ExploreNorth, your resource center for exploring the circumpolar North

Return to the Home Page The ExploreNorth Blog About ExploreNorth Contact ExploreNorth

Search ExploreNorth

George W. 'Bill' Joyce (1843-1902)

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Atlin Claim - Saturday, September 2, 1902

Fire and Suicide at Spruce Junction near Atlin, 1902

    Spruce Junction Hotel was totally destroyed by fire yesterday at 3 a.m. Enquiries were made and it was feared that Mr. Joyce was burned in the building, but a search failed to find any trace of him.

    Later in the day Mr. Joyce's body was found in Pine Creek a little above the old bridge.

    It is evidently a case of suicide: for some time past Mr. Joyce has not been himself and about a week ago he attempted to drown himself; often he hinted at suicide but it was thought he was joking.

    His face and hands were badly burned, and his throat cut seriously enough to be fatal. He probably first set fire to the hotel, hoping to get burned, but suffering from heat and crazed with pain cut his throat and threw himself into the creek.

    The body was brought down to the Atlin Lock-up by the finders, Messrs. Kirkland and Rosselli.

    We understand that a Coroner's inquest will be held this afternoon.

    Deceased was a Mason and his funeral will be conducted by the members of that fraternity.

The Atlin Claim - Saturday, September 13, 1902

Inquest into the death of George W. Joyce, 1902

    At the sitting of the Jury in the inquest into the death of William Joyce, no evidence was produced to show that deceased took his own life. The origin of the fire is not known, it is now supposed to have been caused by accidental overturning of a lamp. The condition of the body and the burned hands and face tend to indicate that deceased attempted to extinguish the fire, failing which he ran to the creek and there met his death.

    The following verdict was rendered by the jury:

    "That William Joyce, aged 63, came to his death by drowning on the 5th day of September 1902, at about 11 a.m. in Pine Creek opposite the Junction Hotel, in the District of Atlin, County of Vancouver.

            Signed, Alonzo Nickerson, Foreman.
                        H. W. E. Canavan.
                        E. P. Queen.
                        W. Blaikie.
                        E. D. Rorke.
                        Frank Link."