Who was Josie?
Alice Josephine Keys was 18 when she left he parents’ homestead in Kenton on the western edged of No Man’s Land in the panhandle of Oklahoma. In the winter of 1891, she traveled to Sumner, Wash., to visit a sister. She worked as a typesetter at the newspaper and made quite an impression on the editor, Elmer John White. By December, they were married.
EJ and Josie made their life together in the newsier spots in the Pacific Northwest during a time of great economic turbulence. They were living in the tough sea town of Port Townsend, Wash. when news of gold arrived Seattle on the SS Portland in 1897. EJ reported it for the Associated Press. By April, 1898, he was on a steamer, bound for an editing job at the Skagway News in Skagway, Alaska Territory, the jumping off place for many miners headed for the Klondike goldfields.
Josie and their three-year-old daughter Lenore followed in June, working their way up the Inside Passage on a steamship along with gold seekers and those who would make their living serving the needs of the booming new communities along the way.
The United States was changing at an astonishing rate in these days. Places like the Oklahoma Panhandle and Alaska Territory were rough and the people self reliant. Life there had more in common with the pioneer experience that dominated the 19th century than with the industrial transformation that was changing America’s cities.
Josie, EJ, Lenore and, later, a son named Albert, lived that line between changing worlds. They continued on to the heart of the goldfield in Dawson before working their way back to Juneau where they lived out their working lives, part of the community of pioneers who built Alaska’s capital community.
From a homestead in Oklahoma to the upside-down and backwards world of a newspaper typesetter and the trail of a paripatetic newspaper columnist in the Klondike gold rush, this is the story of where Josie’s travels took her, as seen through the slow-twitch muscles of Nadia White, her great granddaughter.
Posted on December 29, 2012 - by Nadia
Stationery card View the entire collection of cards.
Posted on November 18, 2012 - by Nadia
Originally published in the Skagway News – It wasn’t in the original plan, but it felt pretty good to step off the ferry at Skagway next to Stroller White. Together, we made our way through the crowded street to the Skagway News. More than a century ago, when Skagway was in its founding growth spurt [...]