Marie Joussaye & the Yukon Territory

Mary Josey [Marie Joussaye] was born in 1864 in Belleville, Hastings County, Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of Michael Josey and Hannah [Phillips] Josey and was the seventh of eight children born to the Joseys.

Mary left home to go to work for a Toronto newspaper, changing her name to Marie Joussaye. She wanted to pursue a career in writing. Marie was soon identified as an important leader in the formation of the Working Girl's Union and became that Union's president in 1893. In 1893, one of her poems, "Only a Working Girl" was published in the Journal of United Labour and it soon became somewhat of a theme song for the Union.

In 1895 this same poem was published in her first book "The Songs That Quinte Sang". The book announced that her "allegiance to the Knights of Labour and her defence of working women against the sneers of their social superiors." Marie was also a fervent Imperialist and an admirer of anything British.

Marie eventually went to Dawson City in the Yukon Territory where she met a young man who was a three-year member of the North West Mounted Police and a veteran of the Boer War. He had the very improbable name of David Heatherington Fotheringham. David was forced to resign his position in the North West Mounted Police so that they could get married on November 16, 1903. Marie was 39 and David was 29.

Soon, because the newlyweds suffered from "tight money", Marie had the first of many less-than-legal financial dealings, beginning with claiming to secure 35 mining claims on Clear Creek that could be quickly resold to a London syndicate at a considerable profit. All she had to do was to raise $1050 to survey the property to complete the sale. Just after the wedding, Marie was given two diamonds by a friend, Rose Kirkpatrick. It was agreed Marie would sell them and the funds were to be paid to George White-Fraser, the Dominion Land Surveyor.

George was never paid so the surveys were never conducted. Only Rose saw any kind of a return - $75 for her $600 diamonds - though they had apparently been sold for $450. Both Marie and David testified that the entire incident was a misunderstanding, but the jury of six men didn't believe her and after deliberating only 20 minutes, they returned a guilty verdict and she was sentenced to two months at hard labor. As it turned out, Marie had never staked any claims on Clear Creek at all........Marie Joussaye Fotheringham was a thief.

Marie and David both ended up in jail for a month in 1912 for failing to pay their debts. They had argued that they were unfairly assessed for taxes as they had planned to refurbish a Dawson hotel. In 1918 Marie published another book of poetry, "Selections From Anglo-Saxon Songs".

In 1924, they moved to Mayo where David built a steamer called the Klondyke and Marie published a semi-weekly newsletter that was as outspoken and as unpopular as she was. Money was again tight for them and it affected David's new business as a five-day trip would sometimes take two weeks to complete since he couldn't afford to buy pre-cut wood along the route.

Marie moved to Vancouver in 1929 and David remained to work in the mine at Keno Hill until his death in 1936. Marie died in Vancouver, B.C. on 24 March,1949.

Marie was an eloquent and passionate speaker and she was given many opportunities to "shine" but she never quite did. She had many close friends who described her as very giving and concerned about the disadvantaged but she also had some nasty enemies too. In the end Marie Joussaye Fotheringham died of a heart attack, alone in a rooming house and in a city that never really knew her.

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