ExploreNorth, your resource center for exploring the circumpolar North

Return to the Home Page The ExploreNorth Blog About ExploreNorth Contact ExploreNorth

Search ExploreNorth

Yukon & Alaska Pioneer Biographies

The Death of Luc Richard and Thomas A. Barnes:

This obituary from Volume 1, Number 1 of the Caribou Sun is reproduced as closely as possible to the original - throughout, Luc Richard's name is spelled incorrectly as "Lue".
The accident occurred on Monday, May 10, 1898.

Masthead of the Caribou Sun, Volume 1, No. 1


Lue Richard and Thomas A. Barnes
meet With Death in Lake Bennett

      Last Tuesday a serious accident took place near the Island about midway of Lake Bennett which resulted in the death by drowning of Lue Richard and Thos. A. Barnes. They with O. S. Felton and H. M. Buck were on their way to Bennett with Richard's dog team for supplies. When near the island the party became alarmed at the poor condition of the ice and started toward the shore when the ice gave way; Richard at once sank to the bottom but Barnes hung on to the ice for about ten minutes and made a gallant stuggle for life, but sank for the last time when the rescueing party had almost reached him. The accident was seen from the shore by a number of Yukoners who rendered all aid possible and succeeded in rescueing Messrs. Felton and Buck, who lay flat on a small patch of white ice which barely sustained them. The dog team and sled were lost. All valuables on the bodies were recovered. The body of Mr. Richard was recovered the next day, but the searching party did not find the remains of Mr. Barnes until the day following. A reward of fifty dollars was paid for the recovery of the bodies.

      The funeral took place on Friday afternoon when Mr. C. A. Walsh read the Episcopal burial service and a choir sang Rock of Ages and Nearer My God to Thee. A very large attendance of men and a number of ladies were present and contributed a profusion of wild flowers . The burial took place on the island about forty feet from the water line among a garden of wild roses. Headstones were placed on the graves properly inscribed and a picket fence will enclose the Island's first cemetery.

      Mr. Richard was about thirty-eight years of age, of French descent, and came here from Frenchtown, Montana, in company with Will P. Brayton, Mike Beaulieu and Charles Bouchard also of Montana.

      Thos. A. Barnes was about thirty-five years of age, an Englishman by birth, whose residence was in Axtell, Kan. He was a member of the Iowa-Alaska Mining company who are in camp here.

The photo below shows their grave as it looked in August 2003 - click on it to enlarge it.