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Northern Cemeteries and Graves

A Guide to Dawson City, Yukon

The Grave of Father Judge at Dawson City, Yukon

by Murray Lundberg

The Grave of Father Judge at Dawson, Yukon

The text on the Yukon Government heritage sign above the grave is similar to the Latin inscription on Father Judge's headstone:
Here is buried, until it rises up, the body of Father William H. Judge of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit). A man full of charity who in the city of Dawson, with the co-operation of all, erected the first house of the sick (hospital) and a temple of God (church), and who being mourned by all, died piously in the Lord in the 16th day of January 1899.

The inscription on the tombstone is in Latin - the translation is:
Here lies the body of Father Wm. H. Judge, S.J., a man full of charity, who, with the cooperation of all, here first erected a house for the sick and a temple for God; and who, being mourned by all, died piously in the Lord, the 16th of January, 1899.

A bronze plaque was erected in 1991 between the grave and the Yukon River by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. It reads, in English, and French:

William Judge, S.J.

Father William Judge is remembered as the "Saint of Dawson." An American Jesuit missionary, he went to Alaska in 1890 to work among the Indians of the lower Yukon. He moved to Forty Mile in 1895, and when gold was discovered near Dawson he followed his parishioners there in 1897. Judge devoted himself totally to the physical and spiritual well-being of the miners. He built Dawson's first hospital, St. Mary's, and for one year single-handedly ran both it and his church. He was well-loved by the local people and his death caused wide-spread mourning throughout the community.

Father Judge was buried in his little church, on the gospel side of the altar, with a marble stone erected a few years later. The church was torn down in 1923, but the grave and stone were left in place.

To find Father Judge's grave, go to the north end of Front Street, to the intersection with Judge Street, below the Moosehide Slide. The gravesite is to the left behind this small building, overlooking the Yukon River.

For more information about Father Judge, see "Is Father Judge a forgotten hero?" by Michael Gates.