Monday, May 14, 2012

Klondike Kate, a Wonderful Character

A fiction writer is always looking for wonderful people in life to pattern characters after.

What a find in Klondike Kate aka Kathleen Rockwell. None of the characters in Cold Justice were patterned after Kate, but I did admire her spunk and determination.

She lead a very interesting life. She lived in many states: Kansas, North Dakota, Washington, New York and Oregon. But the state that really made her famous was Alaska.

Her heart must have yearned for adventure, for after trying to break into show business in New York, she decided to head north. At the time the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were making it hard for miners and others to get to the Yukon to find gold. Kate was refused entry, but the story goes that she dressed up like a boy, jumped aboard a ship heading to the Yukon, and the rest was history.

Her tap-dancing act was such a huge success that the miners called her Klondike Kate. As with most every interesting tale, she was reported to have a love affair that went wrong. But eventually found she found love and married a fellow in Alaska. When the gold rush died, Kate moved to Oregon where she lived the rest of her life.

 The pictures in the clip below are probably some the miners who gave Kate her name. It's set to the wonderful music from the John Wayne film, North to Alaska.




  1. So interesting. What drives a woman to take such drastic measures in her life. Was she really adventurous? desperate? lonely? or just a misfit? People are so complex. I'm glad she had success in her life and found family despite a broken heart.
    Thanks for sharing a part of her story.

    1. Klondike Kate was a very complex person, but what an adventurous spirit. I can't imagine dressing like a boy and hopping aboard a boat heading to Alaska. That's the kind of action that drives a great fiction character, but real life? Wow.



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