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Louise (Sollis) 'Nanny' Dunlop (1875-1956)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Atlin Cemetery

The Whitehorse Star - Thursday, December 20, 1956

Noted Atlin Pioneer, Nanny Dunlop, Passes, 1956

by Anne Racicot

    Atlinites were saddened by the passing in her home here November 28 of Mrs. Dick Dunlop, at the age of 81 years. Mrs. Dunlop, known as "Nanny," was a true and colourful example of the early pioneers, hardy and courageous, of whom there are too few left in these days of soft living and softer people.

    In that epic year of 1898, Nanny, then young and single, left her home in St. Louis, Missouri, with her sister and brother-in-law bound for the thriving gold centre of Dawson City. They stopped at a resturant in Dyea, Alaska, and there Nanny met Henry Henning, also from St. Louis. The two young people, far from home and in a romantic setting, were married and the journey to Dawson City was resumed with the addition of Mr. Henning.

    They travelled over the famed Chilcoot Pass but their destiny lay in a different direction. While travelling they kept hearing rumours of a wonderful gold strike at a place called Atlin in northern B.C. They changed their plans and headed from the Chilcoot Pass to Lake Lindemann. Across Otter Lake, through the teepee to Hail City on Lake Tagish, down Graham Inlet to Taku, then across Atin Lake to Atlin itself. This journey was made over rough and hazardous trails in the still-winter weather of April, 1899.

    On reaching Atlin Lake, Nanny, now an expectant mother, could not keep up with the rest of her party and sent them on ahead while she crossed Atlin Lake more slowly. She didn't mind because the golden goal was in sight.

    She and her husband started a tent restaurant on Discovery Road in Atlin to feed the hungry gold prospectors, and it was a real home away from home for those lonely men. In June, just two months after the long trek from Dyea, Alaska, word spread like wildfire of the finding of an eight-pound nugget at Henning's restaurant. This proved to be a baby boy, the first boy born in the new boom town, Francis Henning. Henry Henning died in 1902 and Nanny ran her restaurant alone till 1905 when met and married adventurous Dick Dunlop. They operated a restaurant in Atlin until 1916 when it was lost by fire, then started a sawmill on Lake Tagish near Taku till the late 1930s, when it was sold to John Olsen.

    Funeral services for Mrs. Dunlop were held Sunday afternoon, December 2 in Atlin Pentacostal Church, Rev. Egon Roller officiating. The church was filled with oldtimers and newcomers mourning the loss of a hardy and courageous spirit. The floral tributes were many and beautiful on that cold and wintry day. Six oldtimers bore Mrs. Dunlop to her resting place in Atlin cemetery on a hilltop overlooking the country she loved.