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The deaths of mail carriers Joe Abey and John McIntyre, 1902

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Atlin Claim - Saturday, December 6, 1902

    The storm, which for the last week has been raging throughout the district, has caused much anxiety in the community for anyone on the trail, and more especially for the Mail Carriers. Upon the arrival of Carrier Rant, the information was received that Carriers Abey and McIntyre, who left here on Friday afternoon, 28th ulto, for Log Cabin, had not reached their destination, neither had they been seen since Sunday morning last when they left Butler's ranch, seven miles from Taku City.

    According the meagre information at present at hand, the Carriers left Butler's early Sunday morning in their canoe, but a few miles up the Arm took to the ice with their sled, the tracks of which were seen by Rant on his last trip into Atlin.

    Confident of reaching Perkinson's place before noon, the men did not take a luncheon with them. Their non-arrival at that stopping-place by Monday morning caused the Chief, Mr. J. W. Macfarlane, considerable anxiety, and in the hope that they had passed Perkinson's without stopping, he returned at once to Log Cabin, while Rant came on to Atlin.

    Word came by wire on Thursday afternoon that no trace of the unfortunate men had been found. Macfarlane left on his regular trip to Atlin on Thursday morning, and it is expected he will be able to throw some light on the mystery when he arrives tonight or tomorrow.

    Yesterday morning the Government Agent despatched Messrs. Coutts and Fountain to search for the missing men.

    Joe Abey is an experienced man on the trail and carried the mail all last winter. McIntyre, though a comparative stranger in Atlin, was a trusted employee of the C. D. Co. on the Yukon service. Both were careful and reliable men.

The Daily Klondike Nugget - Saturday, December 6, 1902

Mail Carriers Drowned in Taku Arm, 1902

Special to the Daily Nugget.

    Skagway, Dec. 6. - It is almost certain that McIntyre and Abbey were drowned in Taku Arm. They had left their dogs on the west side of the Arm and had taken a canoe and gone to Taku City through the Golden Gate to deliver the mail at Atlin. Their return tracks on the ice from Taku to the open water some distance out have been discovered. Also where they dragged the canoe to the water the impression of the canoe was plainly visible in the snow. All trace was lost at the water's edge, the men either having broke through the ice and drowned or launched their boat and been swamped. Searchers are looking for the boat. McIntyre was one of the owners of the Copper King Mine at White Horse. The people are aroused from Skagway to Atlin.

The Detroit Free Press - December 21, 1902

Lost Mail Recovered.

    Victoria, B. C., December 20. - Capt. V. Fletcher, postoffice inspector, received a letter to-day from Supt. Pulham, in charge of the Northern mail service, which states that the mail lost when Mail Carriers Abbey and McIntyre were lost through the ice on the Atlin trail, has been recovered by those dragging for the bodies of the mail carriers. The bodies have not been recovered.

The Atlin Claim - Saturday, May 2, 1903

Prepared For Burial.

    Word was received early this week that the body of Joseph Abey, one of the unfortunate mail carriers who lost his life in the discharge of his duty on November 30th last, had been found within a few feet from the spot where the sled and dogs were found some days after the accident. Constable Owen and Undertaker Pillman were at once sent out to bring the body to Atlin.

    Judging from the condition of the body, Abey died from exposure, not by drowning. The head and shoulders were frozen into the ice, while the lower part was under the water. His body was found about 20 feet from shore.

    The Government Agent telegraphed to Abey's relatives at Chater, Manitoba, as to their wishes for the disposition of Joe Abey's remains. Word was received on Thursday night to have the body embalmed and shipped at the earliest moment. E. L. Pillman is in charge of these arrangements and it is expected that the remains will be sent out via Caribou early next week.

The Victoria Daily Times - Monday, May 11, 1903

    Information comes from White Horse that the body of Joseph Abbey has been recovered from the icy waters of Taku Arm. It was found near the Golden Gate, where the accident occurred by which he and John McIntyre lost their lives. On Tuesday last one of Brooke's teamsters, who is engaged in freighting to Atlin, while driving along the trail noticed a body lying in the slush ice about ten feet from the shore. The teamsters at once went out after the body and found it to be that of Joseph Abbey. The remains were about five feet from the spot where the searchers found the bodies of the mail dogs last winter. The body was taken to Atlin, and will be sent to deceased's former home in Brandon, Manitoba. Search will be contined for the body of Mr. McIntyre. It will be remember that Abbey and McIntyre lost their lives last December while attempting to cross Taku Arm with the Atlin mail.

The Atlin Claim - Saturday, May 16, 1903

McIntyre's Body Found.

    The body of John McIntyre, the mail carrier, who with his companion, Joe Abey, lost his life in the public service on Nov. 30th last, was found on Wednesday last and brought in to Atlin. It was recovered within a very few feet of the spot where Abey was found, but unlike the latter; the body was not frozen into the ice and in all probability rested on the bottom of Taku Arm until the agitation of the water caused it to rise. It is in a perfect state of preservation.

    Under instructions from the unfortunate man's friends the body is being embalmed by Undertaker Pillman, and pending decision as to McIntyre's final resting place, he will be buried here. A public funeral will be held tomorrow, from St. Andrews church, at 2 o'clock, at which the Rev.s Turkington and Stephenson will officiate.

    Joseph Abey was buried at Madford Cemetery at Douglas, Manitoba. John McIntyre was buried at what is now called the Atlin Pioneer Cemetery.