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DAWSON CITY, YUKON, CANADA: TWO POSTCARDS from CONSUL to CONSUL

Two pictorial postcards from Australian States were addressed to the American Vice Consul in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada.. The first was mailed from Melbourne in February 1906 with the blue 2½d Victoria stamp and was addressed Hon. J. Carlton Woodward, American Vice & Deputy Consul, Dawson City, Y.T. (Yukon Territory), Canada. On its reverse it showed a black & white General View of Collins Street, Melbourne, with a short message: "Feby 9, 1906/ With compliments of John P. Bray, American Consul General, Melbourne, Australia" (Figures 1 & 2).

 

 

 

 

The second pictorial postcard showed a colorful picture of (Launceston's) Cataract Gorge in Flood with the green ½d and the red 1d Tasmanian Pictorials, postmarked in Launceston dated 18 June 1906, addressed to Honble G. CarltonWoodward, American Consul, Dawson Y.T., Canada, and it had the message "With apologies for not replying to your post card earlier. I am sending you four cards, Lindsay Tulloch" (Figures 3 & 4).

 

 

 

 

In the case of the first postcard, the first initial 'J' is incorrect which seems a little strange as both the sender and receiver were in the American diplomatic corps and may well have known each other. The only explanation I can come up with is that Carlton Woodward's first name was Geoff and a variant of the spelling is Jeff. I cannot substantiate this, for I have not found his first name on the internet. There is only one site where any information was given, namely http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/woodward.html: "Woodward, G. Carlton - U.S. Vice Consul in Dawson (Yukon Territory), 1906; U.S. Consul in Vancouver (British Columbia), 1916-17; Campbellton (New Brunswick) 1919-26; Prince Rupert (British Columbia), 1929. Burial location unknown". All information in parentheses is mine. In view of the fact that he was in the U.S. diplomatic corps for a period of 23 years, it seems surprising that more information was not readily available.

The first postcard was sent by a diplomatic corps colleague, and the listing at the same site was as follows: "Bray, John P. (1859-1917) - of Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota. Born in Henderson, Sibley County, Minnesota, February 14, 1859. Merchant; North Dakota state auditor, 1889-91; postmaster; U.S. Consul General in Melbourne, 1897-1908; Sydney, 1908-15; Singapore, 1915-16; U.S. Consul in Johannesburg, 1916-17. Died December 20, 1917. Burial location unknown." Further information gleaned was from an article in the Melbourne Age newspaper for July 5, 1904 which read in part: "Yesterday was the 128th anniversary of the declaration of American Independence, and the fact was recognised by the flying of the Stars and Stripes over many buildings of the city. Owing to the absence of the United States consul-general, John P. Bray, there was no official reception in Melbourne".

The recipient for the second postcard was the same G. Carlton Woodward, and the sender was Lindsay Tulloch, J.P. of Launceston who was the Consular agent for the USA for the Northern District of Tasmania. He was born in Launceston and educated in Melbourne, where after leaving school was engaged in mercantile pursuits. He returned to Launceston in 1873, and with his brother he established the well-known firm of merchants, Lindsay Tulloch & Co. in 1878. He was instrumental in developing the mining industry of Tasmania and was actively engaged in many mining enterprises, including the Western Silver Mining Company (Figure 5). This now causes me to ask why there was a Vice Consul in such an isolated place as Dawson City, Yukon Territory, but before answering this I should quote from a website of the Embassy of the U.S.A. in Canada: "The United States has maintained an official presence in Canada since Henry Morfit was named U.S. Consular Agent at Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1827. During the next forty years, a dozen similar missions were opened across British North America, including a consular agency headed by William Patrick at Ottawa in 1866. More than sixty years passed before Canadian accession to full sovereignty within the British Commonwealth opened the way to formal diplomatic relations between the two countries".  A picture of Lindsay Tulloch is seen in Figure 5.

 

 

Why a Vice Consul in Dawson City, has been answered by Ken Spotswood's website found at http://www.yukonalaska.com/communities/dawsonhist.html from which the following is a direct quote: "Following the historic discovery of gold on Bonanza Creek in August of 1896, Dawson City grew out of a marshy swamp near the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. In two years it became the largest city in Canada west of Winnipeg with a population that fluctuated between 30,000 and 40,000 people - not as large as Seattle, but much larger than Victoria or Vancouver." (Figure 6).

 

 

"Its founder was Joe Ladue, a former prospector-turned-outfitter who was on the scene early. He knew from experience that merchants in gold camps prospered more than miners. He had a sawmill at the mining camp of Sixtymile and, while miners staked their claims, Ladue staked out a townsite instead. Anticipating the coming building boom, Ladue grafted his sawmill to the new townsite, which he had already named Dawson City, in honour of George M. Dawson, a government geologist who helped survey the boundary between Alaska and the Northwest Territories".

So, the short answer to my question was the lure of gold to many Americans who required some form of representation. More fortunes were won and lost in the gambling halls of Dawson than in the goldfields.

Acknowledgment: I am indebted to Sue McClarron, Librarian Launceston Library for the information from the The Cyclopedia of Tasmania in relation to Lindsay Tulloch of Launceston.

Addenda:  This paper appeared in The Northerner April-May 2006, pages 1888-1890, Item 1346. 

A reader of the article, John Pollard, has found another postcard mailed by Woodward that explains the reason for the above postcards.  A postcard postmarked DAWSON CITY/ PM/ DE 16/ 05 CANADA was addressed to the Honorable Thomas S. Strong, American Consular Agent, Carlisle, England (Figure 7).

 

The reverse has a picture of a dog overstamped with a partially legible 'DAWSON, Y(ukon) T(erritory), Canada, and a typed message as follows:  'My Dear Sir:  I am making a collection of postal cards fom the different Consular Offices.  Will you kindly assist me by adding one from your post?  Very truly, (signed)   G. Carlton Woodward  V(ice) & D(eputy) Consul (Figure 8).

 

 

 

I am indebted to the editor Gray Scrimgeour of 'The Northerner' for providing me with this clue to the other Woodward postcards.  I can highly recommend this philatelic journal to anyone interested in Canadian philatelic history, particularly of the northern regions.

 
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