Fairbanks North Star Borough News

The Alaska Citizen

Vol. II         Fairbanks, Alaska               Monday, May 8, 1911


GEORGETOWN, March 23 - About 2 o'clock on the afternoon of March 17, Joseph Plepln (pronounced Plout), aged 28, a French Canadian, was shot twice and killed with a rifle in the hands of George Tisdale, 45 years old, at the cabin where he and three other Frenchmen lived, 80 miles below Georgetown and about 12 miles away from Kalmakofsky.

After the shooting Tisdale started alone up the trail to Georgetown, arriving here two days later, and two days before the return of the officers who were up-river bringing down the body of Harry Jacobson. On the return of the officers Tisdale reported the matter and was locked up, the deputy marshal leaving this morning for the scene of the shooting.

Tisdale says little and seems to be very nervous and on the verge of collapse. He did not know if he had wounded or killed Plepln.

A messenger who arrived late tonight, and who had been sent for an officer, stated that Plepln died almost instantly, but he knew little else about the affair.

Tisdale says the shooting was in self defense; that he believed his life was in danger, especially from poison, which would indicate that his mind is not quite right. No further facts leading up to the tragedy can be learned at this writing.

Joseph F. Plepln was born at St. Mary's, near Montreal, Canada, where his parents reside, his father beige a wealthy banker. He was well educated, well liked and popular with everybody. He was at one time a bookkeeper in his father's bank, and then a bookkeeper at Dawson, then drifted over to Fairbanks, and had a lay on No. 11 Goldstream and afterwards on Cleary. He stampeded to Iditarod, where he prospected, then came on the stampede to the Kuskokwim arriving at Takotua, and went from there to Kolmakofsky on the Quickstep. After the free-up he came to Georgetown with his dog team, and made three round trips from here to Iditarod to assist a Frenchman named Pharro who was arrested and bound over to court charged with selling or giving whisky to natives.

George Tisdale, who did the shooting, once had ground in Lovett gulch and Bonanza Creek, in the Dawson country, and on Ester Creek in Fairbanks district. He came to Georgetown with the rush and after working here a while drifted down the river and occupied the same cabin with four Frenchmen, one of whom was Pharro, is under a $2,000 bond as mentioned above.

It is thought that not understanding French, Tisdale grew to believe that when they were talking in their own language that they were talking about him, and plotting to take his life, and that this so preyed upon his diseased mind that it was one of the causes that led up to the tragedy.

The shooting was done inside the cabin with a 30-10 Winchester rifle, the body falling near the doorway. One of the men, the eldest, was cutting wood outside, but the others were inside at the time o the shooting, and all three ran away, and were afraid to follow Tisdale, which accounts for the messenger not reaching here until five days after Tisdale.

Deputy Marshal Siebe is expected back on Monday with the body and the three partners, as witnesses.


GEORGETOWN, March 30 - Deputy Marshal Siebe arrived from the scene of the late tragedy on Monday, with the body of Joseph F. Plepin, the man killed by George Tisdale near Kolmakofsky on March, and the witnesses in the case Nels Perra, Dan Pagaut and John Landry, who occupied the cabin where the killing took place. Coroner Heavey empanelled a jury yesterday to inquire into the case Perra and Pagaut testified that Plepln and Tisdale were washing and putting away dishes about 2 o'clock on the afternoon of March 17, and Perra and Pagaut were lying across Plepin's bunk, when a shot was fired, and they saw Tisdale and Plepln wrestling with a gun. Plepln was on his knees, and without waiting to separate the men, they rushed past them and hid in a neighboring Slough. Landry was chopping wood near the cabin, and hearing the shot ran to the cabin, where he was met at the door by Tisdale with a gun, who ordered him to hit the trail, which he did, making his way to Capt. Paddy Woods' cabin on the Kushokwim.

The dead man had a wound in his hip ranging downward; another near the top of his head and a slight wound in the neck. The jury returned a verdict that Plepln was killed by a gunshot wound, and Tisdale was held to the grand jury without bail. He will be tried at Iditarod when court convenes there this spring.



GEORGETOWN, March 22, -- On March 8 O.R. Mayben, Alex Frazier and Harrie Laurie, prospectors. William Young, trader and woodchopper and a native named Waskie, found the cabin door of Harry Jacobson standing open and his body dead ad frozen stiff on his bed inside. The prospectors had been at work on Nanzatatak river, and running low on food went to Jacobson's cabin to buy provisions.

Jacobsson was about 55 or 60 years old, had lived two years in his late cabin and was a trapper by occupation. He was better known as "Scow Harry". He is thought to have had considerable money, but only $75 could be found on his person. Tow hotcakes with a piece cut out on one, and a cup of coffee were on the table. The candle had burned down ad scorched a wooden candle-holder, with last week in February out, hung on the wall but dates had been corrected in pencil up to March 5 on the under sheet.

Coroner Heavey and Deputy Marshall Siebe went to the cabin, about 70 miles up the river, and brought the body and a number of valuable skis to this place. The body is being prepared for burial in the tird rae in Georgetown's new cemetery, on a high bar across the Kuskokwim.

Whether death was due to natural causes or accidentally swallowing some of the poisons all trappers use, is not revealed. No relaties are known.










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