The adventure saga from Toronto who became a Klondike millionaire, a Roumanian Duke and the confidant of a Queen



The adventure saga from Toronto who became a Klondike millionaire, a Roumanian Duke and the confidant of a Queen



The adventure saga from Toronto who became a Klondike millionaire, a Roumanian Duke and the confidant of a Queen


ON A dreary day in the winter of 1926 I stood in the quiet graveyard behind Saint James’s Episcopal Church at Hampton Hill, just outside London, and, while fog wreaths misted around me, looked down on my father’s grave. Here was a flat stone, at its head a centuries-old cross, gaunt and awkward, engraved with mysterious hieroglyphics. The inscription on the stone reads:

Lt.-Col. Joseph Whiteside Boyle. O.B.E.. D.S.O.

November 6th, 1867 April 14th. 1923

Halfway down and to the right, is the cross of the Order of Regina Maria, the personal order of Qut“en Marie of Roumania. and beneath that the name “Marie.” A huge stone um for cut flowers stands in the centre of the marble tombstone, and below that are carved two lines from «'no of Robert W. Service’s poems.

"A man with the heart of a Viking And the simple faith of a child.”

The ancient cross, the marble stone and the urn were taken to England and placed above my father’s grave by Marie of Roumania. She. too had planted the thriving plant of Roumanian ivy that covers the cross, the hidden meaning of which has never been revealed.

Queen Marie says:

“Faithful to a promise to him. I dug it from a lonely place in Roumania. Lonely as Joe Boyle was all the days of his life.” That tells us little, but it dcx“s leave us with mixed feelings and a certain amount of personal curiosity concerning whatever roman-

tic secret may possibly lie behind its apparent significance.

Jw Boyle died in England in April. 1923. Since all the surviving members of his family were in Canada, his grave in Saint James’s churchyard received little attention for some time after his death, although a few rose bushes were planted by the children of an old friend in England. Queen Marie, whom he had served faithfully in some of her darkest hours, was shocked when, some months after he had been buried, she visited his grave for the first time. The marble monument, the cross, the urn and the ivy were placed over Jcx> Boyle’s last resting place under Marie’s instructions and supervision.

,Savior of Roumania

SOME of the Boyle family appear to resent the fact that a stranger, regardless of her high rank, should have undertaken so intimate a task. I do not feel that way myself, nor do 1 sympathize with that feeling. No one of us had come forward with even a suggestion for a monument to the memory of this great man who, after all. was the head of our family, even though he had spent so many years

away from us pursuing his strange destiny. No. In the gathering dusk of that fogenshrouded graveyard, as I straightened out a straggling branch of the Roumanian ivy Queen Marie had planted with her own hands, I could not feel anything hut admiration for the noble w’oman who had cast tradition to the winds and followed the dictates of her loyal heart to perform this duty, which we should have done months before.

Who was Joe Boyle? That is a question frequently asked, especially by people who have come across casual mention or more extended references to him in dozens of newspaper and magazine articles, as well as

in numerous books dealing with post-war Europe, notably Conrad Bercovici’s “That Royal Lover;” “Roumania in Light and Shadow,” by Ethel Greening Pantazzi; “The Education of a Princess” and “A Princess in Exile” by the Grand Duchess Marie of Russia; and “Eminent Europeans” by Eugene S. Bagger.

Who was Joe Boyle?

I am his daughter, so I believe I can answer the question as well as anyone living.

He was an adventurous spirit, a great Canadian, a fighter, a genius at organization. In his youth he ran away to sea. As a sailor he made enough money to start at his own business at the age of twenty. But business couldn’t hold him and he hit the trail of ’98 into the Yukon, where his amazing exploits as head of the Boyle Concessions have become a part of the heroic legends of the gold country. He was over service age when the World War broke out in August. 1914. but no regulations ever written could have kept him out of that stupendous adventure. He organized his own machine-gun batten’ at a tremendous cost, and made the Canadian Government a present of it. Over all sorts of departmental opposition and red tape he got himself made an honorary lieutenant-colonel. Later he was commissioned by the British War Office. For years during the War and afterward, he roamed up and down Europe, a free-lance officer, attached to no army and having no regiment. He went into country after country where there was trouble, feeding refugees, succoring royalty in exile, organizing ways and means in situations which others had given up as too hopeless—desperate for any measures to aid. For a while he was chief-of-staff to a Russian general, although he could not speak or understand the Russian language.

He fought the Bolsheviki tooth and nail—and won their sincere admiration and respect to such an extent that historians give him credit for halting their projected assault on helpless little Roumania, saving that country from invasion and disaster.

Joe Boyle was one of the last men to be with the ill-fated Czar Nicholas of Russia and his family, and he had a plan all ready for their escape, which was blocked when the Czar stuhbomly refused to leave his native country’. It was after thi« incident that Joe went to Roumania, true as always to his instinct to help the downtrodden and distressed. He did succeed in bringing the Grand Duchess Marie of Russia out of the Bolshevik maelstrom. In

Roumania he handled the Canadian Government's credit to that distracted nation, and he saved the Roumanian people from starvation by his able food administration. In Roumania they gave him extravagant praise, called him_ “the savior of Roumania,” and made him Newspapers have written of him as “the Color of Roumania,” “a pillar tc “the last D’Artagnan.” nursed him, and in his lat¿ friendship of King George the That was Joe Boyle.

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THE Boyles are a North of In go back to Henry VI. They while many of the Irish were lea the “New World,” the Boyles generation, fighting in the wars tecting their holdings from militant It was not until about 1820 that the fi left Ireland for North America. He settl.

Ontario, and it was there that Charles Bol become the father of Joe Boyle, was bo;

Joe Boyle had that famous blood str; the uniting of Irish and Scottish familij married Martha Bain, a sweet, qui Dumfries, Scotland. There were four David Alexander; Charles, Junior; father; and Susan, the only girl, all good blood in them and careful upbr out sturdy, well-built, healthy childr intelligence. The family lived eight; then they mov Charles Boyle wa; love of fine animal man’s heritage, and he established the success. They bred, ating only on United States tracks. Later the partnership was dissolved, and Charles Boyle sold out his American projaerties and returned to Canada, where he continued to train and race his own string of thoroughbreds. -

In common with almost all fathers, Charles Boyle was ambitious for his sons. He pinned high hopes on Joe, his youngest, the most imaginative, the most fluent talker, and the most rugged fighter of the three. Joe, his father hoped, would study law, or perhaps take up the ministry. But, although Joe Boyle had a brilliant intellect and a rare skill in oratory, he was not notably successful in the classroom. Regimented schoolwork simply was not for him. He resented discipline. A schoolroom, a home, a city, or even a single country could not hold his restless, roving, adventurous spirit. Repeatedly he told his father that he was second in his class at the little country school he was then attending. One day Charles Boyle asked his lad casually how many there were in the class. Joe’s reply, “Me and Petie Duncan,” must have been a severe shock to the paternal pride.

Dave and Charlie Boyle, although not so restless as their young brother, were far from being bookworms. They looked forward to the day when they could join their father in his racing and breeding enterprises. Joe, too. was interested in the horses, but to hin. the Boyle stables were important chiefly as a means of escape into the big world outside. In due course the Boyle horses were sent to New York for one of the race meetings in that district. Dave, Charlie and young Joe were permitted to accompany their father. And in New York, Joe vanished.

The story is quite simple, and it throws a strong light on the character of this man who was to become a great adventurer. A few days of sight-seeing showed Joe Boyle all he wished to see of New York; but one spot always beckoned him back—the waterfront. He passed hours of every day around the docks, watching sailing ships arrive and depart, load and unload. Often he would pick out one particular vessel, follow its white sails down the bay and out to sea. A great curiosity seethed within him. He longed to go and see for himself what distant places these ships would reach. He began to formulate vague plans for somehow, by some subterfuge, getting himself on board. The restless spirit that was always to motivate the man was pulsing strongly in the boy.

Daydreaming one day at the water’s edge, he felt a hand on his shoulder and a sympathetic voice asking; “Sonny, what’s the matter? You’ve been here a long time. Not in trouble are you? This old world isn’t such a bad place, after all.”

“But I don’t know the world,” Joe told his questioner. “And that’s just the trouble.”

To his new companion, a sea captain of the old tyi>e whose powerful figure and weather-beaten countenance typified to Joe Boyle all the heroes of all the sea stories he had ever read, the boy poured out his heart. He told the long story of his restlessness, his ambitions, the urge that was in him to get away from school and books and horses, and see what lay behind that line where the white sails disappeared.

At first the older man gave the youngster no encourage-

ment. He tried to reason with him. told him of the hardships of life before the mast, pointed out the unquestioned advantage of a college education that he was wishing to throw away. It was no use. Joe Boyle always knew what he wanted, and usually he got it. This time he wanted to go to sea. At last the captain gave up the hopeless task. He said:

“My ship’s the Wallace. She’s a wellfound ship, and if your mind’s made up. you’ll be as well off with me as with any other skipper, maybe better off than with some. If nothing will stop you. I’ll sign you on as a common seaman. We sail in two hours. Go and tell your family what you’re doing, and come back here.” At this time Joe Boyle was about seventeen years old.

Delighted and feeling that at last he had the world at his feet, Joe Boyle dashed away to the hotel where he was staying with Dave and Charlie. The brothers were out, and there was no time to lose. Joe wrote a note and left it for them to find :

“I’ve gone to sea. Please don’t worry about me.”

Just like that. A typical Joe Boyle exit.

There were many days when hauling ropes and swabbing decks brought aches into unaccustomed muscles, put blisters, then calluses, on the boy’s hands. But he hardened up and filled out. Coached by his friend, the captain, and his shipmates, he studied navigation, qualified as an able seaman, then rose to be quartermaster.

Although he enjoyed good living, Joe neither drank nor smoked; and, in addition to his pay. he made quite a bit of money by putting on boxing exhibitions in the ports his ship touched. Sailors are always ready to pay to see a good scrap, and Joe Boyle was a mighty handy man with the gloves. He would have been a great showman, too. When a fight had been arranged, he sent his shipmates out with money, telling them to ask for bets “against Joe Boyle.” never naming his opponent. Win or lose—and he won more often than he lost his name was remembered, and whenever he returned to a port he could depend upon a good house for any boxing show in which he was appearing.

He was at sea for three years, meeting with all the adventure he had dreamed of, seeing* strange foreign ports, suffering many hardships, of which in his later years he loved to tell us children. On one voyage outward bound to India, his ship, by this time the Susan, sprang a leak rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Worn out and desperate, the men worked for days at

the pumps, with Joe Boyle in charge. He worked side by side with them, encouraging their efforts, never letting go of his cheery optimism.

They brought the ship safely to Bombay.

His Own Boss at Twenty

THREE years after he had run away to sea, Joe Boyle found himself again in New York harbor, age twenty,

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with a sizable stake in his pocket. In all the time he had been away he had never written home. His family did not know whether he was alive or dead, and w’hen he now wrote to his mother from New’ York, the new's that he was w’ell and prospering caused great rejoicing in the Boyle home.

A return mail reply informed Joe that his brother David was established in New' York, and doing well for himself as a bookmaker. Dave w-as living at the Gilsey House, at Twenty-eighth Street and Broadway. Joe hurried over to the hotel for a reunion with his brother.

Also living at the Gilsey House w’as Mildred Josephine Raynor, a gay and good-looking young divorcee, who had with her her tw’o-year-old son, William, usually addressed as “Little Bill.” Through the boy David Boyle had met his mother, and had fallen desperately in love with her. A quiet, self-contained man. Dave had said nothing of his affections. Shy and deliberate in all his actions, the older brother was an opposite type to Joe, and it was several days before he introduced his brother to Mrs. Raynor.

Her charms made the same appeal to Joe Boyle as they had to his brother, and she in tum was captivated by the dashing, impetuous and handsome young sailor. Three days after the introduction. Joe Boyle and Mildred Raynor w’ere married. The year wras 1888.

Quiet and reserved, Dave must have been deeply affected by this collapse of his secret romance. No one w’ill ever know just how badly he w’as hurt. He never married, and all through her tumultuous lifetime, he remained Mildred’s closest, most faithful friend.

Mildred and Joe Boyle had four children —Joseph Whiteside, Junior; Flora Alexander (myself); Susan, and Charlotte Dugan. Of our family, Charlotte became a champion swimmer. She held many world’s records, and she was a member of the United States swimming team that competed in the Olympic Games the year they were held at Antwerp.

Now that I have come into the picture, I can speak intimately of my father, as I came to know him. He w'as a man who always w’alked hand in hand with success. Daring and courageous, he was a brilliant businessman, and although his enterprises had their ups and downs, and he met with inevitable reverses, he always came back, fighting to even greater triumphs.

That he had this flair for business dealings was fortunate, especially at this stage of his career. Here he was in New York, with limited funds and a new wife who had always been accustomed to an active and luxurious social life. He had, too, a small stepson, with all the responsibilities involved in a vicarious fatherhood.

On land, the only business father knew at this time was horses. He didn’t have enough money to go into the expensive business of breeding and training horses, or racing them; but horses obviously had to be fed, so he set himself up in the feed business. This, of course, was long before the coming of the automobile that was destined to sweep horse-drawn vehicles almost entirely from New York streets. All the freight hauling and other transport work was done by horse-drawn vehicles. There were horse-cars still on Broadway. New York was full of horses, and the Boyle

feed business prospered from its beginning.

For himself he used his knowledge of horses to match several pairs of fine greys for his delivery wagons, and with them he won a number of prizes in the show ring. His bank account grew substantially. The Boyles had a house on Ninety-third Street, and a country home at Red Bank. New Jersey, with servants for both places and a nurse for the children, carriage horses and coachmen and grooms. 1 can still faintly remember the lovely chestnut and white pony we rode as children around Red Bank. We had even’ luxury New York could provide. There is a significance in the fact that our pet name for mother was “Mink.” because that was her favorite fur. Winters she wrapped herself luxuriously in mink coats and neckpieces.


THE picture was perfect, too perfect for father. There was no adventure, no fight, no difficulties to be vanquished. He became restless and unhappy. He was tired of this smooth, ordered existence of bricks and mortar, smug houses and smug people. I know that in his heart he loved us all very dearly. Certainly he was always kindness and generosity personified—but. There was a “but” and it is difficult to explain.

Few people ever thoroughly understood my father, and it was unfortunate that my mother was not one of them. She was content. She had at least as much, if not more, than most of her neighbors. Her life was protected and sweet. Her nature was frivolous and her friends were mostly of the easy laughing, rather loud, careless type. They were nice enough people, but there was nothing solid about them. When father wished to read or study, mother was bored. She demanded company and a lot of it, living for the day as it came along, with never a thought for the morrow. Father, always ambitious, fretted through this airy existence, planned and looked forward to greatness and power in the future.

He began to insist upon quiet evenings at home once every so often. Mother pouted and opposed him. On one occasion I recall he told mother in the morning that he would bring two important men out to Red Bank that evening to discuss plans for the erection of several large grain elevators in New York. The deal was an ambitious one. Father hoped the house would be quiet. “Quiet as a graveyard?” mother asked. “Exactly that,” said father. That evening, as usual, the coachman met father and his guests at the train, drove them to the house. As the carriage turned into the driveway the horses shied and almost ran away. In the twilight two white-shrouded figures could be seen dodging in and out of the shrubbery. To present father and his friends with a real graveyard setting mother had wrapped a sheet around herself and another around one of the maids.

This and similar incidents infuriated father, and led at last to an estrangement that could not be healed. He never again brought guests to the house, and he did all his reading and studying at his office. The breach widened with time, until at last there was no single interest remaining that, they held in common. Mother spent

money recklessly, and father became discouraged and disheartened. Their conversation now was limited to the bare essentials. The end was inevitable. By mutual consent they separated, then mother obtained a divorce. Father took Joe. Jr., and myself. Mother kept the custody of Bill Raynor, my stepbrother, and my sister Sue. It was not until after the separation that my sister Charlotte was born.

Father brought Joe and myself to Woodstock. Ontario, to stay for the time being with Grandmother and Grandfather Boyle. It was winter, as I remember, and for many years I kept the little coat and bonnet I wore on that momentous occasion. They were brown and trimmed with beaver. I had them on when father took us calling on friends our first Christmas away from our mother. I was wearing them too when, shortly after Christmas, we were taken to the railroad station where, after kissing us good-by and telling us he would be back soon, father stepped on a train and was whisked away into the darkness.

We must have made a forlorn picture. Joe and I, standing there on that old station platform, waving our little handkerchiefs to our handsome young father, who was just thirty. Fortunately we were too young to realize that he was off on another great adventure, without the faintest idea when we would meet again

I think we were too stunned to cry. Our poor little minds could not grasp the situation entirely. Canada was strange to us. The people around us wore unfamiliar faces. We were living in a new strange world, and our greatest feeling was one of awe and loneliness.

It was fortunate that we were too young to grasp fully the situation. Fortunate, too, that we did not know that father had settled almost all the money he derived from the sale of his business on mother and the children, and had left for San Francisco with barely enough money to see him through the long journey.

This was in 1897. and father’s new adventure was gold.

Klondike Round

NP2WSPAPERS were full of stories about the gold fields of Alaska, and his imagination was fired again. Here was a new country to conquer, new’ hardships to be faced. Sailing the seas had been somewhat of a boyish whim. Owming a business had been a dull unexciting episode, necessary to the support of a home and family. Now', w’ith his marriage a failure, his home broken up and his children separated, he w'ould start all over again, this time, to make a fortune.

His plan w’as to head for the West Coast and there try to interest some men he knew to finance an expedition into Alaska.

As it turned out. the journey to Alaska was by a long and roundabout road. On the way West father met Frank Slavin, a prizefighter of some fame in his day. Slavin needed a manager and trainer, and. talking big money, he persuaded father, who w’as wise in the ways of the ring, to take on the job. This must have looked to father like a fairly easy way of getting a fresh stake together, and he accepted. He took Slavin on tour, but the venture met with small success—there w’ere no million-

dollar fights in those days. In San Francisco they staked practically all their cash on a fight—and Slavin lost.

That was enough for father. He told Slavin he was through with the fight business, and going ahead with his original plans to hitathe trail for Alaska and the gold fields.

Using all his persuasive powers, father succeeded in getting a party of eight men together. Slavin at the last moment decided to throw in his fortunes with the party, and so one summer morning the party of ten, with ample supplies, headed north. The other members of the party supplied most of the cash. Father wrote us at Woodstock that at last he had started for the gold country, and said: ‘‘When we left San Francisco, Slavin and I had fifty cents between us, but we were as happy and contented as if our fortunes were already made.”

The party followed the coast line, and father’s navigation was a great asset. They mushed for months, with Skagway as their immediate objective. To keep themselves modestly in funds, father and Frank Slavin put on boxing and vaudeville shows every time they could gather a roomful of cash customers. Financial returns were frequently disappointing, but father enjoyed every minute of it.

They had gone as far as Juneau, Alaska, when they heard word of rich new discoveries in the Klondike. At once they changed their plans. They would go to the Klondike.

That journey into the Yukon would make a book of itself, but there is space here for only a brief summary. One tale told years afterward is of a member of the party who was by way of being a slacker. He grumbled all the time. It was too hot or too cold, or the going was bad, or his feet hurt him or he was sick. He was always the last man in line.

Then one day a pack dog fell sick. As the party rounded a bend in the trail, father told one of the men to remove the {jack and divide it among the other dogs. Then he told them to go ahead. When the party was out of sight they heard the report of a revolver. Shortly after father caught up with the others, and one asked:

‘‘Why did you shoot him. Joe? Couldn’t he have been saved?”

‘‘Yes, I could have cured him,” father replied. “But we couldn’t afford to sit around and wait for him to get well. We have to keep pushing on to save ourselves. There’s no room here either for ailing animals or men.”

“You don’t mean to say you’d shoot a man who fell sick, do you?”

“Well, if I wouldn’t leave a dog to suffer and die of starvation out here in this wilderness, I certainly wouldn’t leave a human being,” was father’s reply.

Harsh methods, but they worked. From that time on the grumbler was always up and doing, among the first in line.

The whole party got through at last. They trekked into Skagway, then over the Chilkoot Pass to Lake Bennett. There they built rafts and crude boats on which they floated their now scanty store of provisions and themselves across the lake, then down through the raging Miles Canyon, where so many other adventurers lost their lives. Father was in command of these operations. They called him “Captain Joe” and the name stuck through all his days in the Yukon. Once in the Yukon River the going was smoother for a while, but they still had to shoot the boiling White Horse rapids before they could feel entirely out of danger. Father brought them through, without the loss even of an ounce of provisions. In later years the men presented him with a watch as a memento of the historic and difficult journey. It was made from gold panned from the claim of each man.

Eight months after the Boyle party had left San Francisco, the men grounded their floating equipment on the right bank of the Yukon, just north of its junction with the Klondike River, where the city of Dawson was then straggling into birth.

Here the party broke up. Every man for himself. Father paired with Frank Slavin in a couple of preliminary enterprises. then went off alone on his own. Then, as always, he had large ideas. Most of the men were satisfied to stake and work one or two or three small placer claims -claim frontages ran from 100 to 500 feet —but not Joe Boyle. His visions were of a small empire in the Klondike, which he would rule. He realized that hand mining would soon give way to largescale hydraulic mining and he at once decided that he would become a largescale operator. First step toward this goal was the securing of a lease to a concession large enough to make hydraulic operations possible.

A 37YÏ Square-Mile Lease

■pOR MONTHS, playing a lone hand, he

blazed trails through virgin forest, tested ground, panned gold in the river beds, and drove the stakes to mark his far-flung boundary lines. For the most part he lived off the country, shooting game for food. When his self-appointed task was finished and his concession was finally mapped, he had staked out thirtyseven and a half square miles of territory in the Klondike River Valley. Then he joined a party of men bound for “outside.” The early winter had settled down on the north country, and the men going out were compelled to travel on snowshoes and with dog teams and sleds.

Inevitably these prospectors, now qualified as honest-to-goodness “sourdoughs,” exchanged tales of their adventures. Most of them had staked one or two small claims, which each man expected to work himself or with one partner. When Joe Boyle told them he had staked out nearly forty square miles of the country, they either thought he was romancing or that he was crazy.

This was at the turn of the century, and the way out from the Klondike was still a perilous adventure for men not thoroughly familiar with the country. Father hired an Indian guide; but the Indian, a Siwash, was reluctant. The Siwash bitterly resented the intrusion of the white man into their hunting grounds, would have no truck or trade with the invaders. After Indian Charlie, the guide, had at first agreed to lead the party to Skagway for big pay, he grew afraid of the vengeance of his tribe and tried to back out. Here was a situation father knew well how to handle. Charlie took the men to Skagway, all right. His immediate fear of the big revolver father kept handy in a hip holster was greater than his dread of a probable future vengeance from his people. Nevertheless, when the party came at last to Skagway, Charlie said he would not dare to go back. So father brought him, dogs and all, out to civilization, with San Francisco again as their ultimate goal.

He got a grand reception in the California city. Old friends gave him a public dinner, and the papers were full of tales of his adventures, stressing especially the story of how, caught in a blizzard in the middle of Chilkoot Pass, he had carried on his shoulders to safety a member of the party who had succumbed to the strains of travel and exposure.

Joe Boyle’s next move was on Ottawa. He wanted a lease on 37 square miles of potential gold lands, also water and timber rights. And he had to go to Ottawa to get what he wanted.

They must have looked like a queer outfit when they arrived at the capital city. Captain Joe Boyle, the tale of whose exploits in the new gold country had preceded him. Indian Charlie, a team of huskies, and a weird assortment of baggage among which were several pokes of shining gold nuggets panned from the Boyle claims.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier was Prime Minister, at the peak of his power. For weeks father talked to Government officials, displayed his rich samples, urged the necessity for large-scale development of the Klondike country. All his tenacity

and all his powers of eloquence were needed before he was able to establish his case; but in the end he got what he wanted. The lease was confirmed Nov. 5, 1900.

Backed by Rothschilds

NOW, for the first time since he and Frank Slavin had started for Alaska with fifty cents between them. Joe Boyle had a stake. But he had to have money for development—a lot of money. So he went where the most money was to be found —to London. And, in London, he went straight to the Rothschilds, most famous financing family of that era. Here he repeated the glowing reports of wealth in the new gold country he had told in Ottawa, and backed up his claims with the signed and sealed documents from the Dominion Government that substantiated his authority.

When he returned, he had the Rothschild money backing him to the limit. He was ready at last to begin operations on the grand scale, as he had all along planned —operations which over the next ten years, not only amazed both associates and rivals, but earned him a fortune.

His first step was to order machinery— dredges, steam shovels, a sawmill and equipment for a power plant.

By this time the White Horse Pass and Yukon Railway had begun transportation operations on land and by river. The company was laying tracks between Skagway and White Horse, while at the same time preparing to operate a fleet of river steamers to ply the Yukon River between White Horse and Dawson. Ordinary summer travel into Dawson was shortly to become a matter of simple railroad routine.

But shipping father’s machinery was by no means simple. The pieces were huge, heavy and unwieldy. Special scows had to be built to carry them, and these were loaded, then pushed down the river in front of the old stem-wheel steamers. The enterprise became an exciting topic of interest over the whole territory. Sceptics wagered that Joe Boyle could never go through with it. They lost.

Meanwhile, back in Woodstock, brother Joe and myself were hearing many stories of the exploits of our wonderful father, although of course it was not until years later that we learned the details of his operations, or their magnitude. We were lonely for him, and he was lonely for us too. By this time we were old enough to be with him, even in the wild new country of the Yukon. He sent for us, and we went west, thrilled, excited and eager.

One of my earliest recollections of life in Dawson is watching father direct the handling and placing of a thirty-ton spud. A spud is a huge column of iron or steel, sometimes between sixty and eighty feet long. One end is pointed and this is sunk in the river bottom. When it is firmly in position, the dredge is chained to the upright shaft, amidships. The spud acts not only as an anchor, but also as a pivot, upon which the dredge can swing back and forth while digging.

Betting was eight to one that Joe Boyle could not set this huge pole in position without the aid of a derrick. He did it. With wire cable, some horses, and a crew of men he set that thirty-ton shaft into place as easily and gracefully as circus hands raise the main pole of the big top.

He built his sawmill, and it was successful right from the start, for at that time he had a monopoly on sawn lumber. The people of Dawson had to buy their building materials from him, and the newly established municipality of Dawson went to him for lumber for wharves, sidewalks, and municipal buildings.

He needed power, so the next step was to construct a power plant, the machinery for which he had already ordered, with his usual genius for looking ahead. The first Boyle dredge. Canadian No. 1. was eating her way up the Klondike River. Joe Boyle needed power for the dredge and the saw-

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mill. The power plant he built took care of those needs and still produced a surplus. Soon he was supplying the town of Dawson with electric light; and a little later, when the Guggenheim interests came into Dawson and established the Yukon Gold Company, they were obliged to purchase some of their power from the Rothschildfinanced Boyle power plant.

“King of the Klondike”

TT SEEMED at this stage of his fascinat-

ing career that every success only served to sharpen my father’s appetite for more success. A few miles below Dawson on the Yukon River, a small coal deposit was discovered and the Coal Creek Power Company began a power plant there, in connection with the mine. They built bunkers on the river bank, and a narrow gauge railway between the mine and the bunkers. They placed a steamboat, The Pilot, on the river to handle coal deliveries. All this rival activity father was watching sharply, but saying nothing, until the new enterprise was established as a going concern. Then he bought them out.

Boyle companies now were lighting the city. Joe Boyle owned the telephone company. He even owned laundries. People began to speak of him as “King of the Klondike.” His grandest dreams had come true. He had made them come true.

The rivalry between the Guggenheim and the Boyle interests was keen. Often the Guggenheims came off second best simply because they were willing to accept it as a fact that some things could not be done. Joe Boyle believed that there was nothing that could not be done if he had the doing of it.

Thus, when father ordered another large dredge, then learned that the Guggenheims had ordered two dredges of equal size, he at once went to work on plans for two more dredges, to be the largest ever built. He had never taken an engineering course, could not in fact be called an engineer, yet his engineering genius was spoken of with awe wherever engineers congregated. With the aid of two of his own staff he worked out the designs from which the two mammoth dredges were constructed. I believe they are still the largest gold-mining dredges in the world. Experts said they were too large, that they could not be handled practically. They were wrong. There was tremendous excitement in the territory when they were first put into operation. Men, women and children flocked from miles around to see them start. That was a tense moment for all of us. The dredges started digging. They worked perfectly.

As operations expanded, father needed more power, so in 1910 he built the large North Fork power plant, about twentyeight miles from Dawson, a beautiful example of precision machine construction.

Always an innovator, he performed other prodigies of engineering—this man who had run away to sea rather than go to college. There was little if any gold to be obtained from the topsoil and muck which covered his properties. So he dammed the Klondike River and changed its course for miles, diverting its swift flow over his land, washing the topsoil away so that the dredges could easily reach the gold-bearing subsoil. That stroke of genius saved thousands of dollars for the company. Layers of topsoil and mud are heat resistant. The mining companies had adopted the laborious and costly process of thawing out the ground ahead of the dredges with steam pipes. After the rushing Klondike waters had cleared the ground of topsoil, the sun did the thawing for father’s

dredges. He was about the only placetminer in the country who did not have to thaw by steam.

Another typical Joe Boyle performance was his introduction of electric heaters to the ditch that fed water to the North Fork plant. Ice on the ditch was allowed to freeze about 20 inches thick, then the heaters were turned on and the water kept running all winter under the ice, so that the plant never had to close down. Once again the experts said this was a futile effort. It could never be done. It was done; and it worked.

He loved a fight. There were always lawsuits. He had lawyers on retaining fees in the Klondike, in Vancouver, London, New York, Detroit and Windsor.

He lost some suits, but he won many others; and he loved especially to talk of one battle with the Guggenheims. All the odds were against him. He conducted most of the argument himself in person—and won a judgment of over $600,000.

It was after this suit was settled that the Rothschilds came along with an offer of $3,000,000 for his company, the Boyle Concessions. Father refused and, in turn, offered $400,000 for their stock. The offer was accepted. The old company was dissolved and the Canadian Klondike Mining Company was formed to succeed it, with father in control.

Second Marriage

AGAIN things were going smoothly for ■ Joe Boyle. He had time on his hands, and once more romance entered his life. It was a surprise to all of us, when, as his second venture into marriage, he took Elma Louise Humphries of Detroit as his wife.

Elma was a nice quiet little person who could have been happily wedded to a good substantial business or professional man, with whom she could have led a normal life of peace and quiet. My father, a born fighter, always happiest in the middle of exciting, momentous happenings, never content with any humdrum existence, probably should never have married at all. It was not in this big hot-blooded adventurous man to settle down quietly with a wife and family.

He took his new wife to Dawson, and built a pretty little house for her at Bear Creek, headquarters of the Canadian Klondike Mining Company, about seven miles from Dawson. His brother Charles, now resident manager of the company and married to a Pennsylvania widow, Mrs. Anna Morgan, had another cabin next door. Brother Joe. a graduate mining engineer, was on the company staff. Everything seemed settled for us in 1914.

Then came the War. I was away on one of my wanderlust tours. Father had shipped me off, along with Ida May Burkholder, on a round-the-world cruise. Came August, 1914, and the upheaval in Europe that was to plunge the whole world into turmoil, and incidentally to shape the destiny of Joe Boyle in heroic fashion, as a performer of mighty deeds, an international figure, adviser of kings and emperors, rescuer of famine - stricken peoples; and to lead him at last to that lonely grave in Saint James’s churchyard at Hampton Hill, with the tragic figure of the Queen of Roumania weeping beside the cross she herself had placed above his resting place.

Note: This is the first of three articles

relating the glamorous story of Joseph Boyle, greatest of modern Canadian soldiers of fortune. The second will appear in the next issue of Maclean’s Magazine.