Taken about 1898 in the Klondike and titled "Fitzgerald Camp, Wright Creek"* it depicts Bonnie's 30-year old great uncle John Henry O'Brien who had left Indiana that year to join the Alaska Gold Rush.** "Uncle Billy Fitz" might be his mother Jane's sibling William L. T. Fitzgerald (1839-1920) or he could be one of her cousins, another William Fitzgerald (1844-1917) because "Chas Fitz" is his son Charles J. Fitzgerald (1878-1957).***
[Courtesy of B. Poppe]
[The Gold and Coal Fields of Alaska, Together With The Principal Steamer Routes and Trails. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Charles D. Walcott, Director. Note: Published January, 1898. David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]
It's clear that John didn't strike it rich in the Klondike because in the 1900 Census of Alaska John O'Brien was working on the White Pass & Yukon Railway**** construction as a "plummer."
[Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.:
National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.]
**There is an enormous amount of information about the Gold Rush online, if you want to know more this is a great place to start.
***I'm so confused. Maybe Bonnie can clarify this? Also, since I have no idea who "Alice luley" could be, I can't identify her uncle and grandfather, the only other men labeled in the photo.
****This narrow-gauge railroad is still in operation. you can visit their website here which includes a link to a 1900 magazine article here.
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