Mary “Mollie” Walsh was a young Irishwoman who operated a grub tent in the Yukon during the Klondike gold rush. She was “known among the stampeders for her beauty and cheerfulness.”
One of Mollie’s suitors* was Mike Bartlett, who ran a pack train business out of Dawson City with his brothers. She moved to Dawson and married Mike in 1898.
In August of 1900, the couple welcomed a baby boy while traveling on a steamboat. His name? Leon Edward Seattle No. 3 Yukon Woodpile Bartlett. “Leon” was Mollie’s choice, “Edward” was in honor of an uncle, and the rest of it was thrown in by Mike (and others):
Seattle No. 3 was the name of the boat on which he was born, and the crew insisted on it being a part of the name. Yukon was inserted out of deference to the icy river, and Woodpile because of the fact that on the day he was born the boat was taking on a pile of wood from a big woodpile, 73 miles above Rampart.
Poor Leon wouldn’t have his parents around for long, though. In 1901, Mollie left Mike for a packer named John Lynch. In October of 1902, after an attempted reconciliation, Mike shot and killed Mollie. In late 1903, Mike went on trial for murder, and was acquitted by reason of insanity. (The newspaper coverage of the trial noted that little Leon had “only recently succeeded in memorizing his own name.”) Finally, in 1905, Mike killed himself via hanging.
At the time of the 1910 Census, orphaned Leon was living with his uncle Edward Bartlett in Seattle. By the time Leon got married in 1931, he was living in Washington state and his occupation was “soldier.” Notably, none of the later records I found for Leon included the middle names “Seattle No. 3,” “Yukon,” or “Woodpile.”
- “Champion Queer Name for a Seattle Baby.” Spokane Press 25 Nov. 1903: 1.
- Mollie Walsh (U.S. National Park Service)
- Pierce, J. Kingston. Eccentric Seattle: Pillars and Pariahs who Made the City Not Such a Boring Place After All. Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 2003.
- Simpson, Sherry. “Authors’ Curiosity Gives Wing To ‘Angel Of White Pass’.” Seattle Times 28 Jul. 1991.
*Decades later, in 1930, one of Mollie’s other gold rush suitors, Jack Newman, commissioned the bronze bust of Mollie above. It’s still on display in Skagway, Alaska.