Above is the May West, also known as the Vidette. It was 134 tonnes.
I believe it was one of three steamboats that got wrecked and sank in Lake Laberge. The others were the A.J. Goddard (recently discovered) and the Thistle.
The Vidette was built at St. Michael in 1896. It arrived at Dawson City on June 8, 1898, the first steamer arriving via the St. Michael route. Part of its cargo was 16 barrels of whiskey, which sold for $1 per drink.
The original name was the May West, when the R.N.W.M. Police bought it. It was renamed the Vidette and resold to Barrington Transportation Co., which operated on the Stewart River for several years, always coming to Whitehorse in the fall.
The captain was Sid Barrington. A.W.H. (Alphabetical) Smith, was the Dawson agent. Another famous member of the crew was Hockie (Splotus) Dennis.
The steamer was eventually taken over by the B.Y.N. Company.
It sank in Lake Laberge in 1917 while being towed to winter quarters.
This information was mostly taken from the Caribou Digest, winter 1948, in an article by W.D. MacBride called Saga of Famed Packets and other Steamboats of the Mighty Yukon River.
Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook—Can You Identify? c/o the
Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse,
Y1A 2E4, or e-mail through the
News website, www.yukon-news.com.