Newspaper Clippings for
loose obituary, possibly from Prince Rupert 16 March 1945
FRANCOIS LAKE PIONEER DIES
Jacob William Henkel
First White Man to Winter at Ootsa
Death came quietly in his sleep in the early hours of the morning
to Jacob William Henkel of Francois Lake, aged 78 years.
Until a few months ago he was in good health and cared for his
beautiful garden himself as well as cutting wood and doing other
chores. In the fall his health began to fail and for some weeks
he had been a patient in Burns Lake Hospital.
Jacob Henkel was born at Wadsworth, Illinois on June 21, 1866.
There he was educated.
In March 1898 he went to Dawson City via Fort Wrangell and the
Stikine River, Telegraph Creek and Teslin Lake with seven men, 12
oxen and several tons of provisions. It took two eventful years
to reach Dawson by this inland route. A pay claim was staked on
He left the Yukon in 1904 and on his way down the coast, hearing
of the fertile and beautiful Francois Lake district, he stopped
off at Bella Coola, bought a year's supply of provisions and
started out over the Coast Range through the now-called
Tweedsmuir Park. Arriving at the north shore of Ootsa near the
present settlement he built the first log cabin and was the first
white man to winter in the district.
In 1905 he and George Culp cut out the trail from Cheslatta to
Francois Lake where he prempted on the north shore of the lake.
There he built a beautiful home and farmed for 40 years until his
retirement a few years ago, when he and Mrs. Henkel moved to
their home nearer the lake sore. Mrs. Henkel has the diary which
he kept during his two years in the Yukon.
On July 2, 1917 he married Mrs. J. Colberg Christensen at the
little church at Francois Lake and her grandchildren
affectionately refer to Mr. Henkel as "Grandpa."
Jacob Henkel was the only man to have taken a canoe from Francois
Lake down the Stellaco River, Fraser Lake and the Nechako River
to Soda Creek Hospital south of Quesnel where he took an injured
man. He was the first justice of the peace in the Francois Lake
district, which position he gave up in 1917. He was well known
for his friendliness and high principles and will be sadly missed
throughout the whole district.
Funeral service was held in the Anglican Church in Burns Lake on
Monday afternoon, Rev. Atkinson officiating. The church was
filled to capacity and the casket was covered with beautiful
flowers. Pallbearers were Joseph Sugden, Captain Mackinnon,
Robert Jeffrey, William Bickle, Del Cassidy and Andrew Brown.