Dawson City’s Otto Blattler replies

I got a call from Otto Blattler recently. He’s a good friend, and I was glad to hear from him. He talked about a column I had last summer…

I got a call from Otto Blattler recently.

He’s a good friend, and I was glad to hear from him.

He talked about a column I had last summer featuring the late Pete Brady and Archie Gillespie, two oldtime Klondikers of the past.

Otto said when he was around 21 he worked with Pete Brady all summer on No. 9 dredge on upper Sulphur Creek.

“Pete was oiler and I was the stern decker,” said Blattler.

That was in 1956.

“Pete had an older brother, Pat, who was 16 years older, a large man built like a bear.”

I believe Pat came to the Klondike in 1900 and Pete joined him in 1908. They were Irish.

For many years they mined on upper Hunker Creek. Otto used to bring them groceries and always carried a bottle of overproof rum out to the creek.

“They would have a drink and crank up the old gramophone, dancing around the old hunker cabin, with Pat dancing in his old long johns.”

It must have been quite a sight.

“I loved those guys, they had their own language.

Once, they thought Pat was dying.

“Pete visited his dying brother (in his room), packing a bottle of O.P. rum.”

Evidently it turned into quite a party, “with Pat being seen sitting in bed with a fur hat on with flaps having a great time.

“He lived another nine years.

“Archie Gillespie was a very talented writer and a likeable man.”

For many years he wrote for newspapers and magazines, like Dawson News, the Mayo Miner, Whitehorse Star, Yukon News, Vancouver Sun, the Alaskan Sportsman Magazine and Time.

Archie was also editor and publisher of the Mayo Miner.

I have a few of the 1930s copies of the Mayo Miner, and it’s very noticeable how very much Archie was fascinated in the aviation of the day.

It was a neat little paper.

He even had a column called Planes and Pilots.

I especially used to enjoy his stories about colourful Yukon characters.

Archie Gillespie and Pete Brady were good friends of mine. I consider myself very fortunate to have known them.

I never met Pat, but I would have liked to have met him.

Anybody with information about the identity of the personality and his history please write Jim Robb, the Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook — Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon,  Y1A 2E4, or e-mail www.yukon-news.com.

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