The initial spark that got this group started many years ago, was Dons family connection to the Klondike Gold Rush. His maternal great-grandfather, H.C. Davis, was a stampeder who crossed the Chilkoot Pass in April 1899 and made it to Dawson. After the bust, he followed on to the Fairbanks gold rush, where he settled and became a founding father and successful businessman. H.C.s son, Roden Davis (Don’s grandfather), was born and raised there. Don’s mother Pat, was also born in Fairbanks but moved to Florida at a young age. At family gatherings, lore about H.C. Davis was occasionally brought up. The story was intriguing but the relative obscurity of Klondike gold rush history and the distance from sunny Florida made everything about it seem very remote.
In 2005, after years of planning and procrastination, Don convinced his two best friends into hiking the Chilkoot Trail together. While in the town of Skagway, they fell in love with story of The Arctic Brotherhood and adopted legacyas their own. Don was convinced that H.C. Davis must have been a member of the A-B in at least one of his stops (Skagway, Lake Bennett, Dawson, Fairbanks). But apparently not. Absolutely no evidence has turned up that he was a memeber of any Camp of the Arctic Brotherhood. [UPDATE: We have since found records to show that was initiated in Camp Dawson – No. #4. See the new post]
However, records show that he was a founding member in a competing fraternal club called the Order of the Pioneers of Alaska in Fairbanks Igloo #4 (they call their chapters Igloos instead of Camps). ¹ Ok, it is a little sad that great-grandaddy H.C. was not in the A-B. But we have to admit that the Pioneers of Alaska group looks pretty cool too and they are still in existence today.
UPDATE: Records show that HC Davis was indeed a member of the A-B Dawson Camp #4 according to Arctic Brotherhood historian Ashley Bowman
¹ The Alaska-Yukon Gold Book 1930 Roster of Igloo #4