Roppel, Patricia

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Jack Dalton, a colorful character who first came to Alaska 1885, is best known for establishing a packing route from Pyramid Harbor, near Haines, to the Yukon River. This route, which became known as the Dalton Trail, was first traversed by Dalton when he joined the 1890 "Frank Leslie Newspaper Expedition" to explore the territory between the Alaska Coast and the Yukon River. One of the members of the expedition, Edward James Glave, who had experience exploring Africa, was intrigued by the prospect of further exploration, and he teamed up with Dalton to take a string of pack horses northward toward the Yukon. Later, in a letter to the "Alaska journal" (May 13, 1893), Glave wrote, "In the summer of 1891, Jack Dalton and I took the 'Pioneer Pack Horses into Alaska' and opened a way from Chilcat to the rich lands to the northward of Mount St. Elias and during the whole trip my partner proved himself to be an energetic, determined, courageous, and exceedingly capable man --endowed with excellent judgment. . .The work in which Jack Dalton has been engaged is a most important step towards Alaska's development. The establishment of a reliable transport through to the Interior will give impetus to the mineral industries." However, as Glave also pointed out in his letter, Jack Dalton's success was not universally acclaimed. Glave commented, "His venture has created a great deal of ill feeling, and white men and Indians have endeavored to thwart him, fearing competition with their interests." Not one to back down from a fight, Jack Dalton found himself in trouble with the law when a Pyramid Harbor storekeeper, Daniel McGinnis, reportedly tried to rile the local Chilkat Indians into denying access to Dalton's trail. When Dalton confronted McGinnis, a fight ensued, and McGinnis was fatally shot. When the case came to trial in Juneau the following summer, Dalton was acquitted, and there was speculation the jury had been bought. The July 13, 1893, issue of the "Juneau city mining record" quotes Dalton as saying "the jury acquitted me because the killing was justifiable." The editorial commentary accompanying this quote reflects skepticism: "On the stand, Dalton swore that he shot McGinnis two or three times accidentally. He also prates about he and his friends being poor, yet he says he was going to build a trail from Chilcat to the Northwest Territory and then start a trading post. Such talk is all bosh. To build a trail in such a rough and rugged country takes money and not wind. The same will apply to starting a trading post. It is presumed that his friends will furnish the wind and he will furnish the post." Dalton had enemies, but he also had many friends, some of whom had money and influence. Attorney John F. Maloney of Juneau was a business associate of Dalton's for decades. Together, and with other partners, they established several businesses. The firm J. Dalton & Company established trading posts, organized cattle drives, and freighted goods into the Interior. When nuggets of gold were found in the Klondike, the stampede to the Yukon spiked use of the Dalton Trail, and Dalton formed the Dalton Trading & Transportation Co. to outfit miners and transport their equipment and supplies to the new mining districts. The Dalton Trail remained in use for many years, until the White Pass and Yukon Railway supplanted it by providing a more convenient link to the Interior. Dalton went on to other enterprises; and, when he left Alaska in 1916, he sold all his holdings, including mineral claims and a saw mill in Cordova, to the Copper River and Northwestern railroad. He lived to old age, dying in San Francisco on December 16, 1944. For further information: Jack Dalton: The Alaska Pathfinder, by M. J. Kirchhoff, 2007.

From the description of Jack Dalton and the Dalton Trail, ca. 1885-1915. (Alaska State Library). WorldCat record id: 742061713

These records were collected by Patricia Roppel for her book, Alaska's Salmon Hatcheries, 1891-1959, published by National Marine Fisheries Service, Portland, Oregon, 1982.

From the description of Alaska fish hatchery records and related material, 1903-1982. (Alaska State Library). WorldCat record id: 42925954

Patricia Roppel was a student in a Bellevue Comminity College class when she took these photographs. Roppel currently lives in Wrangell, Alaska

From the description of Patricia Roppel photographs, 1985-1990 (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 608567787

Historian and author living in Sitka, Alaska.

From the description of Golden glimpses : a historical look at the use of Alaska's resources. (Alaska State Library). WorldCat record id: 42929742

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alaska. Board of Fisheries. corporateBody
associatedWith Alaska. Division of Fisheries Rehabilitation, Enhancement, and Development. corporateBody
associatedWith Alaska Garnet Mining & Manufacturing Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Alaska Packers Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Ball, Edward Matthew, 1876-1935. person
associatedWith Dalton family. family
associatedWith Dalton, Jack, 1856-1944. person
associatedWith Dalton Trading & Transportation Co. corporateBody
associatedWith DeArmond, R. N., person
associatedWith Durkee, Anne E. person
associatedWith Morton, William Markham, 1905- person
associatedWith Northwestern Fisheries Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Pacific American Fisheries, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Pacific Steam Whaling Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Porcupine Trading Company (Haines, Alaska) corporateBody
associatedWith Silliman, Ralph Parks, 1913- person
associatedWith Sprague, A. J. person
associatedWith United States. Bureau of Fisheries. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Alaska, Southeast
Dalton Trail (Alaska and Yukon)
Haines Region (Alaska)
Porcupine (Alaska)
Juneau (Alaska)
Alaska--Haines Region
Fishery management
Fishery scientists
Fish hatcheries
Freight and freightage
Frontier and pioneer life
Garnet jewelry
Mines and mineral resources
Mines and mineral resources
Mines and mineral resources
Natural resources
Russian History
Salmon fisheries
Salmon fisheries


Active 1885

Active 1915



Ark ID: w6ft977k

SNAC ID: 36958678