelry at the junction of Eldorado and Bonanza creeks, the richest in the Klondike, from whose golden beds millions in gold were taken by the pioneers of the North. While serving the miners with food and drink Miss Mulrooney had acquired interests in many properties, at that time of little worth, but soon to produce sands of treasure which surpassed all previous experience.

    On Eldorado Carbonneau held a small interest in No. 11. Miss Mulrooney owned No. 13, and the idea soon took root in the mind of the Frenchman that it were well that the houses of Carbonneau and Mulrooney should unite. Only a short siege was necessary and a treaty was struck. Then the miners on the creeks and in Dawson City were informed and bidden to a farewell feast by the prospective benedict.

    At the Hotel Fairview in Dawson they gathered. Miners in shirt sleeves, bankers in broadcloth, Judges and lawyers of the Canadian courts and officers of the Northwest Mounted Police were there. The dinner opened with a brass band in attendance, between the courses "artists" from the Vaudeville theatres of the town warbled and danced and the score of waiters kept the glasses full. In the darkness of the October night wayfarers up Dawson's Broadway heard the shouts and songs, and in the early hours of the next morning gusts of laughter and of song still floated out over the dark flowing Yukon, while within, as a fitting finish, three waiters, each with a case of champagne costing $80 a quart, popped the corks for the still thirsty guests. It was the most lavish banquet Dawson had ever known, and is said to have cost Carbonneau not less than $12,000.

    The next day Miss Mulrooney became the "Countess" Carbonneau. After the wedding the stay of the couple in the Klondike was short. With yearnings for "that dear France" strong within him Carbonneau and his bride hied them to Paris, where a costly mansion near the Champs Elysees and a chateau in the south of France completed their transformation.

    Tiring soon of the boulevards, however, Carbonneau established a bureau to forward emigration of French peasants to Canada, and in connection therewith negotiated a plan with Raymond Prefontaine, then Minister of Marine and Fisheries In the Canadian Cabinet, for the establishment of a steamship line from Brest to Quebec. Both schemes falled, and Prefontaine's connection with the Carbonnean enterprises was so unfavorably commented on in the Canadian Parliament that as an issue it almost caused the defeat of the government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier at the last Canadian Federal elections, at least so far as Quebec and the maritime provinces were concerned,

    Since the failure of those plans and the death of Mr. Prefontaine, Carbonneau has not been prominently in the public eye.