The Langlow Family
in Alaska and the Yukon

The First White Women's Group

by Maren Mastemo Lovold

We were newly married when my husband, Bernt Lovold set out upon his Alaska journey along with his old companion, L. Langlo. It was agreed between them that as soon as summer came and there was adequate transport (and that was not so certain), then should Mrs. Langlo and I come after. And that was that.

On June 5, 1895, the steamer S. S. Excelsior set out from Seattle. That was a pleasant travel group that I came into. There was Mrs. Langlo with a small girl, Mrs. Konrad Dahl , Mrs. dr Geith from Los Angeles and housewife Engel from New York with two children. Also, there was a Canadian military group with a captain and lieutenant, in uniform. These two also had their wives along. There were still others, among them a Dr. Wells.

The weather was fine. The Pacific lived up to its name in the regular fine, long summer days. The Bering Sea was also pleasant, but here drift ice delayed us for awhile. Until the fishing gear was locked up, the expedition members amused themselves with casting for cod. That put fresh fish in the pot which didn't bother us any. The companionship on board was of the best.

Up the Yukon we continued on the riverboat and the S. S. Weare. This also was a most pleasant expedition. Many went ashore at Cudahy,. but we gold diggers' wives landed at Forty Mile, the first white women who had set foot on land there. That was one of the last days of July. We had been seven weeks on the way. Here I got no mansion of mine. There was only a little log house, hardly big enough to move about in, but as long as it was summer that didn't matter. It was worse when I thought about the coming winter and I felt sorry for myself who carried a child, in her bosom.

And the child, a little girl, came on a cold winter's day. A midwife was out of the question; it was to go and bring the manager of the sawmill at Cudahy, Dr. Wells, and he was a clever enough receptionist. We felt rewarded at the great interest taken in our newborn, the first white man's child who came upon this earth in interior Alaska. The girl was named Ora, but she was not fated to live to become an adult. That could very well have been a result of the great hardships we had suffered in the Klondike.


No doubt this was the first group of white women with children into the mining areas of the interior. There had been an occasional, white woman in that area prior to 1895, two of whom were at the Episcopal Mission. (ref: Spurr, Wharton, Cody and Sola). White wives and white children were a rarity, at least until 1897.

The manager of the sawmill who attended at the birth of the child, Ora, Dr. Wells, was also surgeon to the first North West Mounted Police post at Cudahy across the ,Forty Mile River from the settlement of Forty Mile. Ora is considered the first full-blooded white child born in the Yukon, according to Hamlin's Old Times On The Yukon and Ogilvie's Klondike Official Guide, where her picture as Ora Wold appears on Page 101. Ora and her parents spent the winter of 1896/97 in Dawson. After much hardship they. left there June 17, 1897 returning to Seattle on the "ton of gold" ship, Portland. The father, Bernt Lovold, is listed as Ben Wall in the passenger roll, evidence of the Americanization of
immigrant names by their English-speaking companions. (ref: Stanley)

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