The Real Klondike Kate
Anne Brennan tells the story of Johnville's Katherine Ryan...

One of Grampy  favourite sayings was, "You can live without your relatives, but you can't live without good neighbours."

This expression often flashes through my head as I receive so much help from so many good friends in preparing these columns.

Last week I wrote of Katherine Ryan, who was born in Johnville, Carleton County, and became the first female constable of the North West Mounted Police in the Canadian North. Frances  read the column and brought me a most interesting book, "The Real Klondike Kate," by Anne Brennan. It is the story of  Katherine Ryan of Johnville. It tells of her saga to and in the north. She became the first female gold inspector collecting royalties on gold nuggets being taken from the Yukon. She was a jail keeper, operated a restaurant and was involved in many business and political affairs.

I was particularly interested in the chapter on Robert Service, who was the author of "The Shooting of Dan McGrew." that most old timers could recite:
"A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon.
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune . . .
he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house . . .
the lady that's known as Lou . . .
Then I ducked my head and the lights went out . . ."

Many New Brunswickers went to the Yukon. This book gives us the feeling of being right there with Kate. It gives us an insight as to what life was like for the ancestor, who left home to seek fortune in the land of the midnight sun.

By the way, we are very fortunate that in New Brunswick we have our own Robert Service interpreter, Charlie Davis of Sussex. Charlie has been entertaining privately and publicly for 25 years by reciting Robert Service's works. He has even recited the Service poems in the Yukon. Last summer, Charlie and Anne Brennan, dressed as Robert Service and Klondike Kate, entertained those attending the Johnville picnic.

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Queries have been grouped together to cover the year 1998 and can be viewed at Queries-1998

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.

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