ExploreNorth, your resource center for exploring the circumpolar North

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

Search ExploreNorth

The sternwheeler Bailey, first boat into in Dawson, 1901

The sternwheeler Bailey

Northern Ships and Shipping

Dawson Weekly News, Friday, May 24, 1901

Sternwheeler Bailey - first boat into Dawson City on May 24, 1901

    With shrill blasts of her whistle the graceful and gallant steamer S. S. Bailey rounded to the White Pass and Yukon wharf et 8 o'clock this morning, capturing the honor of being the first to arrive from Lower Lebarge during the navigable season of 1901. She brought 23 passengers, 37 sacks of mail and 50 tons of freight, the principal consignments being eggs, oranges, lemons and potatoes.

    The Bailey's officers report having had a very good trip down, when all things are considered, and are more than pleased at the manner in which they gave the slip to opposition boats. They left Lower Lebarge on May 17 and required 36 hours to navigate the tortuous and shallow Thirtymile. Pilot Frank Murray held the wheel and performed some marvels of steering before they finally got through, being compelled to rush dangerous bars and get out of crooked corners as adroitly as possible.

    From Hootalinqua the Bailey followed the heel of the ice down to Five Fingers, where she remained until the Fingers were released Tuesday morning. After coming through in safety, the Bailey caught on the upper end of a long gravel bar stretching out from an island and was hung up for two or three hours before getting off. She next rejoined the fleet held above the Hellgate jam and remained there until 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon. It was while lying at Hellgate that Pilot Murray displayed some of the enterprise which resulted in landing his boat first at Dawson.

    Murray began to chafe over the delay caused by the jam. He examined the ice barrier and found the entire length of Hellgate packed solid with huge cakes. The probabilities were that such a jam would not break for days, so the pilot began to consider ways and means for getting around it. Close to the right bank he found the channel of an old slough, which ordinarily carries very little water. The Hellgate jam, however, had raised the river above to such a height that a large volume of water was pouring down the slough. The pilot tested its depth and found sufficient depth to take his boat through, so it was decided to make the attempt.

    When the Bailey got up steam and started at 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon the other captains looked on, astonished at such a venture, but as the Bailey rode through the slough like a thing of life the others were not slow in following. First came the little Ora, followed by the Clifford Sifton, Flora and Nora. The Bailey had a big lead, however, and easily kept it all the way to Dawson, never once being sighted by the other craft, though the Sifton was coming along only 45 minutes behind. On acount of the heavily loaded barges they had in tow the Ora, Flora and Nora made slower progress.

    The passengers brought by the Bailey were: E. M. Stephen, A. J. Ferguson, Mrs. M. L. McKenzie, J. W. Sullivan, I. Harber, A. Oulette, George Williamson, Mrs. M. Moore, J. E. Fedderly, J. A. Hildebrand, T. Dixon, William Clayson, Mrs. Prather, Mr. Vifquain, J. Hardacre, William Greenshield, J. Craig, Captain Abbott, G. C. Green, T. Smith, M. E. Bennett, G. M. Graham, J. A. TePorten, and Charles Godfrey.

    Of the above William Clayson, a brother of the murdered Fred Clayson, and Mrs. Prather, came to give testimony for the crown in the trial of George O'Brien. Captain Abbott will have command of the steamer Graff this summer, plying between Dawson and St. Michael.

    Captain J. J. Campbell, who had command of the Flora last season, is in command of the Bailey this year. He is well known all along she river and is considered one of the most experienced and capable mariners in the country. Frank Murray, the pilot, carries a chart of the entire upper river in his head and Is entitled to great credit for the splendid manner in which he brought his boat down from Lebarge. William Duck, the purser, is also a well known and popular steamboat officer.